Punahou’s defensive unit wastes no lessons, to be sure.
In the fifth-ranked Buffanblu’s 40-14 win over Farrington at Skippa Diaz Stadium on Saturday, the Buffanblu stuffed the box and provided tight press coverage from beginning to end. Farrington’s offense mustered seven first downs all night, including two by penalty.
Linebacker Maninoa Tufono wasn’t surprised by Farrington’s power up front, but the Buffanblu defense was ready. Over and over, they read Farrington’s play-action schemes perfectly, sometimes covering pass catchers before the ball got there.
“Farrington is a great team. It was a great experience. We learned from Kahuku,” said Tufono, referring to a season-opening 41-28 loss to the Red Raiders on Aug. 11. “We learned from those mistakes that we made, so we wanted to capitalize on that. We really focused on just stacking the box, attacking the blocks, just wrapping up and making our tackles.”
At times, Punahou had zero coverage deep, but it didn’t matter. Punahou consistently harassed Farrington senior Chris Afe in his first start since returning from a hand injury. Given a choice, the home team would’ve preferred to run the ball. Coach Daniel Sanchez has said point blank that smashmouth first, with an aerial attack to keep defenses honest, is his preference.
Farrington’s first touchdown was a 47-yard jaunt down the right sideline by speedy Raymond Millare on a third-and-1 toss sweep that caught the Buffanblu off guard. The rest of the night, Farrington struggled to move the ball. The Govs’ second TD came on a 2-yard run by Millare, one snap after Treshawn Kepa’s 97-yard kickoff return. The rest of the time, it was tough sledding for the Govs’ ground game.
“We’ll look at the film. We’ll get better. We’ll correct that and move on,” Tufono said.
Punahou improved to 2-1 in the ILH standings. Moving on means a trip to John Kauinana Stadium next Saturday, where the Buffanblu will meet the powerhouse Mililani Trojans, who lost 52-14 to No. 1 St. John Bosco (Calif.) on Friday night.
“It was a great win for us tonight, but we’ll get ready for Mililani. We’ll look at the film and prepare for them. I’m excited, first of all to play Dillon (Gabriel). That’s my friend and former classmate at Punahou,” said Tufono, who has 39 scholarship offers at last count. “This whole Open Division is just a great opportunity for all of us. I’m fired up to play Mililani.”