Even without stellar linebacker Seyddrick Lakalaka (foot injury), Punahou’s defensive unit is formidable to say the least.
Leilehua’s offense found that out on Friday night. Kona Andres passed for 203 yards, but it was a battle to get downfield in the first half, when the host Mules managed just a field goal. By the break, it was 49-3, and Punahou barely relented in a 70-9 runaway win to start Week 1 of prep football.
Andres returned from a mid-game injury to help his team gain some momentum heading into the OIA regular season next week. He completed 25 of his 43 pass attempts, including five to versatile Charles Moku Watson for 70 yards. Andres spread the ball around by necessity as Punahou’s coverage gave up just the short routes, so both Kaleo Aloha Piceno (50 yards) and Jayjay Antolin (28) snagged five passes each. In all, eight Mules caught at least one pass from Andres, who has a fairly accurate touch.
Punahou’s pass rush was fierce with Miki Suguturaga and Hale Motu‘apuaka in charge. With the strength of its pass coverage, Punahou was able to pick off Andres three times, and the Mules rushed for just 80 yards in 20 carries. Not bad numbers, but most of them came in the second half against the Buffanblu reserves.
Bright spot for the Mules was the “Ironhead” style running of 250-pound running back Kalika Anderson Seumanutafa Bryant. He finished with 39 rushing yards on just five carries. His powerful, north-south style of running might be the perfect complement to Andres’ ability to hit outside and swing routes.
For now, though, even as Punahou’s offense is at full-tilt mode, its defense is quietly getting the job done. Defensive back Satya Mindich may have turned in the defensive play of the night, stripping a receiver of the ball and returning it deep into Leilehua territory. Or maybe it was Marist Liufau‘s 35-yard pick-6.