The Punahou Buffanblu began the Open Division season with a 41-28 loss at Kahuku, but veteran coach Kale Ane remains optimistic.
Taking on last year’s state finalist was a big test for Punahou, which got 311 passing yards and three TDs from first-time starter Hugh Brady. But it also provided the Buffanblu with a clear look at what needs fixing.
Punahou plays at Kapolei tonight (Friday) in a big game for the Buffanblu. Coach Ane chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Tuesday.
HPW: You’ve had a chance to see other teams in the Open Division, like Kamehameha. What did you like about them?
Kale Ane: They’re very talented and pursue the ball well. Kamehameha has a lot of concepts, fast, athletic receivers. They have a big, strong offensive lineup.
HPW: Hugh had an amazing first half, and then Kahuku shored up defensively.
Ane: It’s part of the process. It was good for Hugh to go through that, the adjustments people make. We could’ve protected him better.
HPW: Is it a matter of simplifying the offense or something else at this point?
Ane: You give him something he’s comfortable with, but he’s a quick study and he wants to get back at it.
HPW: No doubt Kapolei has its scout team replicating some of what Kahuku did.
Ane: He’ll get some of those looks at practice. Throws in a certain time frame. He’s a tough kid.
HPW: Kahuku can throw the ball, but they still play smashmouth with that advantage up front. It’s almost like your defense is built to defend the four- and five-wide that Saint Louis does offensively, but matching up with Kahuku’s girth is the other end of the spectrum.
Ane: We have a whole different look on defense when we play against Saint Louis. Defensively, we try to load up the box against Kahuku the best we can. We have to challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zone.
HPW: What have you seen in Kapolei so far?
Ane: Kapolei kinds of reminds me of ‘Iolani a little bit. They’re disciplined in their blocking and they commit to their scheme.
HPW: You had some strong performances offensively, but what about defense?
Ane: I thought (nose guard) Hiram deFries-Saronitman played a good game. And (safety) Marist Liufau, too. Duke (Clemens) played very well at center for us. Moku (Dancil-Evans) had 10 catches.
HPW: It was a good performance against a strong Kahuku team. Easily a B+ or higher grade.
Ane: Our margin of error is very small. We can’t drop the ball. We can’t be offsides. It’s something that gets better with time.
HPW: What are your thoughts about the OIA-ILH alliance, especially with the OIA not counting its games against ILH teams?
Ane: As coaches, we’re all thrilled with this opportunity. Both sides will play to win. Coaches love to compete as long as they can.
HPW: It was several years since the last time Punahou visited Kahuku.
Ane: It was great. People were supportive and made a lot of noise. It was a lot of fun.
HPW: What is the ILH playoff format? Will the first-place team a second chance if it loses?
Ane: It’s 2 versus 3, and the winner plays 1. It’s single elimination due to stadium availability. It might have something to do with a fella named Bruno Mars.