Crusaders down Mules
In a matchup of offensive firepower, it took a defensive gem to lift No. 1 Saint Louis to a 28-21 win over No. 8 Leilehua.
Starr Sua-Passi’s first-half interception return turned out to be the biggest difference in the interleague matchup at Hugh Yoshida Stadium.
Saint Louis is 3-0 in nonconference play. Leilehua dropped to 1-2 overall after committing 14 penalties for 134 yards. Saint Louis had 13 whistles for 99 yards.
The Saints got six sacks of Leilehua’s ace, Andrew Manley, including three by Hoku Isaia.
Saints quarterback Jeremy Higgins outdueled his counterpart, Manley, by passing for 283 yards (20-for-33). Manley threw for 187 yards (18-for-31), but Higgins knew exactly how tough Manley had it.
“Our defense, they all work hard, and they’re real good at pass defense,” Higgins said. “They picked me off a couple of times at practice.”
Leilehua’s defense got to Higgins three times for sacks, including two by Frazer Taua. Both quarterbacks spent much of the night sidestepping blitzers and dancing away from traffic. The Saints got by with a patched-up offensive line, Higgins said.
The visiting Saints had an erratic first half, by their standards, with three touchdowns, two turnovers and a punt in six possessions. Twice, Saint Louis drives ended with forced fumbles by Taua (6-foot-2, 250) and fumble recoveries by Charlie Tuaau (6-2, 290).
Still, with Saint Louis’ defense controlling most of the tempo in the first half, the Crusaders never trailed. Higgins’ 51-yard bomb to Joshua Tupua gave the Saints a 7-0 lead with 3:52 left in the first quarter.
After another Leilehua punt, Saint Louis drove 57 yards in five plays to paydirt. Higgins faked a screen pass and flicked a lob to slotback Shaun Ahlo near the sideline for a 31-yard touchdown play. The Saints led 14-0 with 48 seconds to go in the first.
A fumble by running back Vonn Feao, recovered by Tuaau at the Saint Louis 30-yard line, set up Leilehua’s only score of the half.
Switching from the pistol and shotgun to an under-center formation with tight splits, the Mules gave Manley time to throw. He responded with completions to Tyler Boone before hitting Blaine Furtado over the middle, and Furtado used two key blocks to weave across the field for a 35-yard touchdown play.
Leilehua trailed 14-7 with 8:55 to go in the first half.
The Mules were driving at midfield when Manley’s flare pass to C.J. Bailey was picked off by Sua-Passi, who raced 46 yards for a touchdown. Sua-Passi was whistled for taunting near the end of the play, but the Saints were ahead 21-7 with 3:28 before halftime.
Leilehua had one more drive before intermission, but it stalled and Boone missed left on a 40-yard field-goal attempt with 40 seconds left.
The Mules seized momentum after halftime by going to a no-huddle offense. A 50-yard kick return by Carlos Marshall gave them good field position, and Manley began to fire out of the pocket. He directed a six-play drive to the end zone. His 15-yard bullet to Kamana Akagi in the left corner brought the Mules within 21-14 with 9:52 left in the third quarter.
Higgins directed a five-play, 70-yard march, hitting Jordan Fukumoto on an out pattern for a 1-yard scoring toss. The Saints led 28-14 with 11:08, silencing the Yoshida Stadium crowd.
‘Iolani beats Kapolei on last play
It all came down to who had the last shot, and Kevin Barayuga made it count.
With 5 seconds left and the ball on the Kapolei 5, the ‘Iolani junior caught the ball in the end zone as time ran out, lifting the Raiders to a 23-21 nonconference win over the No. 10-ranked Hurricanes at sun-drenched Eddie Hamada Field on the ‘Iolani campus.
Barayuga had seven catches for 59 yards, but his biggest came up on the last play.
“My guy didn’t follow me across and I knew I was going to be open. We’ve practiced this same play so much in our daily practice drills,” said Barayuga. “I just tried to block out the pressure and focus on catching the ball. I was down in the end zone and everyone was cheering. It took me a while to realize what happened — I didn’t know what to think.”
Both teams struggled with miscues, but Kapolei seemed to have the upper hand when it recovered an ‘Iolani fumble in its own territory at the 2:05 mark in the fourth quarter and scored six plays later when senior quarterback Noah Pascua connected with fellow senior Donnie King for a 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:06 left in the game to put the Hurricanes up 21-17.
‘Iolani received the kickoff with a little more than a minute left and hurriedly went to work. With the ball on the Kapolei 34, senior quarterback Jarrett Arakawa threw to Barayuga, who reached out and made a nice 22-yard diving catch to bring the ball to the 12-yard line with only 14 seconds left. The game-winner came two plays later.
Both teams had their share of successful drives and mistakes. But ‘Iolani’s special teams squad was instrumental in the win.
On the opening kickoff, the Raiders recovered a botched return, and on their first offensive possession, QB Arakawa connected with junior wide receiver Trevyn Tulonghari for a 32-yard pass to open scoring in this seesaw battle. Andrew Skalman’s point-after put the Raiders up by seven.
“We had several drives where we just shot ourselves in the foot,” said Kapolei head coach Darren Hernandez. “We’d get good field position but were unable to capitalize because of the mistakes. We were grinding it out, running the ball well, but when it counted most we just weren’t able to punch it out in the red zone.”
Kahuku’s defense swarms Kailua
With the ball in hand and open field ahead, a single thought shot through Veteson Sauni’s mind.
“Take it to the house.”
When the 6-foot, 250-pound Kahuku defensive lineman completed his 79-yard odyssey to the end zone, he punctuated a smothering performance by the Red Raiders defense in a 36-0 rout of Kailua in last night’s OIA Red East opener.
Kahuku’s offense couldn’t generate much against a spirited Kailua defense early on. But the Red Raiders (3-0) snuffed any prospect of an upset by recovering five fumbles — including Sauni’s score — and blocked three punts leading to 12 points and didn’t allow a Kailua first down until midway through the third quarter.
“We knew their (defensive) front was tough and we knew we were going to have a battle,” Kahuku coach Reggie Torres said. “Fortunately for us, our defense gave us great field position all night. They pressured the quarterback. They created some turnovers. They put us in good position.”
Kahuku swarmed over a Kailua offense that struggled to hang on to the ball, as fumbles resulted in losses totaling 60 yards in the first half.
The Kailua defense held firm early on, forcing punts following the turnovers, and allowed only 17 yards until late in the second quarter.
“I thought our defense played really well, all things considered,” Kailua coach Gary Rosolowich said. “Obviously we have major surgery required on the offense and we’ll be drawing up new plans. Turnovers are killing us. Even if we’re three and out the whole time, at least we’re in a battle.”
Despite Kailua’s miscues, Kahuku could only creep ahead to a 6-0 lead on field goals of 44 and 29 yards by Cameron Mercado.
Mercado’s second field goal was set up by the first of two blocked punts by Jackson Kaka. Kailua’s next possession also ended with a blocked punt, this time by Johnny Tupola, in the end zone for a safety.
“It was open so it was a good call by my special teams coaches,” said Torres, crediting assistants Dave Teo and Keala Santiago.
After the ensuing free kick, Kahuku running back Galeai Malufau broke loose for a 37-yard run. Evan Moe then hit Lopaka Morris for an 18-yard touchdown pass, giving Kahuku a 15-0 lead at halftime.
Another Kailua fumble to open the third quarter led to Malufau’s 1-yard touchdown run and Kaka’s second blocked punt set up a 5-yard score by Fonoivasa Mataafa.
No. 3 Kamehameha’s stout defense stuffs No. 5 Waianae
After making the drive up the Leeward Coast, Kamehameha kept its Waianae hosts firmly in park.
The unbeaten Warriors locked down yet another interleague opponent and their strongest foe through three weeks with a 13-0 victory over the No. 5 Seariders last night at Raymond Torii Field.
Third-ranked Kamehameha (3-0) has yielded only five points through three games, including wins over Hilo and Kailua.
Perhaps most impressively, the Warriors did this one without their top offensive player, Ryan Ho.
Kamehameha coach David Stant said before the game he wanted to use his team’s last nonleague contest to give other running backs (besides Ho, the go-to senior) experience before the start of Interscholastic League of Honolulu play, and close the gap between the starters and the reserves.
While Kamehameha’s offense sputtered without Ho — the crew from Kapalama got only 96 yards of offense — the Warriors’ defense was as strong as ever, holding the sometimes-smashmouth Seariders to 30 yards rushing. Two first-half scores were enough to put away the hosts.
“The (defense) is all playing good, is all solid, all in condition,” Stant said. “In the fourth quarter only a couple of guys seemed tired, but mainly they were all running around like it was the first quarter. They’re playing tough and their chemistry is really good.”
Kamehameha used superior field position in the second quarter to back Waianae (1-2) into its own end zone and linebacker Kawika Stant III blocked a punt, which defensive lineman Beau Wilson swiftly fell on for a 13-0 lead.
“We came together as one unit and we executed our plays that we practiced,” said Wilson, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior. “They were going to try to run it down our throats, and they were going to bring it.
“Defense is our signature. Defense is our heart, right now.”
Waianae had its best chance to make it a game when it inherited the ball at the
Kamehameha 45 with 9 minutes, 42 seconds to play, but it was open season for Kamehameha defenders on Seariders quarterback Puletua Wilson and he never got his feet set to cut the game to one possession.
Kamehameha drained precious time in the waning minutes when third-string running back Jason Muraoka got two key first downs, leaving Waianae with only 1:43 to go. It wasn’t enough for a comeback.
Waianae’s offensive combo of Wilson and running back Keoni Napierala-Rose never really got untracked. At halftime, the Seariders had only 25 yards of offense as Kamehameha defenders swarmed through Waianae’s offensive line.
Wilson went 9-for-23 for 97 yards — many on the final drive when Kamehameha went into its prevent defense — and Napierala-Rose went for 0 yards on seven rushes.
“They played exactly how we expected them to,” Waianae coach Daniel Matsumoto said. “We knew they were a great defensive team and they showed us what they’re really about. We tried to establish our running game, but they beat us up front. Their front seven was really tough tonight.”
Two instances in the first half where the Seariders fumbled away the ball on their first play of a drive didn’t help matters, either, part of four total giveaways.
The Warriors mixed things up right from the start, using three different quarterbacks in the first quarter. Kupono Park got Kamehameha on the board with a 7-yard touchdown run with 1:54 to go in the period.
The teams last played in 2004, a 35-0 Kamehameha win.
Punahou beats Kamehameha in volleyball
In a rematch of last year’s Division I state championship game, the Punahou girls volleyball team served notice that powerhouse Kamehameha will have some serious company this season.
The Buffanblu, one week after coming in second at ‘Iolani’s Ann Kang Invitational tournament, bested four-time state defending champion Kamehameha in its own annual Hawaii Volleyball Invitational Tournament to win the preseason title.
Punahou, which went through the three-day tournament undefeated, toppled the Warriors 25-19, 26-27, 25-15 in a well-played match on Kamehameha’s home court yesterday.
“It was really fun, and now we know we can beat them,” said Punahou senior outside hitter Juliana Behrens, who led all hitters with 21 kills. “It’s a nice thought to have in our heads.”
The Buffanblu were throttled in last year’s state title game by Kamehameha and looked lackluster against California’s Redondo Union last week at ‘Iolani.
But they came out firing yesterday and pulled away in the third game to clinch the match. They even had three match points in Game 2 before Kamehameha came from behind and squeaked out a second-set win (the set was capped at 27).
It is a mere preseason championship that will not go down in the win-loss column, but the victory over Kamehameha so clearly made a big impact on the Punahou squad.
“It’s important,” said Punahou coach Jim Iams. “Kamehameha has been the team to beat in the state for a long time. It’s always hard to dethrone the queen.”
For one day, Punahou stole that crown thanks to nearly flawless hitting from outside hitters Behrens and Tai Manu-Olevao (18 kills), scrambling defense that kept the Warriors’ big swings from finding the court, solid passing (Kamehameha had just one ace) and more kills out of middle hitters Brigitte Russo and Carina Thompson.
The Buffanblu pulled away in Game 1 after fighting to a 14-14 tie by scoring 11 of the final 16 points. They found a way to win points on long rallies, and Kamehameha’s poor passing kept its offense from finding a rhythm.
In Game 2, the Warrior’s big hitters — Misty Ma’a and Talia Jardin-Fermentez — finally got some swings and Punahou stumbled a bit. The set ended when the Buffanblu’s scramble, after a Kamehameha block, fell meekly on its side of the net.
Punahou pulled away in the third game and made this into a laugher as Behrens and Manu-Olveao combined for seven kills as the Buffanblu pushed a 10-8 lead to a 20-11 cushion.
“Punahou’s a great team,” said Kamehameha coach Chris Blake. “… Right now, they’re the more seasoned team. They’re a balanced group, very well coached. It was great for us to test and see where we were. We saw a lot of great things that came out of today. Our girls worked hard, and we showed a lot of potential. But today Punahou was the better team.”