There’s no secret to Lahainaluna’s success. The Lunas are going to try to pound the ball down ‘Iolani’s throat.
If there’s one player on the ‘Iolani defense that can stand out and have a big game it’s defensive end Christian Naeole. Our Trench Warfare episode on this side of the ball pits Naeole (5-9, 186, Jr.) against Lunas left tackle Danny Sulunga-Kahaialii (6-4, 275, Sr.), who will enjoy close to a 100-pound advantage. Expect Naeole to move around a bit and try to plug the holes the Lunas offensive line will try and open.
As always, this is purely for fun. Each series is scored like a boxing round with a 10-point must system.
Naeole lines up just to the right of Sulunga-Kahaialii to open and tries to jump the run inside but Lahainaluna goes outside for a big gain. Naeole is picked up on the next run by the receiver/tight end on the outside as the Lunas get another big run. Naeole is left unblocked on the next run for a tackle for loss. Sulunga-Kahaialii is lined up on the other side as Lahainaluna is running an unbalanced line away from Naeole with Thomas Rosen St. John, the tight end, blocking Naeole as the left tackle. No gain on third down and Lahainaluna punts. Naeole’s tackle for loss on a missed assignment by Lahainaluna set up the punt. 10-9 Naeole.
Naeole opens against a normal line against Sulunga-Kahaialii but is blocked by the pulling right tackle, Justin Hong. Naeole beats Hong inside but the run is outside. Third-and-5. Sulunga-Kahaialii seals off Naeole extremely well but the running back runs into his own man and is stopped. 10-10.
Naeole and Sulunga-Kahaialii one-on-one to start the drive. Quick run up the middle to the fullback is too quick for Naeole to get to. Naeole with a great move inside on Sulunga-Kahaialii to help close up the middle of the interior and force a short gain. Third-and-2. Naeole makes the move again and stops the running back but the QB keeps. Really nice play from Naeole but a better play call by Lahainaluna gets the first down. Naeole crashes inside again and the QB keeps and goes to the outside. Sulunga-Kahaialii with a couple of extra shoves to Naeole while he’s on the ground. Getting a little chippy out there. Second-and-12. Unbalanced line and Naeole has about three guys trying to block him, including a TE and 2 OL. Run went to the right for a very short gain. Unbalanced line again and Naeole beats his man but it’s a delayed run to the spot Naeole had occupied presnap and it goes for a big gain. Left guard Brandon Kaina gets a one-on-one block on Naeole to spring another big run. First-and-10 at the ‘Iolani 13. Run is away from Naeole and goes for 9 yards. Unbalanced line again and Naeole is triple-teamed on a run to the 1. First-and-goal. Same play as the Lunas run off the right guard away from Naeole who is pancaked by about three guys. Touchdown Lunas. 10-9 Sulunga-Kahaialii and Co.
Naeole pushing inside almost every time. Lunas open with a QB scramble to the far side of the field. The fullback, David Kawabata, picks up Naeole on a run to the far side again. Still no pass attempts by the Lunas. BIG block there by Sulunga-Kahaialii puts Naeole to the ground. Run is away from Naeole. Naeole doesn’t get the tackle but is too quick for Sulunga-Kahaialii and blows up the hole to force no gain. Running to Naeole’s side isn’t working well for the Lunas. Big Lahainaluna run through the right tackle and right guard but a hold is called. Third-and-17. Naeole just smokes his guy to the inside, didn’t catch the number, and then forced the QB to scramble outside and throw it away. 10-9 Naeole.
Halftime notes:Lahainaluna has attempted only one pass in the first half. Most of their success running has come with an unbalanced line away from Naeole, who is simply too quick for Sulunga-Kahaialii to block one-on-one. Naeole is able to crash down the line on almost every play. The Lunas’ only real success is running off guard and off tackle on their right side.
Strong opening run by Lahainaluna as Naeole is doubled by Sulunga-Kahaialii and the tight end. Run was right at Naeole. Naeole uses his quickness to shed the blocker and go for the tackle but they fake it his way and go up the middle. Run is away from Naeole. Another run away from Naeole. Sulunga-Kahaialii and St. John double Naeole but Naeole peels them off and assists on a tackle. Third down. Bad snap and ‘Iolani recovers. 10-10.
Naeole blocked by the fullback on a run right. That seems to be Lahainaluna’s best play tonight. Run is to the right again. Lahainaluna tries a reverse and Naeole reads it. He is blocked but slows up the play. Fumble, ‘Iolani recovers. Wow they call the runner down. Missed the next play watching the replay but that looked like a bad call. Run is to the right again. Fourth-and-1. Lahainaluna goes for it but doesn’t get the snap off in time. Fourth-and-6. Lahainaluna runs up the middle and Naeole finally wraps up the running back but not before a first down. Naeole finally gets to go with the speed rush outside as Lahainaluna tries a pass but the throw is in plenty of time before Naeole gets there. Run right goes for big yards and Naeole runs across the field and makes the tackle 10 yards down the field. Impressive. Lahainaluna tries to go wide to Naeole’s side but Naeole gets off the block, keeps the play in front of him and then wraps up for the tackle for loss. Great series for Naeole. He’s giving up 90 pounds but is way too quick. Lahainaluna back to its run right away from Naeole. Again a run away from Naeole on third-and-1. Lunas pick it up. Naeole rushes inside and Sulunga-Kahaialii follows him that way, sealing off the block to create a BIG hole for the QB to run. Naeole is shoved out of his gap by tight end Ryan Delatori. Third-and-2 as the quarter ends. Jumbo package by Lahainaluna and the Lunas get the first down as Naeole was blocked by just about everyone there. Same package and Naeole sheds a blocker as the running back just drops the ball. Naeole with the recovery. Wins him the round 10-9.
Naeole blocked against a jumbo package as the Lunas run a trick play to get it inside the ‘Iolani 10. Run is away from Naeole. Another run away from Naeole. Touchdown Lunas. Nothing developed there. 10-10.
A couple of runs away from Naeole and it ends with Naeole making a great play crashing down the line. He misses the back at first but cuts back and finishes off the final play of the game give ‘Iolani its eighth Division II state title in the last 10 years. 10-9 Naeole.
Final thoughts: Naeole wins it on the scorecards 4-1 with three 10-10 rounds. When a team can’t throw the ball and has to run to one side of the field to stay away from Naeole, it’s trouble. Lahainaluna could run at Naeole in certain circumstances, but if it tried to double up on it, it turned out to be a bad cause. With such little to work with offensively, it was a struggle for Lahainaluna all night.
PREVIOUS TRENCH WARFARES:
Oct. 4: Farrington’s Breiden Fehoko vs. Campbell’s Boss Tafai
Oct. 23: Mililani’s Rex Manu vs. Campbell’s Amosa brothers
Oct. 23: Campbell’s Josiah Mageo vs. Mililani’s Jordan Agasiva
Oct. 24: Punahou’s Canton Kaumatule vs. Saint Louis’ Fred Ulu-Perry
Oct. 24: Saint Louis’ Tanielu Evaimalo vs. Punahou’s Semisi Uluave
Oct. 31: Mililani’s Andru Tovi vs. Kahuku’s Salanoa-Alo Wily
Oct. 31: Kahuku’s Aleeki Vihimahi vs. Mililani’s Kaimana Padello
Nov. 7: Maui’s Logan Cabrera vs. Farrington’s Tatum Tanuvasa
Nov. 7 Hilo’s Kiliona Pomroy vs. Kahuku’s Siotame Uluave
Nov. 15: Mililani’s Rex Manu vs. Farrington’s Louis Matagi
Nov. 15: Farrington’s Breiden Fehoko vs. Mililani’s Derrick Fetui-Suapaia
Nov. 15: Punahou’s Canton Kaumatule vs. Kahuku’s Victor Tualau