Maui High Opens With Win Over Kealakehe, 28-7
By Rodney S. Yap
Maui High School kicked off the high school football season on the Valley Isle Friday with a 28-7 victory over visiting Kealakehe High School.
The game was played before a sparse crowd of about 600 on a beautifully manicured War Memorial Stadium field.
The Sabers’ Daniel Kelley rushed for 216 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. The junior proved to be the team’s offensive workhorse for three quarters.
Maui High relied on its ground attack to move the ball — throwing only two passes — and senior two-way performer Tyson Takabayashi scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 16 and 1 yard, respectively.
“There were a lot of mistakes out there so we spent this morning trying to clean it up and get ready for the next step,” said Maui High head coach David Bui earlier today.
“I was satisfied . . . you’re never going to be perfect but you want to be as close to perfect as possible. A lot of the mistakes we made are minor and correctable, and some of it is coaching oversight as well, so it’s not all because of the players. But it was a good eye-opener for us.”
The Sabers (1-0) open the Maui Interscholastic League regular-season schedule next Thursday, Aug. 21, against Kamehameha Maui at War Memorial Stadium (7 p.m.).
Bui said as far as personnel is concern “we were disappointed in having that many AP (academic probation) kids,” but the team is looking forward to getting back the players who were ineligible Friday for academic reasons.
Meanwhile, Bui said the academic hardship gave the team an opportunity to build depth.
“We were able to get some other guys in the game, so when guys get hurt or need a blow (rest) we know we have guys on the sidelines we can count on to get the job done.”
Among the priorities in preparation for next week’s MIL opener with KS-Maui will be to reintegrate the team.
“We’re going to try and get those (ineligible) players reps with the first team and do our best to get the chemistry going. It’s also a short week, but they have to deal with the short week, too.”
Best of all, Bui said the boys were happy to finally play a game.
“They were caged and they just wanted to get out there and play. It’s been a long season already with all the anticipation. Some of our players have had their heads in the clouds . . . we haven’t beaten anybody yet, so we need to keep our feet on the ground and we will continue to work on keeping our feet on the ground because our kids need to be grounded.”
FRIDAY’S SCORING SUMMAY
At War Memorial Stadium
KH—Kaimi Wilson 25 pass from Sequoia Iona (Ari Mench kick), :04
MH—Tyson Takabayashi 16 run (Christian Salinas kick), 10:23
MH—Daniel Kelley TD run (Salinas kick failed), 2:40
MH—Takabayashi 1 run (Salinas kick), 5:59
MH—Nathan Nunez 11 run (Shaestan-Lee Torres kick), 11:00
SABERS 28, WAVERIDERS 7
Kealakehe 7 0 0 0—7
Maui High 0 13 9 7—28
*Game statistics from Rob Collias of The Maui News.
Na Alii to Host Pac-Five Tonight
Lahainaluna, ranked No. 1 in Division II prep polls around the state, is on the Garden Isle today for a 7 p.m. contest against Kapaa at Vidinha Stadium.
Meanwhile, King Kekaulike hosts Pac-Five on its Upcountry campus tonight at 7.
“We hope to build off last year and continue to progress,” said King Kekaulike second-year head coach Kyle Sanches. “We are looking forward to a good effort. We expect to see our kids fly around and be physical, be fast. We’re looking to have a good showing.”
King Kekaulike’s junior varsity will suit up and be on the sidelines with the varsity tonight, Sanches said.
“We are suiting up everybody. Since a player’s eligibility status is not affected during the preseason and we want to continue to build interest in the football program, this gives the junior varsity an opportunity to see what it feels like to be under the lights at a varsity game.”