Maui Sports

Sabers Snap 14-year Losing Skid to Bears, 20-17

August 29, 2014, 10:40 PM HST
* Updated August 30, 1:49 PM
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Maui High's Tavita Taumua-Uni (51) celebrates after the Sabers' defense recovers a Baldwin fumble on the Bears' first possession of the game. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Maui High’s Tavita Taumua-Uni (51) celebrates after the Sabers’ defense recovers a Baldwin fumble on the Bears’ first possession of the game. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

By Rodney S. Yap

The Maui High School football team snapped a 27-game losing streak — that dated back 14 years — to Baldwin High Friday, beating the Bears 20-17 at War Memorial Stadium.

Junior running back Daniel Kelley scored the go-ahead touchdown for the Sabers on a 1-yard plunge with 7 minutes, 14 second left in the game. The touchdown put Maui High ahead 18-17 as the Bears snuffed the Sabers’ two-point run attempt.

Maui High, which improved to 2-0 on the Maui Interscholastic League season, sacked Baldwin quarterback Tage Akaka-Foster for a safety and the final points of the game with 1:26 to play.

The Sabers built a 12-0 lead three minutes into the game, scoring on the first play from scrimmage on a 53-yard run by Onosai Emelio and then quarterback Austin Hoe connected with tight end Tristan Nichols after the Sabers’ defense recovered a Baldwin fumble on the Bears’ first possession of the game.

Maui High quarterback Austin Hoe commands the Sabers' huddle before hitting tight end Tristan Nichols for a touchdown pass early in the first quarter against Baldwin Friday at War Memorial Stadium. The Sabers beat the Bears 20-17. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Maui High quarterback Austin Hoe (7) commands the Sabers’ offensive huddle before hitting tight end Tristan Nichols for a touchdown pass early in the first quarter against Baldwin Friday at War Memorial Stadium. The Sabers beat the Bears 20-17. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

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Baldwin, however, rallied back when Akaka-Foster ran for a 5-yard score in the first quarter and running back Keenan Luis added another six points with a 20-yard scoring run on the first play of the second quarter during a torrential downpour.

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The touchdowns, combined with Keli’i Kaiama’s point-after kicks, gave the Bears a 14-12 halftime lead.

Kaiama also had a field goal in the third quarter.

The game, which was played before an estimated crowd of about 3,800, marked Baldwin’s 2014 MIL regular-season debut. The Bears (0-1) last loss to the Sabers came in 2000, the last time Maui High went to the state tournament.

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Maui High has a bye next week and will play Lahainaluna, Saturday, Sept. 13, at War Memorial Stadium (7 p.m.). Meanwhile, Baldwin faces the Lunas next Saturday, Sept. 6, also at War Memorial Stadium (7 p.m.).

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