Lahainaluna Punches Postseason Ticket in Win
By Rodney S. Yap
No team in the Maui Interscholastic League plays more football games in November than Lahainaluna High School.
And for the 10th time in 12 years, the Lunas assured themselves postseason play next month, by executing a 42-3 drubbing of Division II opponent King Kekaulike on Friday.
A sparse crowd of about 700 watched an improved Lahainaluna team explode for 22 second-quarter points, including 12 from its primed defense.
The Lunas, ranked No. 1 in Division II polls by statewide media outlets, extended their MIL winning streak to 15 games. They are 6-0 in league play this year, 7-0 overall, and 2-0 atop the MIL second-round standings.
King Kekaulike, which suited up 25 players due to injuries, fell to 1-5 in the MIL and 1-6 overall.
Truth is both schools are quickly moving in opposite directions. Lahainaluna is the healthiest its been all year, while King Kekaulike has been devastated with an increasing number of injuries week after week. Among the injured this week were running back Kawika Akahi and lineman John Kahula.
The Lunas can clinch the MIL Division II title and an eighth straight state-tournament berth tonight should Maui High (3-1) beat Kamehameha Maui (0-5) tonight.
The Sabers are at the Warriors’ home field, kick off is set for 7 p.m. Tonight’s action can be heard live on ESPN 900AM radio.
It’s no secret that Lahainaluna has been trying to build a more balanced offense this year with senior Makoa Filikitonga at the trigger. The veteran quarterback engineered touchdown drives on the Lunas’ first three possessions and was reacquainted with wide receiver Scott Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa — his favorite target the last two years with 17 catches for 256 yards (15.1) and four touchdowns.
Filikitonga was as sharp as he’s ever been, connecting on six of his first seven passes, and finding Medeiros-Tangatailoa in the end zone from 10, 7, and 14-yards out.
To Medeiros-Tangatailoa’s credit the last touchdown catch was a stellar grab over a King Kekaulike defender near the corner of the end zone. The play, which came with 9 minutes, 16 seconds in the second quarter, capped the scoring as neither team scored thereafter.
Filikitonga threw for 98 yards, completing 8-of-12 pass attempts.
The only points the Lunas’ defense allowed was a 37-yard field goal by Corry Brown with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
Lahainaluna’s Brandon Kaina returned a fumble 20 yards for touchdown 22 seconds into the second quarter and Ansen Cabanilla had a 45 yard interception return 91 seconds later. Both defensive scores came during one stretch in the game where the two teams combine for six turnovers in nine plays.
Friday’s MIL Scoring Summary
At King Kekaulike Stadium
LUNAS 42, NA ALII 3
Lahainaluna ……. 20 ….. 22 ….. 0 ….. 0—42
King Kekaulike ….. 3 ……. 0 ….. 0 …… 0—3
LH—Scott-Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa 10 pass from Makoa Filikitonga (Jared Rocha-Islas kick), 10:49.
LH—Rocha-Islas 4 run (kick failed), 6:16.
LH—Medeiros-Tangatailoa 7 pass from Filikitonga (Rocha-Islas kick), 5:11.
KK—Corry Brown 37 FG, 0:42.
LH—Brandon Kaina 20 fumble return (Rocha-Islas run), 11:38.
LH—Ansen Cabanilla 45 interception return (Rocha-Islas kick), 10:07.
LH—Medeiros-Tangatailoa 14 pass from Filikitonga (Rocha-Islas kick), 9:16.
Junior varsity: Lahainaluna 43, King Kekaulike 0.
* All statistics complied by Rob Collias of The Maui News.