Sabers’ Defense Stymies KSM; Lunas Late Surge Scare Bears
By Rodney S. Yap
Maui High School used its speed on defense to dial up a solid 24-7 victory over Kamehameha Maui Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
Defensive end Jamie Elisara-Fisher broke the game open with a 40-yard interception return for touchdown with 3 minutes, 49 seconds to play in the third quarter. The touchdown came 13 seconds after place-kicker Kalia Kapisi connected on a 22-yard field goal, padding the Sabers’ lead to 17-0.
“I seen the slot motion, so I locked up with the tackle and then I saw the quarterback look to the slot and I knew he was going to throw to him, so I let go of the tackle and grabbed the interception and took it to the house,” said the 6-foot, 6-inch Elisara-Fisher, who has at least one sack in every game this year.
Maui High completed the Maui Interscholastic League first round with a 3-1 record as its only loss was to Baldwin (36-21) last week. In all three of the Sabers’ wins — by a combined margin of 91 to 9 — the defense has scored, dominated and dictated the tempo of the game.
Saturday, before an estimated crowd of 2,000, Fisher finished with four tackles behind the line of scrimmage and a half dozen hurries on Kamehameha Maui quarterback Kainoa Sanchez,
“My job is to rush the quarterback,” Fisher said. “And if they run away from me, there’s Feleti (Afemui) on the other side.”
As Fisher brings pressure to the frontside of the quarterback, outside linebacker Afemui provides backside containment or blitz, along with the right-side rush Kahoku Kealoha brings.
The three players, plus outside linebacker Hanisi Lotulelei, nose guard Justin Pagaduan and inside backers Josh Shirota and Mahonri Anitema, make up the Sabers’ front seven in their 3-4 defensive alignment.
Sanchez and the Warriors found the going tough trying to run the ball, and perhaps tougher trying to throw it, considering the amount of pressure Maui High kept bringing and the improved play of defensive backs Kainoa Davis and Tevita Takitaki Jr.
Davis’ interception of Sanchez helped Maui High produce the only points of the game in the first half. Quarterback John-Michael Mokiao-Duvachelle capped a 78-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. The score came with 51 seconds in the first quarter, and Lotulelei earned an assist for reeling off runs of 30 and 29 yards, respectively.
Maui High’s other touchdown came less than two minutes after Fisher scored via then pass, as backup quarterback Kainalu Tancayo lofted a 13-yard scoring toss to L.J. Lindsey and Kapisi capped the scoring with her 14th consecutive extra-point kick.
The Warriors’ top rusher Damon Martin was held to 13 yards on eight carries and Sanchez completed 14 of 37 passes for 142 yards.
The Sabers, who have a bye this weekend, beat the Warriors for the seventh straight time.
Kamehameha Maui fell to 1-2 and will host Lahainaluna on Saturday, Sept. 19.
Saturday’s Scoring Summary
SABERS 24, WARRIORS 7
At War Memorial Stadium
KS Maui 0 0 0 7—7
Maui High 7 0 17 0—24
MH—John-Michael Mokiao-Duvachelle 6 run (Kalia Kapisi kick), 0:51
MH—Kapisi 22 FG, 4:02
MH—Jamie Elisara-Fisher 40 interception return (Kapisi kick), 3:49
MH—L.J. Lindsey 13 pass from Kainalu Tancayo (Kapisi kick), 2:09
KM—Tyerell Baldonado-Kaleiopu 4 pass from from Kainoa Sanchez (Kealaula Kaliikoa kick), 5:36.
JV result: Maui High 24, Kamehameha Maui 15.
BEARS 29, LUNAS 27
Lahainaluna gave defending Division I MIL champion Baldwin all it could handle Saturday and then some.
In fact, the Lunas led 27-26 with 1:32 left in the game and chose to kick the extra point instead of attempting a two-point conversion that would have given them a three-point lead, forcing Baldwin to have to score a touchdown to win.
Baldwin did come storming back on the nifty scrambling of quarterback Chayce Akaka, who set the table for teammate Bishop Wickes’ game-winning 23-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the game.
Baldwin (3-0) clinched the MIL’s first-round title with the victory at Lahainaluna’s Sue Cooley Stadium. Meanwhile, Lahainaluna slipped to 1-2 and will play Kamehameha Maui (1-2) on Saturday, Sept. 17, for the MIL Division II first-round title.
Saturday’s Scoring Summary
At Sue Cooley Stadium
Baldwin 7 13 0 9—29
Lahainaluna 7 0 7 13—27
LH—Justice Tihada 1 yard run (Pablo Rico kick), 8:00
BH—Bishop Wickes 4 run (Wickes kick), 4:37
BH—Chayce Akaka 20 run (Wickes kick), 7:40
BH—Kamaki Gouveia 15 run (kick failed), 0:30
LH—Haaheo Au 16 pass from Enele Scanlan (Au kick), 0:41
BH—Akaka 23 run (pass failed), 8:31
LH—Etuati Storer 54 run (Au kick), 2:58
LH—Donovan Defang 6 run (kick failed), 1:32
BH—Wickes 23 FG, 0:04
JV result: Lahainaluna 35, Baldwin 0