Posted: September 1, 2012 - 12:27am
Punahou uses 2nd half surge to top Kamehameha, 34-14
HALAWA - A heavy dose of Ryan Tuiasoa was all that Punahou needed.
Two weeks after a road loss at top-ranked Kahuku, in which they were held to minus five yards rushing, the Buffanblu rode Tuiasoa for 156 yards on 29 rushes, in a 34-14 win over Kamehameha in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu opener for both teams Friday night.
A crowd of about 7,000 at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium saw the Buffanblu, ranked third in the ScoringLive/OC16 Power Rankings, improve to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the ILH. The seventh-ranked Warriors fell to 2-2 and 0-1.
The teams were tied at 14 at halftime before Punahou scored 20 unanswered points and its defense shutout Kamehameha in the second half en route to the victory.
"It's just a testament to how hard our O-line works," said Tuiasoa, who scored on runs of 2 and 1 yards in the fourth quarter. "We come to practice everyday and they just hit sleds. It especially fueled us because of our weak performance two weeks ago and that's where it came from."
The Buffanblu ran 34 rushing plays, while quarterback Tui Tuileta had to throw just 26 times. He completed 16 of those passes for 363 yards with three touchdowns, including two first-quarter scoring strikes to Tuiasoa.
"It's a very quality win against a good team, but we've got a long way to go and a lot of things to clean up," Punahou coach Kale Ane said. "Anytime you can win a game like this, especially our first (ILH) game, we're very happy."
The Buffanblu broke a 14-all tie midway through the third quarter on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Tuileta to Kanawai Noa, who finished with game-highs of seven receptions for 178 yards. The scoring play was set-up by a 36-yard connection between the pair two plays earlier.
Punahou extended its lead on the first play of the fourth quarter when Tuiasoa found the end zone on a 2-yard run, followed by the Charles McDonald extra point to make the score 28-14.
Following a Kamehameha three-and-out, Tuiasoa shouldered the load on an eight-play, 62-yard drive that was capped by his 1-yard touchdown plunge. On the scoring play, he followed behind the block of his left tackle and slipped between a pair of Warriors and into the end zone. Tuiasoa carried seven times on the drive for 28 yards. A 34-yard pass from Tuileta to tight end Dakota Torres, which set-up first-and-goal, was set-up off a play-action fake to Tuiasoa.
"I just had to trust my O-line, because I knew that even if the defense knows we're going to run the ball, if I follow my blocks, they'll take me to where I need to be," Tuiasoa said.
The 156 rushing yards by Punahou were the most allowed by Kamehameha this season.
"We knew they were going to run the ball, so we planned for them to run the ball and then they were going to take their shots deep and we had a couple guys on him, but that (Noa) is just good," Warriors coach David Stant said. "He made some plays, he really did, so it's tough to coach against those guys, but our guys just have to want it a little more."
Kamehameha quarterback Makoa Camanse-Stevens was just 6-of-24 passing for 74 yards, including just two completions after halftime.
Punahou enjoyed the return of all-state linebacker Isaac Savaiinaea, who returned from a hand injury, and defensive lineman Canton Kaumatule, who was out with a bad knee.
"It's a big difference with those two guys out there," Ane said. "They're Division I players and their spirit and their passion really made a big difference, so we're happy."
Tuileta led the Buffanblu to touchdowns on two of their first three drives of the game, which both resulted in touchdown passes to Tuiasoa.
Just five plays in, Tuileta layed out a short swing pass to the right flat for Tuiasoa, who stiff-armed one defender and broke another tackle before going untouched the rest of the way. The 50-yard touchdown pass and ensuing McDonald PAT gave Punahou a quick 7-0 lead.
Late in the first quarter, Tuiasoa capped a 12-play, 85-yard drive with another touchdown pass on Tuileta on another swing pass.
"We were just reading off of the outside linebacker," said Tuiasoa, whose two receptions totaled 59 yards. "The first two times he backed up, the receivers drew him away so that left me wide open."
However, the Warriors answered with a 1-yard Sila Wily touchdown run early in the second quarter and tied it on their next possession - following an interception by Javen Sablay - when Camanse-Stevens hit Austin Gerard for a 5-yard touchdown pass.
"We made some mistakes in the first half and minimized our mistakes in the second half," Ane said. The kids came out and the passing game really worked well and even though (Noa) is double-covered everytime, he seems to come up with the catch. We're very fortunate and we're very pleased."
Punahou amassed a season-high 519 yards of total offense and 21 first downs. Kamehameha was held to just 2-of-12 on third downs.
September 1, 2012
Kanawai Noa, 37 yard touchdown pass from Larry Tuileta.
> more video highlights
Punahou RB Ryan Tuiasoa accounted for four total touchdowns in the Buffanblu's win over Kamehameha. Sean Nakamura | SL
Kamehameha's Pono Holt and Kekai Kawakami-Kauweloa combine on a stop against Punahou. Sean Nakamura | SL