Posted: September 14, 2012 - 1:00pm
No. 3 Punahou powers past No. 4 Saint Louis, 43-14
Punahou running back Ryan Tuiasoa gallops into the endzone for a score in the first half. Greg Yamamoto | SL
HALAWA - Led by its big three stars on offense, Punahou put on a dominating display in a 43-14 win over Saint Louis in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu game at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium Friday night.
A crowd of about 4,500 saw the Buffanblu rack up 523 yards of total offense and score the game's final 29 points to improve to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the ILH. The Crusaders, ranked fourth in the ScoringLive/OC16 Power Rankings, fell to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the ILH.
Third-ranked Punahou did not commit a turnover and picked up 27 first downs. Junior quarterback Tui Tuileta was an efficient 21-of-26 passing for 368 yards with four touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Kanawai Noa caught eight of those passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns and senior running back Ryan Tuiasoa carried 20 times for 111 yards and two scores.
"The coaches did a good job of preparing us and the players just executed really well today," said Tuileta, who completed passes to seven different receivers. "When the (offensive) line is clicking, everything else can click and I give credit to the line today, they played really great."
Buffanblu coach Kale Ane credited his offensive line for giving Tuileta time to pass as well as opening up running lanes for Tuiasoa.
"Our offense carried us. The offensive line, it starts with them and then Tui and Kanawai - and all the receivers played really well," Ane said. "Ryan ran great, our offense has been picking it up and our staff did very well. I'm very, very pleased."
Meanwhile, the Buffanblu defense held the Saint Louis offense to 293 yards, including just 90 rushing yards, and zero points in the second half. Chaz Shizumura and Joseph Augafa recorded one interception apiece and Canton Kaumatule and Isaac Savaiinaea each had a sack for Punahou.
"They did a really great job today," Tuileta said of the Punahou defense. "I know that they studied up, too, because the defensive coaches are on them a lot and they also have a lot of leaders out there that help push the players that extra mile and they just kept that focus and even though it was kind of rough at the beginning, they were able to pick it up at the end and they did really well."
Punahou scored on its opening drive, capping an eight-play, 60-yard drive with a 1-yard Tuiasoa touchdown run with eight minutes and 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
Saint Louis needed just one play to answer as Adam Noga bolted 65 yards on the Crusaders' first play from scrimmage. The ensuing extra point by Ihaka Johnson knotted the score at 7 until Punahou recaptured the lead late in the first quarter on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Tuileta to tight end Dakota Torres. On the scoring play, Tuileta faked a handoff to Tuiasoa before finding Torres open in the back, left corner of the end zone.
"I think our volume on the sidelines got their attention and (Noga) is a hell of a runner," Ane said of his defense allowing the long Noga touchdown run. "He did a good job and we tried to make some corrections and it seemed to work out for us the rest of the game."
However, Noga left the game late in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury. He re-entered on the first offensive play of the third quarter, but again left and did not return.
"He wanted to see how it felt," Crusaders coach Matt Wright said. "He kind of tweaked it, we don't think it's too serious, but rather than lose him for a longer period of time, we just decided to sit him out."
The Crusaders answered on their first drive of the second quarter, when quarterback Ryder Kuhns connected with tight end Wallen Teo for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 8:06 left until halftime. Off of a play-action fake, Kuhns threaded the needle between three Punahou defenders to Teo, who twisted in mid-air to pull in the catch.
However, on Punahou's very next play from scrimmage, Tuileta found a streaking Noa along the right sideline for a 67-yard touchdown. Two Buffanblu receivers were in the area of the pass and it appeared that Tuileta had overthrown one receiver, when Noa found his way under the deep ball, secured the catch and went untouched the rest of the way for the score.
Later in the second quarter, Tuiasoa finished off a five-play, 72-yard drive with his 5-yard touchdown run. The play was set-up by consecutive gains of 32 yards and 24 yards on pass plays from Tuileta to Keanu Chee and Dylan Combs, respectively.
Punahou held a 28-14 lead at halftime. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, it was all Buffanblu in the second half.
Late in the third quarter, Tuileta hit Noa for their second scoring connection. The 1-yard touchdown pass off a quick slant gave Punahou a 35-14 lead after three quarters.
"The coaches did a good job. We went in at halftime, made some adjustments and the kids were determined to play better and get things done."
Punahou got a safety midway through the fourth quarter when a bad shotgun snap to Kuhns in the end zone was covered up by a Saint Louis player. Just two plays later, Tuileta and Noa hooked up yet again, this time for a 44-yard touchdown with 6:41 remaining to close out the scoring.
"The kids played really well and the coaches did a really good job of scheming things and we're very fortunate to get out of here with this win," Ane said.
Wright expressed unhappiness with his defensive unit after the game.
"Our defense didn't step up," Wright said. "When it came down to it, when we had to make some stops, ultimately our defense didn't step up to the plate and I think Punahou took advantage of it. You can't give a team like Punahou opportunity after opportunity."
It was the second straight game that Kuhns, a sophomore, started in place of senior Kawai Mook-Garcia, who suffered a leg injury in a non-league game against Bishop Gorman (Nev.). Kuhns completed 21 of his 34 pass attempts for 203 yards with two interceptions. Jeremy Tabuyo had nine receptions for 99 yards for Saint Louis, which committed 13 penalties for 111 yards and was just 4-of-10 on third downs.
September 14, 2012
Kanawai Noa, 67 yard pass from Larry Tuileta
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Punahou WR Kanawai Noa led all receivers with 198 yards and 3 TDs against Saint Louis. Greg Yamamoto | SL