Posted: October 19, 2012 - 9:34am
Defense carries No. 5 Leilehua over Moanalua, 29-3
WAHIAWA-Leilehua's defense might have been stretched by the run, but it more than made up for it with four turnovers to turn away Moanalua, 29-3, in an O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red quarterfinal Friday night at Hugh Yoshida Stadium.
The Mules (7-2), fifth in the ScoringLive/OC 16 Power Rankings, will meet top-ranked Kahuku (8-0) in a semifinal Friday at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium. It is a rematch of last year's semifinal when Kahuku beat Leilehua, 9-7, en route to the OIA Red crown and Division I state title.
Na Menehune (5-5) had their season terminated by the Mules in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.
Quarterback Justin Jenks was 13 of 20 for 168 yards and two TDs. Keoni Piceno was a busy Mules with 13 rushes for 61 yards and six receptions for 46 yards, including a TD.
Moanalua had moderate success running against Leilehua. Running back Ismil Scott led with 99 yards on 14 carries. But the turnovers put a damper the Na Menehune threats.
"You can't shoot yourself in the foot," Moanalua coach Arnold Martinez said. "It's the same old story: When you play good teams, you can't make mistakes. Leilehua is a good team. They do a good job of coaching the guys. You can't give them extra opportunities."
"Coach Mark (Kurisu, defensive coordinator) does a good job, always stressing on pulling on the football, getting turnovers," Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said.
Ironically, it was Moanalua that came up with the first turnover of the game when Zarin Augustiro intercepted an Ikaika Piceno pass just three plays into the game. But three plays later, Na Menehune lost a fumble at their own 44. Six plays later, the Mules cashed in on the gift with Beti Alex's 30-yard field goal with eight minutes, 13 seconds in the first quarter.
The Mules tried an onside kick, but the ball traveled a yard and Moanalua took the ball at the Mules' 41. Na Menehune threatened with a 27-yard pass from Micah Kaneshiro to Donald Lambert with a roughing the passer penalty tacked on to put the ball at the 5. But three plays later, Shai Pulawa jumped in front of Lambert and intercepted Kaneshiro's pass at the goal line and raced down the right sideline for a touchdown with 5:35 left in the quarter. Alex's PAT made it 10-0.
Moanalua did follow with a 72-yard drive, but had to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Landon Ogawa with 11:45 in the second quarter to pull Na Menehune to 10-3.
Leilehua responded quickly, needing just six plays to move 74 yards, scoring on a shovel pass that traveled about eight yards from Justin Jenks to Ikaika Piceno, who completed 46-yard play by racing past Na Menehune defenders en route to the end zone. Moanalua's highly touted defensive lineman Scott Pagano blocked the PAT to keep it 16-3 with 10:07 in the half.
The Mules scored on their next series on a five-yard TD pass from Jenks to Tristin Kamaka on a swing-out pass to the left. The Mules tried to run in the 2-point conversion, but were stopped. But Leilehua took a 22-3 lead into the break.
The teams played a scoreless third quarter in part to an exchange of turnovers. Morton's first interception on Moanalua's third play of the second half was negated when the Mules lost a fumbled that Pagano recovered at the Moanalua 3.
Late in the third quarter, Morton had his second pick off Kaneshiro. But the Mules' drive, which continued into the fourth quarter, was stalled when Jenks was picked off by Richard Parham. and returned 28 yards to the Leilehua 27. But Na Menehune the ball on downs when on fourth-and-12 at the Leilehua 29, Kaneshiro intentionally grounded the ball after a heavy Mules' pursuit. The net 22-yard loss on the play - a spot foul infraction - gave Leilehua the ball at Moanalua's 49. That paved the way for RB Keanu Kahele Ferreira's 18-yard TD run with 6:07 left in the game to make it 29-3.
"Tip our hats to our defense," Tokuda said. "We put them in a bad situation in the second half. But they just shut it down for us."
While the Mules move on, Na Menehune must wait another year.
"I'm proud of our guys," Martinez said. "We had a great season. We love our guys and we continue to grow and get better every year. If we just keep chipping away, we'll be all right."
October 19, 2012
Leilehua LB Leland Wong gets to Moanalua QB Micah Kaneshiro. Sylvia Lee | Special to SL
Moanalua RB Ishmil Scott rushed for a game-high 99 yards against Leilehua. Sylvia Lee | Special to SL
Leilehua's Keoni Piceno tries to evade the tackle of Moanalua's Chris Owens. Peter Caldwell | SL
Leilehua DB Shai Pulawa had a 100-yard interception return for touchdown against Moanalua. Sylvia Lee | Special to SL