No. 11 Lahainaluna holds off late Kapaa push


Sat, Aug 17, 2019 @ Lahainaluna [ 7:00 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
KAPA (8-2-0) 0 3 7 818
LAH (11-1-0) 0 14 7 021

LAHAINA, Maui — The three-time defending Division II state champions were not going to let another team rally past them Saturday night.

No. 11 Lahainaluna built a 14-3 halftime lead and held off Kapaa, 21-18, in a non-league contest at Sue. D. Cooley Stadium to earn its first win of the season.

The Lunas — who earned its fourth straight win over the Warriors, which includes victories in the 2016 and 2018 state championship games — were coming off a 38-31 overtime loss to Damien just two weeks prior. Lahainaluna (1-1) had a 31-7 lead over the Monarchs in the third quarter, but allowed a rally by Damien and gave up the game-tying field goal on the final play of regulation.

Saturday's contest nearly was a repeat of the Damien game, but the Lunas' defense forced a three-and-out on Kapaa's final possession of the night and got a 15-yard completion to Kai Bookland on third down to seal the game.

"Coming into this game we tried to remind the kids during the two weeks since we played Damien that we got to state in until the final whistle, final buzzer," said first-year Lahainaluna co-head coach Dean Rickard. "We tried to work on our conditioning because that was factor when we played Damien. We were fairly pleased with what we saw tonight, but we're still far from where we need to be."

The Warriors' second half comeback was fueled by the legs of senior quarterback Kahanu Davis, who led all rushers with 24 carries for 160 yards and two second-half touchdowns. On Kapaa's opening drive of the second half, Davis followed a pair of blockers through the right side of the line for a 58-yard TD run on fourth-and-one. On the Warriors' final scoring drive, Davis converted two third downs and one fourth down with his scrambling ability before keeping it for a 3-yard score and the 2-point conversion to make it 21-18 with 4:11 left in regulation.

Kapaa quarterback Kahanu Davis gets around Lahainaluna's Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales on the Warriors' opening drive. Glen Pascual | Special to SL    Purchase image

Kapaa sixth-year coach Philip Rapozo, whose team was making its season debut, was optimistic after the game despite the loss.

"I'm pretty satisfied even though we came out losing the game. First game of the year for us against a really good team which everybody in the state knows. We know what we got to fix. We got a lot of work ahead of us, but yet we're excited about our performance. We didn't give up. Again, this is just a rivalry man. They've been coming out ahead for the last few years, but we'll just keep doing this as long as they want to, we'll keep doing it."

Kapaa (0-1) had the advantage early in the game. After forcing a turnover on downs at their own 1-yard line with 7:50 to go in the opening period, the Warriors ran the ball 12 straight times before attempting their first pass on first-and-goal at the Lunas' 5-yard line. The pass fell incomplete and the drive stalled after a third down sack by Kaihulali Casco, which saw Kapaa settle for a 25-yard field goal from Laakea Gonsalves to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead with 11:06 left in the first half.

The Lunas answered immediately when Devon Sa-Chisolm returned the ensuing kickoff down the left sideline for a 98-yard return to the house. Brian Sandoval's PAT gave Lahainaluna a 7-3 lead just 16 seconds after Gonsalves' field goal.

"Just missed assignments," Rapozo said of the kickoff return. "They outplayed us on special teams for sure. They're a good team. Lahainaluna isn't three-time state champs for nothing."

The Warriors went three-and-out on their next drive and Lahainaluna took advantage of a handful of penalties to get its first offensive score. A dead-ball personal foul on third-and-13 took the Lunas over midfield while back-to-back encroachment penalties put Lahainaluna on the Kapaa 6-yard line before Tysyn Estrella ran up the middle for a 1-yard TD.

Lahainaluna loss the ball on a fumble on its first drive of the second half, but got the ball right back after forcing a turnover-on-downs at its own 31-yard line.

Junior quarterback Esekielu Storer looked poised on the Lunas' following drive to set up their final score of the night. Storer completed four of his five passes on the possession, which included a 35-yard throw down the deep sideline to Sandoval, before Casco ran it in from one yard out to make the score 21-10 with 1:57 to play in the third quarter. Storer finished the game with 145 yards on 9-for-12 passing.

Casco led the Lunas defensively with 11 tackles, which included 2 1/2 tackles for loss. Nainoa Irish was also solid at the linebacker position with seven tackles.

Joshua Baltazar had 3 1/2 tackles for loss and Nikki Kamelamela had seven tackles to lead the Warriors on defense.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].




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