Kamehameha stops Punahou
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
With no postseason ahead, all No. 3 Punahou and No. 4 Kamehameha had to play for was pride. And it showed.
Vance Nobriga's interception off Brett Kan with 31 seconds left preserved the Warriors' 27-20 win against the Buffanblu in the Interscholastic League of Hono-lulu Division regular season finale before 6,328 at Aloha Stadium.
Both teams ended with 4-3 records, three games behind champion Saint Louis, which has the league's only Division I state berth.
On second-and-10 from the Kamehameha 16, defensive end Taylor Hibbs stormed in and had Kan in his grasp when the quarterback's throw was short and picked off by Nobriga and returned to the Kamehameha 26 before a raucous Kamehameha crowd.
"It was about pride," Hibbs said. "We were playing for pride. Everyone on the defense did their job."
"This is great, to pull it off," Kamehameha defensive back Brandon Hardin said. "It was a team effort. It was good."
The Warriors had a 27-6 lead early in the fourth quarter after Tyler Akao's 22-yard field goal, his second of the night (the other one was 49 yards). The Buff-anblu scored on their ensuing series on a 29-yard TD pass from Kan to Dalton Hilliard to make it 27-13.
The Warriors took over with 8:02 left in the game, but lost a fumbled at their own 42. The Buffanblu were quick to cash in the turnover with Hilliard's 5-yard TD run to pull to 27-20 with 4:10 left.
Punahou did not try an onside kick, figuring it had enough time to get the ball back. It used its three timeouts, but Kamehameha stayed alive long enough to run six plays before punting from Punahou's 49 with 1:28 left.
The Buffanblu took over from their 17 at 1:16 after the return. Kan completed three passes in a row of 9 yards to Kameron Steinhoff, 35 yards to Hilliard and 28 yards to River Kim to reach the Kamehameha 16. Kan's first-down pass was incomplete. Nobriga sealed the game with the pick on second down.
Kan passed for 336 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice.
"The kids never quit," Punahou coach Kale Ane said. "That's one of the things we want to be known for."
Kamehameha coach Kanani Souza spoke to the Buffanblu after the game, telling them he appreciated the effort they put out in a game where no postseason was at stake.
"I just congratulated them for being a classy outfit," said Souza, who coached his last game as he becomes the lead athletic director at Kamehameha. "They don't know how to give up. Time and time again, they keep coming at you."
Running back Truman Chun rushed for 144 yards on 21 carries, including one TD. Quarterback Michael Hoke passed for 184 yards and TDs of 42 yards to Ekolu Soon III and 38 yards to Kaneakua Friel.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertis er.com or 525-8042.
PUNAHOU (7-3, 4-3) 6 0 0 14 — 20
KAMEHAMEHA (8-3, 4-3) 7 10 7 3 — 27
Kam—Ekolu Soon III 42 pass from Michael Hoke (Tyler Akao kick)
Pun—Kainoa Carlson 21 pass from Brett Kan (kick failed)
KAM—TRUMAN CHUN 11 RUN (AKAO KICK)
KAM—FG AKAO 49
KAM—KANEAKUA FRIEL 38 PASS FROM HOKE (AKAO KICK)
KAM—FG AKAO 22
Pun—Dalton Hilliard 29 pass from Kan (River Kim kick)
PUN—HILLIARD 5 RUN (KIM KICK)
RUSHING—Punahou: Kan 2-0, Dalton Hilliard 6-22, Carlson 1-1, Miah Ostrowski 1-(minus 1).
Kamehameha: Hoke 3-(minus 2), Kaulupono Perez 3-11, Chun 21-144, Ryan Montez 11-60, Jordan Rego 9-47, Team 2-(minus 7).
PASSING—Punahou: Kan 22-42-2—336. Kamehameha: Hoke 11-19-0—184.
RECEIVING—Punahou: Carlson 3-19, Kyle Whitford 4-20, Miah Ostrowski 6-129, River Kim 5-93, Hilliard 3-66, Kameron Steinhoff 1-9. Kamehameha: Soon III 5-84, Ian Bernardino 3-33, Kekoa Osorio 1-3, Kaneakua Friel. 2-64.
OIA JV SEMIFINALS
In the OIA junior varsity championship semifinals yesterday, Castle defeated Wai'anae, 13-7, and Leilehua held off Kahuku, 33-27. Castle will play at Leilehua on Saturday for the title. The league has not determined a starting time.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.