Leilehua grounds McKinley
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
MILILANI — Traditionally pass-oriented Leilehua went to the ground and ran over McKinley, 23-14, last night in a quarterfinal of the O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red tournament at Mililani stadium.
The No. 9 Mules (7-2) will face defending league and state champion Kahuku (7-2) in a 4 p.m. semifinal Friday at Aloha Stadium. The Tigers (5-4) pack up their equipment until next season.
Running back Micah Abreu Laybon rushed for a game-high 155 yards and two touchdowns and had three catches for 46 yards. His longest gains came toward the end against a worn down Tigers' defense that had a number of two-way performers.
"My coaches always say we want to run to set up the pass," Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said. "I was always one of those hard-head guys who wants to throw the ball and ask questions later, but I finally went with what the coaches believed in and that was to establish the run game."
Leilehua had 228 yards rushing and 140 passing from Bryant Moniz.
What iced the game for the Mules was a 10-play, 99-yard fourth-quarter drive capped by a 19-yard TD run by Abreu Laybon up the gut of the Tigers' defense with 3:58 left.
"Our O-line was really, really there for me today," Abreu Laybon said. "Give all the praise and everything to them."
His blockers were center Cameron McKeague, guards Adriano Alae, Daniel Pelupelu and Jordan Jenks, and tackles Stanford Salavea and Keala Pascua. Their coach, ironically, is McKinley alumnus Ed Kama.
It was a heart-breaker for the Tigers, who led 14-13 at the half, but were unable to score in the second half. Just before the end of the third quarter, the Tigers drove from their 22 to the Mules' 20, but defensive back Dustin Pau'u made a diving interception of Tilton Kaluna's over-thrown pass at the Mules' 5.
"It hurts," said McKinley linebacker Isaac Iuta, fighting tears. "They (the Mules) played good ball. That's it."
Iuta started the game at quarterback, but Kaluna took over from the second series. It was his first game back since a Sept. 29 game at Moanalua when he broke his left collarbone (non-throwing side).
The Mules jumped out in front, scoring on their first series of the game on Abreu Laybon's 10-yard run that capped a 14-play, 66-yard drive. But Micah Uehara's PAT missed to keep the score 6-0.
Kaluna responded with a 55-yard TD pass to Ben Davis with 7:09 left in the half. Marcus Amorin's PAT gave McKinley a 7-6 lead.
The Mules regained the lead on a 7-yard TD pass from Moniz to Martin Iosefo on a fade to the left corner of the end zone with 1:02 left in the half. Uehara's PAT made it 13-7.
But the Tigers answered just before the half. On second-and-10, Kaluna escaped the grasp of at least two Leilehua tacklers, rolled left and hit Josh Nakama on a 29-yard TD pass. Amorin's PAT gave the Tigers a 14-13 lead at intermission.
The Mules took the lead for good in the third quarter on Uehara's 22-yard field goal to make ti 16-14.
MCKINLEY (5-4) 0 14 0 0—14
LEILEHUA (6-3) 6 7 3 7—23
Lei — Micah Abreu Laybon 10 run (kick failed)
McK — Ben Davis 55 pass from Tilton Kaluna (Marcus Amorin kick)
Lei — Martin Iosefo 7 pass from Bryant Moniz (Micah Uehara kick)
McK — Josh Nakama 29 pass from Kaluna (Amorin kick)
Lei — FG Uehara 22
Lei — Abreu Laybon 19 run (Uehara kick) RUSHING — McKinley: Isaac Iuta 1-(minus 12), Keawe Kalama 15-63, Kaluna 7-14, Alan Hashimoto 1-(minus 2). Leilehua: Moniz 6-16, Abreu Laybon 22-155, Bronson Pausa 8-50, Aric Edra 1-(minus 1), Alex Cruz 1-8.
PASSING — McKinley: Iuta 3-4-0—17, Ervin Sione 1-1-0—1, Kaluna 16-36-1—204. Leilehua: Moniz 13-22-0—140.
RECEIVING — McKinley: Jarrett Luna 6-40, Hashimoto 7-49, Kalama 1-1, Davis 1-55, Nakama 3-61, Tuimatagalu Togia 1-7, Sione 1-9. Leilehua: Aric Edra 3-51, Mene Asuega Coffin 1-7, Kaipo DeRego 3-1, Abreu Laybon 3-46, Iosefo 2-26, Cruz 1-9.
JV score — Leilehua 37, Radford 14
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.