RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Maika Murashige and Kamehameha's Aaron Nichols dove for a pass but came up empty in the first half last night.
Kamehameha clears up ILH
Playing smashmouth football and winning ugly in inclement weather are Kamehameha Warrior specialties. Behind the power running of Jeremiah Dela Pena and Bryson Vivas, Kamehameha grabbed sole possession of first place in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu with a 20-7 win over Punahou last night at Aloha Stadium.
Dela Pena rushed for 81 hard-earned yards, while Vivas racked up 74 yards. Third-ranked Kamehameha improved to 4-1 in league play (8-2 overall) and moved ahead of No. 2 Punahou (6-2, 3-2). Saint Louis, which defeated Iolani in the earlier game, is also 3-2 in league play.
"Our defensive coaches put together a nice game plan," Kamehameha coach Doss Tannehill said. "We executed. And we had a great week of practice."
Kamehameha's relentless defense took away Punahou's best weapon, wide receiver Miah Ostrowski. The junior finished with only three receptions for 26 yards. His quarterback, Brett Kan, struggled with 12-for-38 accuracy for 100 yards.
"We had to shut down Ostrowski. Not double-cover him, but just be physical," Tannehill said.
The defensive unit relished another opportunity to meet Punahou.
"We had to win the ow-wee game," defensive end Kaipo Sarkissian said. "Make them hurt more than we did."
Punahou tallied just 97 yards in total offense.
"We played as a team. We tried to eliminate their strong points, rally to the ball," Kamehameha linebacker Gerritt Vincent said.
Punahou, which nearly beat Kamehameha in their first meeting last month, rushed for minus-3 yards. Buffanblu coach Kale Ane refused to acknowledge the poor weather as a reason for his offense's troubles.
"The weather was bad for both teams. They played well defensively," Ane said. "Brett's struggles had a lot to do with the pressure they put on us and the scheme they used."
The Division I race in the ILH is far from over, of course.
"We have a tough Iolani game coming up, and Kamehameha still has Saint Louis," Ane noted.
Gusts up to 35 mph, plus non-stop showers, put the blues into the Buffanblu from the start. Struggling to throw and run the ball, they managed 1 yard in total offense in the first half. Punahou had two first downs and punted on seven of its eight possessions.
Kamehameha, on the other hand, ran without fail. Dela Pena, who rushed for 90 yards before halftime, pounded away with six carries on his team's first drive. He scored easily from 1 yard out to give the Warriors a 6-0 lead with 6:08 remaining in the first quarter.
Moments later, a pass by Kan ricocheted off his intended receiver on a very short route. The ball landed in the hands of linebacker Mana Lolotai, who returned the ball 8 yards to the Punahou 26-yard line.
Three plays later, Bryson Vivas powered his way up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown run. Kamehameha led 13-0 with 4:44 left in the first quarter.
Kamehameha's defense swarmed all over Kan and his receivers. Though Punahou looked for short routes, navy blue Warrior shirts were everywhere, harassing Kan into a 3-for-17 effort in the first half.
However, it was special teams that gave Kamehameha its next score. A line-drive, one-hop punt by Keoki Hong gave Warriors punt returner Aaron Nichols time to maneuver down the right sideline for a 49-yard touchdown return. The Warriors led 20-0 with 9:47 left in the second quarter.
Until that play, Hong had angled his punts far away from Nichols. "He was doing a good job. I was getting frustrated," Nichols said.
Waialua 21, Kaiser 7
Edwin Rubio scored all three Waialua touchdowns as the Bulldogs defeated the Cougars.
Rubio scored on a 20-yard run in the second for the game's first score. After Kaiser took a 7-6 lead on Isaac Saffery's 37-yard touchdown run in the third, Rubio caught a pass from Caleb Fore in the fourth.
Rubio capped the scoring with a 15-yard run and finished with 56 total rushing yards. Fore completed 15 of 25 passes for 119 yards.
Saffery rushed for 63 yards in the loss.
Kalaheo 20, Waipahu 14
Matthew Soueira scored two touchdowns and rushed 24 times for 210 yards as the Mustangs defeated the Marauders.
Soueira scored on two 4-yard runs in the fourth quarter. Waipahu quarterback Gilchrist Fernandez threw for 259 yards.