HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kahuku's Malosi Te'o dove for a first down in the first half of last night's game at Aloha Stadium.
Kahuku stops Aiea
Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai's concerns about Na Alii's offense were sacked by his defense
By Paul Honda
CONTAINING the hottest offense in the league was a major concern for Siuaki Livai.
The Kahuku coach didn't have to worry. Lahainaluna's gift to Kahuku, Kaniela Tuipulotu, was quick relief.
The junior defensive tackle had five sacks, all in the first half, as Kahuku stifled Aiea 26-16 last night to capture the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I championship.
"Kaniela always has to fight his way through," Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai said, noting his defense's three-man defensive line. "He deserves what he gets."
Malosi Te'o continued his rushing rampage, gaining 248 yards on 15 carries. He raced for touchdowns of 73, 57 and 72 yards, beating safeties who had angles on him.
"I guess they don't know how quick, how fast he is," Livai said. "The correct angle is not always the one to take on Malosi."
Te'o deflected credit.
"My goal is to win as a team. I don't worry about what's on the other side. I just trust my team," the senior said.
Aiea coach Wendell Say hopes his team improves its tackling soon.
"We were lunging, even our kids who are usually our best tacklers," he said.
Kahuku's defense, which finished with eight sacks, limited Aiea to 179 total yards.
"It's always defense first.
Defense sets the tone," Livai said. "They bend, but they didn't break."
Kahuku, ranked No. 1 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, earned a first-round bye in the First Hawaiian Bank State Football Championships. The Red Raiders (9-1) will play in the semifinal round on Nov. 26 at Aloha Stadium.
"The bye is good for us at this time, especially when we don't know who we'll play anyway," said Livai, who had concerns during the regular season. His team had just one nonconference game, and all of its preseason scrimmages were canceled.
Aiea (8-3) will face the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion next Saturday. Punahou and Saint Louis play for the ILH title on Monday.
Aiea's offense amassed 52 points in a playoff win over Castle, a squad that upset Kahuku 23-6 during the regular season.
By game time, conditions at Aloha Stadium were in favor of the run-and-shoot attack of Aiea. The Red Raiders left nothing to chance, swarming all over Aiea's offense with a mix of blitzes. That opened the door for Tuipulotu, who transferred from Lahainaluna to Kahuku after his freshman season.
Back then, he was a svelte, 215-pound running back with the versatility to play several positions, Lahainaluna coach Bobby Watson surmised at the time.
But Tuipulotu moved to the North Shore of Oahu to live with relatives and play for the Red Raiders. Now 261 pounds, he controlled the line of scrimmage last night, giving Aiea quarterback Kali Kuia fits. The senior quarterback completed 11 of his 15 attempts in the first half for 98 yards, but he was sacked six times for a loss of 46 yards.
Kahuku scored on its first offensive play. Te'o took a handoff from Kaulin Krebs and sprinted through the Aiea defense for a 73-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead in the opening quarter.
Aiea's next series was a struggle. On third and 29, the shotgun snap surprised Kuia, who never had control of the ball. In a mad scramble beyond the goal line, Kaeo Alo fell on the ball in the corner of the end zone for Kahuku's second touchdown.
Te'o had a 57-yard touchdown run off right tackle to give his team a 20-0 lead with 5:23 to play in the third quarter.
He added a 72-yard scoring jaunt off left tackle just before the end of the third quarter. Kahuku led 26-0 with 1:19 left in the third quarter. Aiea refused to surrender. After a 36-yard punt return by Lofa Liilii, Kuia directed a four-play, 50-yard touchdown march. He fired a 17-yard scoring pass to Liilii to end Aiea's scoring drought. Kuia then connected with Alan Fonoti for a 2-point PAT to make it 26-8 with 7:44 left to play.
Na Alii got the ball back after Kahuku punter Gary Nagy, avoiding a blockage of his kick, was tackled for no gain. Kuia drove his offense 40 yards in six plays. A pass interference call in the end zone on fourth and goal spared Na Alii, who got a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Alfredo Higa with 3:06 left.
OIA RED CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 1 Kahuku 26, No. 6 Aiea 16
At Aloha Stadium
Kah--Malosi Te'o 73 run (pass failed).
Kah--Kaeo Alo fumble recovery in end zone (Te'o run).
Kah--Te'o 57 run (run failed).
Kah--Te'o 72 run (pass failed).
Aiea--Lofa Liilii 17 pass from Kali Kuia (Alan Fonoti pass from Kuia).
Aiea--Alfredo Higa 1 run (Fonoti pass from Higa).
RUSHING--Aiea: Liilii 1-19, Landon Dela Cruz 5-0, Alfredo Higa 2-(-3), team 1-(-28), Kuia 16-(-46). Kahuku: Te'o 15-248, Kamuela Alisa 9-41, Lehi Aumua 4-17, Jason Mauai 1-1, Gary Nagy 1-0, Jacob Kahawaii 1-(-1), Kaulin Krebs 3-(-19).
PASSING--Aiea: Kuia 20-33-2-225, Higa 1-1-0-12. Kahuku: Krebs 3-6-0-27, Alisa 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING--Aiea: Liilii 6-54, Josh Blakemore 4-90, Fonoti 3-27, Josh Asuncion 3-26, Lahaina Olsen-Kuroda 2-17, Dela Cruz 2-14. Kahuku: Devin Unga 2-26, Joe Whittacker 1-1.
BIIF DIVISION II CHAMPIONSHIP
Kamehameha-Hawaii 41, Konawaena 6