HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Punahou pops Leilehua
Even back in the day, a meeting between townside Punahou and rural school Leilehua was a rarity.
Third-ranked Punahou made the first meeting between the teams in 40 years something to remember last night. Cayman Shutter threw for three touchdowns as the visiting Buffanblu rallied past seventh-ranked Leilehua 28-19 before a boisterous crowd of about 1,500 at Hugh Yoshida Stadium.
Shutter completed eight of his 14 attempts for just 96 yards, but had three touchdown passes. Kimo Makaula, rotating with Shutter, was 12-for-16 for 151 yards and one touchdown. Neither signal-caller threw an interception.
"Leilehua's a very good team. They've got a strong defense," Punahou coach Kale Ane said. "They do a lot of different things and they're athletic. Our quarterbacks played well under pressure and came through."
Two of Punahou's standouts -- linebacker-running back Manti Te'o and running back Dalton Hilliard -- did not play. Hilliard is nursing a knee injury, while Te'o simply did not play, according to one Punahou assistant coach, because nobody was willing to chance an injury on Leilehua's rugged, weather-beaten field. Te'o had a season-ending foot injury last year.
Rotating Shutter and Makaula at quarterback, the Buffanblu drove 39 yards in seven plays to paydirt. A pass interference call helped Punahou move downfield, and Shutter hit Robbie Toma on a wide receiver screen. Toma's 10-yard touchdown play gave Punahou a 7-0 lead with 28 seconds left in the first quarter.
Rotating Kaipo Kea and Kaipo DeRego, the host Mules got on the scoreboard with their third series of the game. With the help of a personal foul and a pass interference penalty against Punahou, the Mules marched 74 yards in seven plays. Kea connected with Edieson Dumlao on a corner route for a 4-yard scoring pass to tie the game at 7-all with 4:17 to go in the second quarter.
Leilehua, the leading defensive unit in the Red West in 2005 and '06, stiffened and stopped Punahou for a three and out on the ensuing possession. After Allan Macam broke four tackles for a 33-yard punt return, the Mules drove 30 yards in five plays, with help from another pass interference call. Kea missed on consecutive fade passes to Aaremy Palomares but on fourth and 7 slung a quick rope to Dumlao in the right corner for Leilehua's second touchdown. A botched snap on the PAT left the Mules ahead 13-7 with 39 seconds before intermission.
"Coach said to settle down, take what they give us," Makaula said. That is what he and the Buffanblu did from that point.
Makaula guided the Buffanblu through Leilehua territory with their first drive of the second half. Makaula capped the six-play, 54-yard march with a 37-yard play-action strike to Toma, who pulled in the pass at the 11 and sprinted to the pylon for his second touchdown. Robert Izuta's extra-point kick gave Punahou a 14-13 lead with 6:31 to go in the third quarter.
After a 35-yard punt return by Stabren Caires, the Buffanblu needed only four plays to drive 37 yards for another score. Shutter tossed a 16-yard pass to the back of the end zone, where Kameron Steinhoff waited and hauled the ball in. Punahou led 21-13 with 4:15 remaining in the third quarter.
One of the few bad throws by Kea was tipped by Dane Okamura and picked off by Nick Kido on the next series. Punahou drove 56 yards in six plays as Shutter lofted a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Ioane down the left sideline for a touchdown. Punahou led 28-13 with 6:47 remaining in the game.
Leilehua appeared content to run the clock out, but a 21-yard burst by Rico Newman sparked an 80-yard scoring drive. Kea fired another touchdown pass, a 26-yarder, to Dumlao to bring Leilehua within 28-19 with 2:27 left. The 2-point PAT pass was incomplete.
Punahou recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
"We found out later in the week that they wouldn't play," linebacker-fullback J.J. Autele said of Hilliard and Te'o. "They're big playmakers for us on offense and defense, so we had to pick it up. It's a good inspiration for us to know we can win without them."