Neighbor island games highlighted tomorrow
POSTED: Friday, October 24, 2008
If there was ever a year when Lahainaluna could usurp the throne from Baldwin, this is it.
In an era of Baldwin's football dominance in the Maui Interscholastic League, only Lahainaluna has dared to challenge the Bears on an annual basis. In 2004, the Lunas won the MIL and upset Mililani 41-34 in the Division I state tournament. Since then, it's been a Bearish world.
Now, as a member of Division II, the Lunas are no less impressive. A nonconference loss to California powerhouse Edison is the lone blot on Lahainaluna's slate.
Lahainaluna (5-1, 4-0) gets its one chance to knock off perennial champ Baldwin tomorrow at War Memorial Stadium. With more experience at several positions, including quarterback, the Lunas are a small school with a big bite when it comes to football.
Lahainaluna's modified wing-T "Jet" offense will be tested by a Baldwin defense that features defensive end Mana Rosa (6-foot-2, 250 pounds), one of the MIL's most highly recruited players ever. Baldwin's defense allows just 132 total yards per game in MIL play, including just 96 on the ground.
Lunas quarterback Jake Manning is a seasoned steersman in the Jet offense and ranks second among rushers with 276 yards and five scores. Manning is averaging 10.6 yards per carry.
Bryson Williams is the fourth-leading rusher in the MIL (7.8 yards per attempt).
Baldwin's high-octane run-and-shoot offense has a different approach this fall. The Bears have employed double-tight-end sets at times, with Rosa on one side. Transfer Bula Wilhelm-Ioane has passed for 662 yards (48-for-87) and nine touchdowns with five picks. For the first time in years, the Bears have an offense that relies on the run nearly as much as the pass. Kainalu Garso leads the MIL with 351 rushing yards (8 yards per carry).
Sheldon Leong (14 receptions, 281 yards, three touchdowns) leads the Baldwin receiver corps.
Baldwin won last year's battle in overtime, 23-20—the Lunas' only loss until the D-II state final against Iolani.
Here's a look at more matchups tomorrow:
Kealakehe at Waiakea
The Waveriders (6-2, 5-0) are on a roll since losing to Kahuku in early September. Wong Stadium figures to have a muddy surface this weekend, but that fits Kealakehe and speedy quarterback Jordan Ursua perfectly. Waiakea (2-5, 2-3) lost the first-round meeting with Kealakehe 58-12, but is still alive in the second-round race.
Ka'u at Hawaii Prep
There are 119 miles of road ahead for the Trojans when they visit Ka Makani. Ka'u (0-5, 0-5) is measuring success in steps. Former player Jonathan Roddy is energizing a program that has seen hard times since the sugar mill shut down in 1996. HPA (5-1, 4-1) is 2-0 in the second round and could be on track for a D-II title showdown with Konawaena.
Kona at Honokaa, canceled
The Wildcats (9-1, 5-1 BIIF D-II) asked out of this exhibition rematch due to a plethora of injuries. This is Konawaena's first bye week since the season began. The 'Cats won the first matchup 26-16 a month ago. Because the teams play in different classifications—Honokaa (3-5, 2-4) is in D-I—- neither of the games would count in the standings.