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Buffanblu bring it home


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POSTED: Saturday, December 06, 2008

Finally, one man-child met another man-child for a battle of epic proportions.

It turned out to be less than epic.

In the end, it was Punahou's Manti Te'o, relentlessly chasing Leilehua's Andrew Manley out of the pocket, who helped Punahou end a drought for the ages. The Buffanblu captured their first state football title with a resounding 38-7 win over defending champion Leilehua last night at Aloha Stadium.

Punahou had not only been without a state title, it never won a Prep Bowl title in the decades before the state tourney began in 1999.

“;This was 118 years in the making,”; said wide receiver Robby Toma, referring to the beginning of football on Punahou's campus.

“;It was a great job by our defense,”; Punahou coach Kale Ane said. “;I've been told a lot in the past week about the 118 years.”;

Toma had some extra motivation after talking with former Punahou standout Miah Ostrowski, who played on the team that lost to Kahuku in the 2005 final.

“;He said walking out of the stadium after the Kahuku loss was the worst feeling in the world. I'm glad we don't have that feeling in our stomachs.”;

One of Leilehua's playmakers paid respect to the victors.

“;Punahou is a true champion. They came ready to play,”; said Leilehua wide receiver Edieson Dumlao, who was limited to 45 receiving yards. “;We had a hard time on offense.”;

Te'o's storied career — he was named Gatorade player of the year in Hawaii, then national Butkus Award winner yesterday — lacked only a state championship. Manley, who rose out of the JV ranks last year to lead Leilehua to five straight wins and a title, looked almost human this time.

Mina Gould had a team-high 10 tackles and Te'o finished with eight, along with a forced fumble and a pass deflection. Leilehua mustered just 211 total yards in offense.

Four first-half sacks, including two by Te'o, set the tone for Punahou's defense. Manley threw four interceptions — two to Sean McFadden — in his roughest performance of the season.

“;We felt we could get pressure with three (pass rushers) and let Manti go free and shoot in,”; Brian Suite said.

With a sea of Buffanblu blanketing the field, Leilehua tried, but failed to get a consistent running game going. Punahou, which permitted only 2.3 yards per carry all season, limited Leilehua to 6 rushing yards (0.4 per attempt).

Coach Kale Ane and the top-seeded Buffanblu (12-1) became the first ILH champions to win the state title since 2004.

Leilehua (11-3) saw its normally prolific passing game struggle. The Mules averaged 295 passing yards in their previous four games.

Cayman Shutter directed the Buffanblu offense to 518 total yards. The senior finished with 400 passing yards (24-for-41) with two touchdowns and two picks.

Dalton Hilliard and Toma were the focus of Leilehua's defense, but still came up big. Hilliard rushed for 98 yards and caught five passes for 59 more.

Toma had seven receptions for 147 yards despite double coverage, but it was Mark Silverstein who had a career night. The 6-foot-3 senior had nine catches for 146 yards.

“;I could tell Leilehua did their homework,”; Shutter said. “;They pressed Robby and put a safety over the top of him. We had to adjust, and that's why players like Mark stepped up.”;

Silverstein knew his chance would come.

“;All week, my coaches and teammates said I'd be the X factor,”; he said.

For most of the first half, the Buffanblu were almost without fail. They put up three touchdowns in clinic-like fashion in their first five possessions.

Leilehua was dealt a tough blow when starting defensive back Kaipo Ke-a was injured on the game-opening kickoff. Punahou drove 61 yards in just four plays with a 48-yard play from Shutter to Toma, and capped it off with a 28-yard touchdown strike from Shutter to Silverstein.

Silverstein, who lined up at tight end in a single-back, two-tight set, scored on a post route to give Punahou a 7-0 lead with 11:05 to go in the opening quarter.

Leilehua turned the ball over — Manley fumbled on a bootleg and threw a pick at midfield — and Punahou cashed in. Suite's pick set up a 43-yard scoring drive. Silverstein hauled in a 31-yard pass over the middle and Shutter scrambled for a touchdown, leaping through defenders at the goal line for a 6-yard touchdown. The Buffanblu led 14-0 with 3:33 to go in the first.

The Buffanblu went away from the pistol formation to the shotgun for their next score. Hilliard followed 255-pound Jonathan Sani Fuimoano and fullback Alaka'i Aglipay off right tackle for a 38-yard scoring jaunt with 11:08 left in the second quarter.

After sitting back with defenders in coverage, Punahou began to blitz heavily and sacked Manley four times. Leilehua finally answered with a touchdown drive in the final 2:11 of the half. Manley connected with Rico Newman out of the backfield on a 5-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the half.

Robert Izuta's 29-yard field goal pushed Punahou's lead to 24-7 with 6:33 to play in the third quarter. Later, Shutter hit Toma for a 15-yard score and Galen Arakawa raced in for a 7-yard touchdown run.

  At Aloha Stadium

                                                                                                                                           
Leilehua (11-3)07007
Punahou (12-1)14731438

Pun—Mark Silverstein 28 pass from Cayman Shutter (Robert Izuta kick)

Pun—Shutter 6 run (Izuta kick)

Pun—Dalton Hilliard 38 run (Izuta kick)

Lei—Rico Newman 5 pass from Andrew Manley (Maika Kunioka kick)

Pun—FG Izuta 33

Pun—Robby Toma 15 pass from Shutter (Izuta kick)

Pun—Galen Arakawa 7 run (Izuta kick)

  RUSHINGLeilehua: Newman 3-15, Marcus Breakfield 1-11, Blaine Furtado 1-6, Austin Schmidt 4-4, Greg Frazier 1-0, Cheves Aberilla-Ramento 1-(-9), Manley 6-(-21). Punahou: Hilliard 17-98, Arakawa 1-7, Toma 1-4, Stabren Caires 4-4, Shutter 5-4, Manti Te'o 3-1.

PASSINGLeilehua: Manley 30-54-4-205, Newman 1-1-0-(-1). Punahou: Shutter 24-41-2-400.

RECEIVINGLeilehua: Edieson Dumlao 9-45, Newman 7-44, Aberilla-Ramento 4-47, Kaimana Akagi 3-26, Frazier 3-5, Matt Reyes 2-29, Furtado 2-9, Manley 1-(-1). Punahou: Silverstein 9-146, Toma 7-147, Hilliard 5-59, Kimo Makaula 3-48. A—25,571