Kahuku's defense swarms Kailua


POSTED: Sunday, August 30, 2009

With the ball in hand and open field ahead, a single thought shot through Veteson Sauni's mind.

“;Take it to the house.”;

When the 6-foot, 250-pound Kahuku defensive lineman completed his 79-yard odyssey to the end zone, he punctuated a smothering performance by the Red Raiders defense in a 36-0 rout of Kailua in last night's OIA Red East opener.







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Kahuku's offense couldn't generate much against a spirited Kailua defense early on. But the Red Raiders (3-0) snuffed any prospect of an upset by recovering five fumbles—including Sauni's score—and blocked three punts leading to 12 points and didn't allow a Kailua first down until midway through the third quarter.

“;We knew their (defensive) front was tough and we knew we were going to have a battle,”; Kahuku coach Reggie Torres said. “;Fortunately for us, our defense gave us great field position all night. They pressured the quarterback. They created some turnovers. They put us in good position.”;

Kahuku swarmed over a Kailua offense that struggled to hang on to the ball, as fumbles resulted in losses totaling 60 yards in the first half.

The Kailua defense held firm early on, forcing punts following the turnovers, and allowed only 17 yards until late in the second quarter.

“;I thought our defense played really well, all things considered,”; Kailua coach Gary Rosolowich said. “;Obviously we have major surgery required on the offense and we'll be drawing up new plans. Turnovers are killing us. Even if we're three and out the whole time, at least we're in a battle.”;

Despite Kailua's miscues, Kahuku could only creep ahead to a 6-0 lead on field goals of 44 and 29 yards by Cameron Mercado.

Mercado's second field goal was set up by the first of two blocked punts by Jackson Kaka. Kailua's next possession also ended with a blocked punt, this time by Johnny Tupola, in the end zone for a safety.

“;It was open so it was a good call by my special teams coaches,”; said Torres, crediting assistants Dave Teo and Keala Santiago.

After the ensuing free kick, Kahuku running back Galeai Malufau broke loose for a 37-yard run. Evan Moe then hit Lopaka Morris for an 18-yard touchdown pass, giving Kahuku a 15-0 lead at halftime.

Another Kailua fumble to open the third quarter led to Malufau's 1-yard touchdown run and Kaka's second blocked punt set up a 5-yard score by Fonoivasa Mataafa.