Kapolei's Austin Healy, center, could only watch as Punahou's Zac Yamagishi outran a diving Stanton Palacpac for a third-quarter touchdown at Aloha Stadium.

Buffanblu start season
with win over Hurricanes

Big plays on both sides of the ball helped Punahou pull away from Kapolei in yesterday's interleague game at Aloha Stadium as the Buffanblu opened their season with a 35-21 victory over the Hurricanes.

Punahou quarterback Brett Kan threw for 242 yards and three scores and running back Ryan Nobriga provided balance with 89 yards and a score.

Kapolei kept pace with the Buffanblu through the first half, but Punahou took command on Kan's 76-yard connection with Colin Viloria and Dane Nishikawa's interception return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

"We came through when we needed to," Punahou coach Kale Ane said. "It was nice to see our kids make some clutch plays early in the year."

After Punahou gave the ball away on downs and an interception to start the game, the Buffanblu offense reached the end zone on three of their next four possessions to take the lead.

"A little bit of a slow start, but once we picked up some rhythm, got everything going ... everything just kind of clicked," Kan said.

Nobriga was handed the ball on 11 of 12 plays in a stretch bridging the second and third quarters, gaining 59 yards in that span.

"I was really grateful for the running game tonight," Ane said. "The kids blocked well and ran hard, it's nice to see. ... (Nobriga) gave us that spark we needed."

Punahou and Kapolei traded scores in the second quarter to go into halftime tied at 14.

The Buffanblu went ahead on their first series of the second half as Kan hit Zac Yamagishi on a slant for a 16-yard touchdown pass.

The Punahou defense held Kapolei to 32 yards in the third quarter, and the Buffanblu took control when Viloria pulled in a pass from Kan on a post pattern and outran the Hurricane defense.

The Buffanblu defense then contributed to the scoring on Nishikawa's 23-yard interception return.

"Their defense, to me, was the big difference-maker tonight," Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. "They were nice and physical. Our boys are physical, too. But you have to be physical and smart. We didn't play smart."

Kapolei closed the gap on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Brad Padayao to Aaron Santiago, with 4:19 left in the game. But the Hurricanes would get no closer.

Padayao finished with 269 passing yards and two touchdowns.

"We can't hang our heads, we have to come back strong," Hernandez said. "But I think the onus is on our defense. (Punahou) made the plays when they had to."

Punahou continues interleague play against Kailua next week before opening play in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. Kapolei opens its Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West Conference schedule at Nanakuli.

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