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Punahou pounds Kailua
In the blink of an eye, all of Kailua's work began to slip away.
In fact, with three first-half mistakes, Kailua's labor on the ground gave Punahou's aerial attack all the opportunity it needed. Brett Kan passed for two scores by halftime, both to Miah Ostrowski, as the Buffanblu went on to a 47-14 win at the Surfriders' field.
Kan wasn't at his best, but still threw four touchdown passes with just one interception. He completed 16 of his 31 attempts for 237 yards. Ostrowski, a junior, fumbled away a big fourth-down catch deep in Kailua territory early on. He made up for it with eight receptions for 150 yards.
Punahou, ranked fifth in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, improved to 2-0 in nonconference play. Kailua slipped to 0-3 overall (0-1 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East).
"That's a good team we played. They're big, strong and they don't quit," Punahou coach Kale Ane said.
"We're pleased with the effort our kids had. Anytime you beat Kailua on their field, that's a big feat."
Punahou, using a two-back shotgun set, amassed 364 total yards against a scrappy Surfrider defense.
Kailua finished with 272 total yards. Quarterback Nathan Alvarado completed 18 of 37 attempts for 168 yards. He tallied two touchdown passes and two interceptions.
If not for mistakes, the Surfriders may have summoned enough momentum for an upset. Their first error came on the opening kickoff. Jacob Gibson fumbled the kick return, allowing Punahou's Adam Morris to recover at the Kailua 1-yard line. Ryan Nobriga bulldozed in on the next play to give the Buffanblu an early 7-0 lead.
Punahou returned the favor midway through the opening quarter when the ball got away from Kan on a shotgun snap. Kailua lineman Tanu Paleafei ran the ball back 10 yards to the Punahou 14.
Alvarado connected with Isaiah Holt on the ensuing play for a 6-yard touchdown pass. The game was tied at 7 with 5:12 to play in the first quarter.
Punahou's next two drives stalled and Kailua drove to the Buffanblu 15-yard line midway through the second quarter. The Surfriders were in position to seize the lead. However, the shotgun snap to Alvarado went skyward for a 21-yard loss and Kailua punted.
Nobriga returned the punt 49 yards to the 50-yard line, and on the next play, Kan found Ostrowski on the right sideline. The all-state basketball standout weaved through two defenders and found the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown play. Punahou led 14-7 with 2:58 left in the half.
On the ensuing kickoff, Kenny Gibson inadvertently kneeled as he took the kickoff at the Kailua 3-yard line. On the next play, the shotgun snap sailed over Alvarado's head again. This time, the ball went out of the end zone for a safety, and Punahou led 16-7 with 2:47 to go in the half.
The Buffanblu drove 57 yards in the final 34 seconds of the half for another score. Ostrowski caught an 18-yard pass from Kan on the fly with 9 seconds to go in the half. Punahou led at intermission 23-7.
"We made some adjustments to take some things away, and we got some breaks," Ane said. "We had to bring more guys into the box and try to shut down their running game."
Punahou drove 63 yards in 12 plays to open the second half. Kan found Zac Yamagishi on a slant route for a 7-yard touchdown pass to give the Buffanblu a 30-7 lead with 6:11 to go in the third quarter.
Kan's fourth touchdown pass went to Nobriga, who snuck out of the backfield to the right pylon for a diving catch. Punahou led 37-7 with 11:45 to play in the game, and Kan was done for the night.
River Kim blasted a 35-yard field goal to increase Punahou's lead to 33 points with 7:16 remaining.
Alvarado found backup running back Keelan Gonda for an 11-yard touchdown pass on a middle screen to give Kailua its final touchdown with 3:08 left.
Punahou reserve running back Christopher Wong added a 22-yard scoring run with 1:06 to play.
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