Sunday, August 14, 2011

Preseason: LAHAINALUNA 0, PAC-5 14 (August 13, 2011)

The opening of the 2011 high school football season saw Lahainaluna fall to Pac-5 by a score of 0-14 at the "Imu" located on the campus of Lahainaluna High School. Though small in numbers and stature, the Lunas faced an opponent from Oahu that, despite not having the reputation of its other ILH members such as Iolani, Punahou, Kamehameha or St. Louis, was a very good team with a lot of size and depth. For the most part, the game was pretty well played.

The final score was not indicative of the actual game itself. Pac-5 scored early in the 1st quarter, after they returned a punt deep into Lahainaluna territory, cashing in with a touchdown pass to make it 7-0. Pac-5 scored its final points with a touchdown in the waning moments of the 4th quarter. In between those Pac-5 scores, it was anybody's ball game. as Lahainaluna could have (and should have) won this game due to numerous missed scoring opportunities in the red zone. Pac-5's special teams (punting) had some issues. They had a punt blocked and one that went over the head of the punter and was  downed deep in Pac-5 territory. Unfortunately, 2 missed field goals and untimely fumbles prevented Lahainaluna from getting on the scoreboard. Still a lot of things to work on, but fortunately this is pre-season.

Feleti Taufa had a great game on both sides of the line. I think he had a couple of sacks. Tytus Lucas had several effective runs and was hitting 'em hard on defense. Kiko Fonohema did a good job in his debut as starting quarterback. Connor Mowat did well as a freshman starting center. Reece Sinenci held his own despite being somewhat undersized compared to Pac-5's O-line, but got a couple of tackles for loss. Mark Alamon is like a Timex watch - he took some licks but kept on ticking, including a vicious blind side hit on a kick return, but each time he got up immediately and played on. All in all an admirable effort.

#11 Kiko Fonohema

#32 Tytus Lucas

#44 Bronson Kaina

#10 Mark Alamon

Clutch grab by #84 Kaena Felicilda

#55 Feleti Taufa

When I left Wailuku that morning for Lahaina, it was actually raining and overcast in Wailuku. But upon arriving in Lahaina, it was its usually blazing hot and sunny self. And of course, the sight of Walter Chihara's truck as I drove up Lahainaluna Road reminded me that Lahaina is all about the Lunas.

Realizing that the Lunas would only get to play 3 home games this year, all within the next 3 weeks, I decided to bring both of my DSLRs and take as much shots as I could. On my D7000, I sported my "Bigma" lens - a Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 lens that I love to use in daylight outdoor situations. On my trusty Nikon D90, I had my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 ultra wide angle lens. With this one, I could catch interesting shots like this:

As my custom, I stationed myself at various locations to get shots of the players during warm-ups. This is typically the best opportunity to get one-on-one close up shots of the players because during game time, there is just too much going on an many other players on the field to really get an isolated shot of the player.

It was blazing hot in Lahaina.

I also like to focus on players whose parents are friends of mine. I did not have a roster, so I had no idea who was who. I did get the number of the sons of two of my high school classmates (Fred Sinenci, father of Reece Sinenci #52 and Surfi Mowat, mother of Connor Mowat #54). So if you notice an inordinate amount of shots of #52 and #54 in my album, now you know why!

Reece Sinenci

Connor Mowat

The scoreboard was not working at all during the game. Luckily it was a low scoring affair - otherwise I would've run out of fingers and toes to keep score.The players and officials did their best, but it was tough to work on clock management and/or 2 minute offenses when there is no clock to manage! The lack of a scoreboard did mar the end of the game, as Lahainaluna drove deep into Pac-5 territory after some nifty passes by Kiko Fonohema to Mark Alamon, Jonah Reyes and a nice shoulder grab by Kaena Felicilda on what turned out to be the last meaningful play of the game. Kiko went up to the line of scrimmage to spike the ball. Unfortunately, there was like 1 second left. They had no timeouts and they were not able to make one more attempt to score. It didn't matter, though, as the score was 0-14 at the time.

Got to chat with some fellow photographers  on the sideline, including Denton Johnson of Imua Lunas, Amanda Cowan of the Maui News, Mr. Fillazar and Rodney Yap, former Maui News sports reporter and currently involved with Hisportsfolio and the Maui Football Combine. It was fun talking to Rodney - the guy knows his football happenings around the state and on Maui. It was cool of him to wear Lahainaluna red!

Despite the loss, it is still preseason. These games don't count in terms of  whether or not Lahainaluna can win Division II champs. Put this one away, learn from it and move on. Next week's opponent: Keeau of the Big Island, 1:30pm at Lahainaluna field.

The Maui News article and boxscore on the game can be found here.

My game photos and pregame photos.

Here's a video of the opening kick-off for the second half.

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