Friday, November 18, 2011

2011 HHSAA DIVISION II FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: LAHAINALUNA 23, Konawaena 6 - November 12, 2011

Lahainaluna took care of business and came away with a 23-6 win over the visiting Wildcats of Konawaena in the opening round of the 2011 HHSAA Division II football playoffs before a modest crowd at War Memorial Stadium.

You knew it was going to be the Lunas' night when it was Konawaena's turn to sign their alma mater and all the crowd was met with was silence . . . awkward silence . . . and a bewildered team wondering "What's an alma mater?"

Without the band at the stadium, the Lunas showed the visiting Wildcats what school pride, being Hawaiian and being the oldest school west of the Rocky Mountains was all about. The team sang the alma mater a capella. Led by junior captain Tytus Lucas, the team performed a chicken-skin inducing and inspiring rendition of the alma mater. Way way better than the sorry excuse of an alma mater they sang against King Kekaulike at Lahainaluna's home field earlier this season. Well done, boys!

Despite potentially costly distractions (i.e, missing buses, no ride to the game from Lahaina, scrambling for transportation), the team remained focused. Defense was the theme for the night – and the defense became the Lunas best offense. The offense continued to struggle – for every positive gain, there were two or three setbacks – tackled in the backfield, penalties, miscommunication. The Lunas’ in all came up with seven momentum-killing interceptions, four in the first half, against a Konawaena team that was an offensive juggernaut in the BIIF.

 Just before the half, the Wildcats Michael Andrade had one of the most dominating performances by a defensive lineman. The Lunas' O-line failed to make any adjustments to him and he ran into the backfield untouched on three straight plays, stopping the Lunas for spectacular losses each time. Despite that, the Lunas went into the half up 14-6.

Credit to the Lunas' coaching staff for making the necessary adjustments. They made sure the O-line focused on Andrade. They continued to lock down the defensive backfield. And the Lunas, after a great punt by Kenolio-Dusenberry, pinned the Wildcats deep in their own territory. Mark Ventura took advantage, getting to Konawaena's quarterback in the endzone with Feleti Taufa finishing him off to earn the 2-point safety to make the score 16-6.

After Tytus Lucas' incredible shoe string interception, the Lunas worked to run time off the clock. With under a minute left, the Lunas were knocking on Konawaena's door and on 4th down, the Lunas' Jared Rocha scored to make it 23-6.

 Game over! Lunas win! The Lunas travel to Oahu to take on OIA power Waipahu Marauders in the semifinals of the HHSAA Division II Football playoffs.

For Maui News article, click here.

For stats of the game, click here.

For more photos of the game, click here.

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