The Lunas final preseason opponent, the Mt. Douglas Rams of Victoria, British Columbia came into the game with a very accomplished history. They were two-time AAA champs. They featured a running back, Marcus Davis, who was All-B.C. in his junior year. Several members of the team were part of an All-B.C. squad that defeated an all-star team from the U.S. made up of players just below the elite U.S. Army/Under Armour All-American teams. Word around town was that the Rams only had one player under 6 feet tall and their QB was 6'7". For more on the Rams, Rodney Yap of MauiNow.com did a very nice pregame report on them.
Uncertainty began to set it as to whether our boys from Lahainaluna would be able to hold their own against this team. For me, I was just hoping none of our players would suffer any injuries and jeopardize our MIL regular season. It was good to see that almost all of the players that were in street clothes last week were suited up for the game. It was good to see Justin Hong and Peni Taufa back in Lahainaluna uniforms, although they were not suited up for the game.
Our collective worries were assuaged quickly - again, like against Kapaa, on the first defensive series when the Lunas force a fumble deep in Rams' territory. Suddenly the Rams realized they were in for a good game.
|The Lunas' Ku'u Palea lays a hit on the Rams' ball carrier as the ball bounces from their grasp. Kiko Fonohema alertly picks up the loose ball giving the Lunas possession.|
The Lunas were stifled on the ensuing offensive series as QB Sione Filikitonga got tackled for big losses in the backfield. The Lunas were unable to score, but neither did the Rams on their next possession, although they had a chance with a pass drop in the end zone.
A long run by Christian Whitehead got the ball into Rams' territory and an electrifying run up the middle by Filikitonga put the Lunas up on the scoreboard for a 7-0 lead.
|Christian Whitehead breaks free for a long gain.|
|Sione Filikitonga celebrates after his TD run|
The Lunas' smaller but faster defensive front of Hercules Mataafa, Connor Mowat, Brandon Kaina and Solomone Loketi wreaked havoc in the Rams' backfield. Solid coverage by linebackers Bronson Kaina, Jared Rocha and Whitehead helped to contain the Rams' Marcus Davis. The Lunas believed they could win this, while self-doubt began to creep into the Rams' collective psyche.
|Hercules Mata'afa (50) and Connor Mowat (54) put the squeeze on the Ram's QB.|
|Bronson Kaina puts the pressure on the QB, forcing a hurried pass that is intercepted by Sione Filikitonga.|
|Brandon Kaina says "Welcome to Lahainaluna Football" to his Canadian counterpart.|
|Connor Mowat grabs a hold of the Ram ball carrier and brings him down by the shirt-tail.|
|Ram defenders did whatever they could to try to slow down Hercules Mataafa.|
|Welcome back Justin Hong|
|Ekolu Chang (33) looks for daylight|
|Four Ram defenders think they have Christian Whitehead (17) wrapped up, but they are dead wrong as Whitehead spins away for another long gain.|
|Lunas cheerleader Karen Galuardo leads the Lunas faithful.|
|Lahainaluna Boarders came out in full force.|
The Lunas were able to sit on the ball and put in almost all of their reserves to pull out the 28-0 win. When the Rams threated to score late in the 4th quarter, Coach Watson put the defensive starters back in and shut them down to preserve the shutout.
|Kaimana Ancog (7) follows the blocking of OL Danny Sulunga-Kahaialii (77)|
|Freshmen David Kawabata|
|Lunas gang-tackling make sure that Marcus Davis is down.|
This series of photos show that the Lunas play the game the right away. In a nice display of sportsmanship, Mone Loketi (57) and Bronson Kaina (44) help up the Rams' QB after sacking him for a loss.
|Loa Puteni (66) and Hercules Mataafa (50)|
|One of the best defenses in the State: L to R: Hercules Mataafa, Bronson Kaina, Scott Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa, Jared Rocha, Brandon Kaina, Connor Mowat, Solomone Loketi, Jared Purdy, Sione Filkitonga (not pictured: Kaimana Ancog and Kiko Fonohema)|
The Rams in the second half looked defeated and worn down. Perhaps it was the heat and humidity. More likely, it was the relentless pressure put on them by the Lunas offense and defense. As Rams Coach Mark Townsend was quoted in a B.C. Blog written by Howard Tsumura, "This was the best varsity team we have ever played."
|Padawans Past and Future: Jake Ryan shares his photography tips with Hercules Mataafa as Joan Johnson listens in.|