LIHUE – Despite five turnovers and just 128 yards of offensive production, the Maui Sabres capitalized on two costly Kaua’i Red Raider turnovers to win 14-7 Saturday in a preseason bout at Vidinha Stadium.
The Red Raiders led 7-0 heading into the second half, but two consecutive special teams fumbles turned into 14 Sabre points, and it proved to be the difference in a game featuring two sputtering offenses.
Kaua’i had just 119 yards of total offense – 100 yards passing and 19 yards rushing.
Quarterback Lei Maglinti, substituting for injured starter Kekoa Crowell, completed 7 of 23 passes for 100 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Running back Rejis Canales amassed 39 yards on 12 carries.
The Red Raiders offense was stale in the first half. Kaua’i punted five times in the inital two periods and had just three first downs.
But Maui would give them a boost.
The Sabres, shut down by Kaua’i’s defense in the first half, committed consecutive special teams fumbles to put the Red Raiders in scoring position. With six minutes remaining in the first quarter, Clarence Bilgera landed on a Maui fumble which, moments later, led to an 11-yard touchdown pass from Maglinti to receiver Ikaika Bernard.
The Raiders would get several opportunities to score following Sabre turnovers, but couldn’t get its offense to convert.
A fumble on Maui’s 7-yard line late in the first quarter blew a second chance for a Raider score, and a Maglinti interception in the red-zone with just under 1-minute to play in the second quarter kept Kaua’i’s lead at 7-0 heading into the second half.
Raider mistakes spilled into the third quarter.
Kaua’i fumbled a Maui punt in the beginning of the third period, which led to the Sabres’ first score – a three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dane Patao to receiver Timothy Larson. Moments later, a fumble on the ensuing kick-off again put Maui in position to score. Patao converted for the Sabres, on a 20-yard touchdown scramble to put Maui up 14-7.
Kaua’i’s defense played well in the loss. The Red Raiders sacked Maui quarterbacks a total six times. Kaupili Akau notched two sacks, Aren Racca had two and Canales, Marion Ibaan and Jerrick Amaki, who contributed on a sack, each added one.
The Red Raiders allowed just 73 yards of ground production.