Warriors, Menehune drop games off island

After showing a dominant ground game in Week 1, the Waimea Menehune were forced to take to the air in their second preseason matchup. Unfortunately, they, like the Kapaa Warriors, came up short on the scoreboard and fell to 1-1 on the young season.

Waimea traveled to the Big Island for a Saturday night matchup against Ka Makani of Hawaii Prep. HPA is coming off a 5-7 season in 2012, which is below the standard it has set as a top-tier Division II program, but Ka Makani showed a stout defense and clamped down on the Menehune run game for a 13-8 victory.

It was turnovers that worried Waimea head coach Kealii Aguiar in his team’s 42-0 victory in Week 1 against Anuenue. Despite the one-sided win, Coach Aguiar lamented his team’s six turnovers and said that type of performance wouldn’t cut it against other opponents. Well, the Menehune were able to correct that mistake, but their run game that produced 15.0 yards per carry in the opener was stymied at HPA. Waimea had just 79 rush yards on 34 carries (2.3 YPC).

The good news is that the circumstances forced Waimea to use their passing game, which was much more effective than it was in Week 1. Quarterback Kiliona Russell-Moe threw just three passes against Anuenue, but he went 13 for 18 for 145 yards and no interceptions against Ka Makani. Russell-Moe’s main target was all-purpose threat Acetyn Emayo, who caught six passes for 119 yards.

Running back Destin Miguel, who went off for 270 rush yards in Week 1, was held to just 15 yards on 11 carries at HPA, though he did also catch six passes and scored the team’s lone touchdown on a 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.

HPA running back Bobby Lum was the one gaining big chunks on the ground this time around. Lum carried 21 times for 167 yards and a touchdown, finally getting Ka Makani on the scoreboard in the third quarter to break the scoreless deadlock.

Waimea returns home for its final preseason game on Saturday against Woodbridge, Calif., kicking off at 7 p.m. at Hanapepe Stadium.

Though turnovers didn’t plague the Menehune, they were the undoing for the Kapaa Warriors, who suffered a 28-13 loss to Lahainaluna, Saturday on Maui. After a 56-12 win over Nanakuli in Week 1, the Warriors had a rough start against the Lunas and had a few costly miscues that put them behind the eight ball.

The Lunas jumped to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, getting on the board first with a 34-yard fumble return for a score and pushing to a three-touchdown lead on an 81-yard interception return to paydirt.

Kapaa cut out the turnovers from that point on, but the deficit was too much to overcome. Running back Leevi Bethel got Kapaa on the board with a 43-yard run in the second quarter and Turtle Kuhaulua caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Fresno Masaniai in the third to get the Warriors to within eight points at 21-13. But the Lunas pushed things back to a two-score game on a 68-yard TD run by Makoa Filikitonga.

It was the running game that kept Lahainaluna in the driver’s seat throughout. The Lunas threw just four passes in the game, but rushed 30 times for 180 yards to keep the Warriors’ high-powered attack off the field for long stretches.

Now at 1-1 on the season, Kapaa is done with its preseason slate and will open the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season against Waimea. That game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 30 at Vidinha Stadium.

• ‘My Thoughts Exactly’ appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in The Garden Island. Email David Simon your comments or questions to dsimon@thegardenisland.com. Follow David on Twitter @SimonTGI

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