HONOLULU — At the end, the early deficit proved too high a mountain to climb.
Kapaa High School’s varsity football team lost to Lahainaluna of the Maui Interscholastic League, 21-14, in the championship game of the First Hawaiian Bank State Football Championships – Division II tournament Friday at Aloha Stadium.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Kapaa got punched in the mouth and faced a two-possession deficit at halftime.
Lahainaluna first got on the board off a blocked punt.
Lunas sophomore defensive back Kupono Kahae-Ampong got his hand up to tip the punt off Warriors senior Kurt Napoleon. Junior DB Siale Hafoka got the recovery and returned the ball 23 yards to the end zone to start the second quarter.
After a Warriors three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Lahainaluna responded with a 39-yard bomb from sophomore quarterback Etuati Storer to receiver Hafoka, setting up a seven-yard run off a reverse by junior running back Kiliona Keohuloa.
Lahainaluna recorded 133 yards of net offense to Kapaa’s 56 in the first half.
Warriors senior kicker Clifton Oliver had a chance from 34 yards at less than five minutes left before halftime, but the kick hooked wide to the left.
The Warriors then started the third quarter with a costly turnover.
Opting to pass to try and get the offense going, Fonua threw and interception to Lunas junior DB Bailey Honda, who then went 55 yards to pay dirt to widen the Lunas’ lead to 21-0.
Kapaa got its first score at 6:27 in the third quarter off a one-yard run by senior Kapena Texeira. The score was set up by a 35-yard pass from junior quarterback Teili Fonua to senior receiver Gabe Keener to get deep in Lunas territory.
The Warriors again cut the deficit with a 32-yard Hail Mary pass to Keener, and the senior receiver tip-toed into the end zone for the team’s second score.
On the ensuing Lunas possession, the Warriors got three consecutive tackles for loss and stopped the run off a fake punt play to get the ball back on downs.
In the next possession, Kapaa took shots to the endzone, but ended up with three incomplete passes.
Lahainaluna was then able to run the clock down to less than 30 seconds before punting the ball back. Fonua then completed one six-yard pass to Keener, but the play stayed in-bounds and the remaining seconds ran off the clock.
Kapaa concludes its season with an 8-2 record, going 5-1 in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation regular season and 1-1 in the tournament. The Warriors totaled 245 yards of net offense — 155 passing and 90 rushing.
Fonua went 11-of-23 for 145 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Keener had six catches for 88 yards including the touchdown score. Senior running back Leighton Moniz was the Warriors’ leading rusher with 50 yards off 14 carries. Junior DB Braden Watanabe had five tackles on defense.
Lahainaluna ends its season with a 9-4 overall record en route to winning the school’s first football state title. The Lunas totaled 186 net yards offensively — 41 passing and 145 rushing.
Storer was 3-3 for 41 yards passing. Unaloto Pahulu was the team’s leading rusher with 34 yards off two carries. Hafoka had one catch for 39 yards. Senior linebacker Josaiah Sombelon-McEwen had five tackles.