Lunas Drop Kea`au in Cougars Opener
The rushing attack of the Lahainaluna Lunas dominated Kea`au in their 35-14 win over the Cougars at Wong Stadium Friday night.
The game was played at Wong Stadium because work continues on a new turf surface on the football field at the Kea`au High School Campus. It is expected that all of the Cougars’ home games will be played at the Hilo multi-purpose facility this season.
The Lunas opened up a lead near the end of the first quarter after a Kea`au turnover.Jared Rocha-Isalas picked off a pass from Cougar quarterback Keha Wong, and Kiki Kohler-Fonohema was able to take advantage of the miscue, scoring on a seven yard touchdown run to give the Lunas a 7-0 lead with 17 seconds left on the clock.
Shortly into the second quarter, John Lacuesta would add to the lead by pushing through the middle of the offensive line and scoring a three yard touchdown to double their lead. A few minutes later, Brandon Kaina quickly halted another Kea`au drive by tracking a deflected pass and diving at it for an interception. Three minutes later, Christian Whitehead found the end zone with a one yard run to give Lahainaluna a 21-0 lead.
Kea`au’s defense would keep their team alive with a few minutes left in the opening half. Kohler-Fonohema tried to throw a pass to a receiver on the right-side flat on an attempted screen play, but linebacker Shannon Nihipali ran right in front of the receiver and picked the pass off, running it back 57 yards for a touchdown to get the Cougars within two touchdowns at halftime.
The Lunas had another miscue early in the third quarter from punter Tytus Lucas. The senior dropped the football as he was trying to punt it away, giving the Cougars great field position inside the 30 yard line. Several plays later, backup quarterback Jared Quihano-Makaweo rushed wide to the right side of the field and dove over the goal line to score a touchdown from three yards out, getting the Cougars within a touchdown at 21-14.
It took a few minutes for the visitors to recover, but when they did, the got back to their bread and butter ground attack. Semisi Filikitonga took over the ground attack, rushing into the end zone from 45 yards away with 2:58 left in the third quarter to push the lead back to 14. Early in the fourth, Filikitonga went for a long run again, this time punching it in from 40 yards away to give Lahainaluna their 35-14 lead.
Kea`au visits Kamehameha-Hawai`i next Saturday in the second edition of the Shipman football classic.
Lahainaluna 7 14 7 7 – 35
Kea`au 0 7 7 0 – 14
1st (:17) – Lahainaluna: Kiko Kohler-Fonohema 7 yd TD run (Jared Rocha-Isalas XPT good)
2nd (9:06) – Lahainaluna: John Lacuesta 3 yd TD run (Rocha-Isalas XPT good)
2nd (4:43) – Lahainaluna: Christian Whitehead 1 yd TD run (Rocha-Isalas XPT good)
2nd (2:04) – Kea`au: Shannon Nihipali 57 yd INT return for TD (Talon Ota XPT good)
3rd (8:07) – Kea`au: Jared Quihano-Makaweo 3 yd TD run (Ota XPT good)
3rd (2:58) – Lahainaluna: Semisi Filikitonga 45 yd TD run (Rocha-Isalas XPT good)
4th (9:36) – Lahainaluna: Filikitonga 40 yd TD run (Rocha-Isalas XPT good)