Lunas clinch D II championship, Warriors shut out


Warriors linebacker Kamaka Keawekane pursues a sack of Lahaina quarterback Jacob Kenolio-Dusenberry in their game on Saturday, Oct. 15, at War Memorial Stadium. The Maui Interscholastic League Division II championship was on the line. The Lunas took the game and the title, winning 26-0.

By Reid Cairme, staff writer

The Kamehameha Maui Warriors went toe-to-toe with Lahainaluna High School last night, Oct. 15, at War Memorial Stadium. The Warriors hoped for a win, which would force a playoff, but the Lunas came out as the Division II champions, winning 26-0 with their consistent performance on the ground and ability to capitalize on Warrior turnovers.

Fans in the stand speculated about the impact of missing and injured Kamehameha players: Cabanas, Bal, Thibodeaux, and later, Yap and Nauka were all either on the disabled list or, in the case of Thibodeaux, out of town on athletic business. These are names that Warrior fans are used to hearing over the loudspeakers, some of the most consistent playmakers on the KS Maui team.

“It was a serious blow,” quarterback Ryan Graham said. “Everyone was hurt, but we worked hard through it. It’s like what Coach Dustin [Cabico] says, `If you’re hurt, you can still play. It’s when you’re injured to where you can’t get up or move, then you can’t play.”

The Lunas started quarter one with an onside kick to try to throw the Warriors off, and they succeeded regaining possession on the first play of the game. The Warriors held a good defensive line, keeping the Lunas scoreless the entire quarter until the end, when the Lunas blocked a kick by the Warriors, putting Lahaina in good scoring position for the second quarter.

With the Lunas already in a favorable position, they scored a touchdown just 55 seconds into the second quarter. They  missed the extra point kick, leaving them with a score of 6-0.

With less than five minutes on the clock, quarterback Kala’i Yap fumbled on a keep. The Lunas recovered the ball and scored after a 60-yard run. The Warriors blocked the kick for the extra point, and the quarter ended with a score of 12 to nothing.

The Warriors returned from halftime ready to compete with junior Ryan Graham calling plays, and Yap absent from the field for the first half of the quarter. When he returned to the sidelines, Yap said, “It was the same illness that I’ve been going through since last week. I went into the locker room feeling dizzy and nauseated.”

The Warriors continued the game seamlessly, and under the leadership of defensive captain Ken Kanemitsu, they kept the Lunas scoreless again with a return of the strong defensive work seen in quarter 1. But the third quarter was full of penalties for both teams.

Four minutes into the fourth quarter, the Lunas scored, this time earning the extra point for the kick, changing the score to 19-0. With less than three minutes on the clock, the Lunas pushed in for another touchdown, and a score of 25-0, when the unsuccessful point after attempt hit the right upright.

With less than a minute left, Graham fumbled the snap, the Lunas recovered and wound down the clock securing their place as MIL Division II champions, with the Warriors coming in second.

Though there were multiple players missing, Head Coach Kevin O’Brien thought that the Warriors still had opportunities in tonight’s game. “I think it [the missing players] had some effect on us today, but it’s still no excuse,” he said. “This is football, and that happens. It gives other players a chance to rise up to meet the challenge. That’s why football is such a great sport; it teaches you about life.”