Fortified Bears triumph over feisty Warriors

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Photo by Reid Cairme

Senior Kala`i Yap makes a run for a touchdown. The Warriors lost their first game against the Baldwin Bears on September 15, 2012, 18-62.

Ka Leo o Nā Koa

Though the KS Maui football team was routed, 18-62, the Warriors got their licks in, making the most touchdowns so far in their 2012 MIL season. The Warriors made three touchdowns in the first half of a highly anticipated match against the Baldwin Bears.

“It’s a testament to our practices to be more successful,” Assistant Coach Lemoe Tua said.

In previous games, the Warriors scored one touchdown each against the Sabers and Nā Ali`i, with a successful field goal in that game, and they were shut out in their first game against the Lunas.

The Baldwin Bears were fortified by the return of quarterback Keelan Ewaliko, who had been on the disabled list for three weeks after a rib injury in a pre-season scrimmage against Saint Louis High School.

Both Warriors and Bears were full of spirit and energy, playing aggressively against each other from the start of the game.

The Bears quickly worked their way to the Warrior’s end zone, scoring first within minute and a half of the first quarter, but scoring for both teams went back and forth early in the game, when one team scored, the other came back with a touchdown.

“After last week’s loss [to the Lunas], we had to dig in and find the energy to win,” Baldwin Head Coach A.J. Roloos said.

The Warriors were given a break when the Bears made incomplete passes and lost 55 yards in penalties with three false starts, two personal fouls, and one for holding.

“It’s hard to get the ball away when stressed,” Coach Roloos said. “It’s been a problem all season to catch the ball.”

Senior Kala`i Yap scored the first touchdown for the Warriors with a 63-yard run with one second left in the first quarter followed by a point after kick that was no good, and the first quarter ended, 6-7, in favor of the Bears.

The Bears came back in the second quarter, scoring a touchdown 15 seconds in with an 89-yard kick return.

Senior Aydan Lopes scored a touchdown for the Warriors three minutes later. The Warriors were unsuccessful on the two-point conversion.

“We’re not invincible,” Coach Roloos said. “Anyone can score but we need to adjust.”

The Bears came back again, scoring ten seconds right after the Warriors followed by another touchdown a minute later. The score was now 27-12, with the Bears pulling away.

With 3:34 left in the first half, Senior Kala`i Yap ran in an 80-yard touchdown. Again, kicker Colton Cabanas’ extra point kick went wide, keeping the Warriors gain to 6 points.

The Bears scored another touchdown two minutes later, and the final score at the end of the second quarter was 18-34, Bears.

The seesaw action, dramatic plays, and unpredictability made it was the most exciting first half for the Maui Warriors this season.

However, during the third quarter the momentum went to the Bears.

With senior quarterback Kala`i Yap out after taking a hard hit to the helmet and Taylor Ka`aukai taken out after a hit to the shin, the Warriors’ spirit seemed to wane.

“We try to work on the mental aspect,” Coach Tua said. “Mentality has been a problem.”

The Bears made three unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter and one more in the fourth quarter.

“It’s an uphill battle,” Coach Tua said, “but we need to keep fighting.”

The Warriors have two weeks to rest and recuperate before they face the Maui High Sabers to start the second round of the season on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Kanaʻiaupuni Stadium.

If they bring the same intensity of last night’s first half, it should be an exciting game. The Warriors will be looking to even things up after losing to the Sabers by one field goal in the first round of this season.

The KS Maui junior varsity team played earlier yesterday and also lost, 6-30, to the Bears.