Warriors hang tough at Homecoming v. Bears

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Photo by Reid Cairme

Senior Makoa Medeiros makes the most of his last football game as a Kamehameha Schools Maui Warrior. The seniors toughed out their final MIL game in a 20-42 loss to the Baldwin Bears at Kana'iaupuni Stadium, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012.

Lexis Viena

The KS Maui Warriors football team came alive and showed more determination than they have at any time this year as they played their last game of the 2012 MIL season on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, at Kanaʻiaupuni Stadium.

Despite consistently strong and smart play, the Warriors lost their homecoming game against the Baldwin Bears, 20-42.

“Baldwin is tough,” Coach Kevin O’Brien said, “but our boys played hard.”

The Warriors and the Bears came out strong at the beginning of the game, keeping to the middle of the field. The Bears were stuck between a rock and a hard place with Brennon Aloy and Laʻakea Baz making several stops and keeping them above Kamehameha’s 29-yard line.

Then in their final possession of the first quarter, the Warriors took over at the Bears’ 35-yard line.

Devonte Llanes made a run to the Bears’ 20-yard line. The Bears were penalized another five yards for an inadvertent face mask violation, getting senior Makoa Medeiros close enough to run in and score the first touchdown of the game for the Warriors.

Less than a minute later, the first quarter ended in the Warriors’ favor, 7-0.

The Bears came back strong in the second quarter pushing from the Warrior 41-yard line to the 20 before being stopped 3 yards from the KS end zone by Taylor Kaʻaukai.

The Bears attempted to pass for a touchdown but it was incomplete. Instead, the Bears quarterback Keelan Ewaliko, ran into the KSM end zone, scoring a touchdown and tying the game 7-7.

The Warriors caught the return kick on their own 19 but were unable to get past the Bears due to failed runs and incomplete passes. The Bears made a 50+ yard touchdown from the Warriors kick, bringing the score to 7-14, Bears.

The Warriors took possession on the KSM 20-yard line after the punt went into the end zone. From there, quarterback Chase Newton and running back Makoa Medeiros worked the ball nearly 80 yards down to Bear territory over the course of five first downs. A short pass to senior Taylor Ka’aukai brought in the second Warrior touchdown of the night. The point after kick was blocked, putting the Warriors down by one, 13-14.

Twenty seconds later, the Bears returned the punt for a touchdown. With a minute left in the first half, the Warriors put no more points on the board, and the second quarter ended, 13-21, Bears.

Unable to capitalize on a fumble by Bears’ replacement quarterback Ryan Graham, the game continued to go against the Warriors in the third quarter as the Bears scored again and again, putting up 14 more points by quarter’s end, once on a 70-yard punt return by Ewaliko.

The start of the fourth quarter saw the Warriors held to their own red zone, and when the snap to kicker Acer Pahukoa went high, the Bears found themselves in yet another great scoring position–seven yards from the Warriors’ goal. They scored a touchdown and extra point and surged ahead, 13-42.

The Warriors returned the favor when they recovered a Bear fumble at the Bears’ 14-yard line, and with the help of a spirited Homecoming crowd, pushed into the Baldwin end zone on a successful pass to senior Billy Ayawaka. The score was 42-20 after a successful point after kick.

In the last five minutes of the game, the Warriors intercepted and kept hopes alive for another touchdown, but the Bears made an interception of their own in the last two minutes, and a few knees later, the Bears sealed up the game with a 20-42 win.

Despite the 22-point gap in the scores, it was the best performance by the Warriors this season. They cut the margin of the loss in half since their first-round game against the Bears.

“Even though we lost,” Senior Kaiea Hokoana said, “I know in our hearts that we were the victorious ones.”

Football homecoming also meant it was football senior night. Each of the seniors were presented with their families as they walked in front of the crowd before the game started, and the end of the night was filled with lei, gifts, and well wishes as the seniors posed for pictures, then hung up their cleats for the final time as Kamehameha Warrior football players.

“I’m proud and blessed to have brothers as great as this football team,” Hokoana said. “I will always cherish the memories I made after four years with them.”

“I will never forget them,” Coach O’Brien said. “I want them to know how much I appreciate them and their hard work.”

The video accompanying this article shows all the Spirit Week action that happened at halftime.