Maui Warrior football begins with shutout of Nā Aliʻi
Hue Sing, Akoi are game standouts
In what should have been an even match, King Kekaulike self-destructed in Kamehameha Maui’s first game of the season, earning a whopping 19 penalties and losing 29-0 to the Warriors last night at Kanaʻiaupuni Stadium. (Update: The Maui News reported 17 penalties.)
“We just shook it off and didn’t really pay attention to it. We just played our game,” said Rusty Hue-Sing of Kamehameha Maui. Hue Sing led in tackles, putting himself in all the right places throughout the game and leading the Warriors defense.
In the first quarter, Kamehameha was moving the ball well up the field with many short pass plays.
After turning the ball over on downs in their second possession, Hue Sing and senior Siaosi Ngalu came in with back-to-back sacks of Nā Aliʻi quarterback Ryley Widell, and the Warriors got themselves into Nā Aliʻi territory.
After failing to make significant progress and into the last minute of the quarter, the Warriors brought in senior Kailoa Akoi, who scored the first points of the season with a field goal kick from the 39-yard line.
The quarter ended with the Warriors leading 3-0.
The second quarter began with the only interception of the game when King Kekaulike’s Reid Yonomine caught a pass that bounced off Kamehameha’s Chase Alexander.
Things looked promising for Na Ali’i when they followed that up with a big running play, but that was followed by a penalty, a sack, and another penalty.
When Ngalu stopped their progress near KS Maui’s 33-yard line, Na Ali’i turned the ball over with a kick that bounced into the end zone.
Then, King Kekaulike started to unravel. Their players seemed rattled and incurred nine penalties before the clock ran out on the first half, most of them for encroachment and pass interference.
On Kamehameha’s second possession in the second quarter, King Kekaulike got two offsides penalties for a loss of 30 yards and two KSM first downs, but the Warriors were unsuccessful in working the ball up the field and got stuck near the 40-yard line. Akoi attempted to score another long field goal but this kick was a low line drive and fell short of the end zone.
On the Warriors’ third possession, Nā Aliʻi incurred even more penalties, again giving up two first downs to the Warriors. Akoi was brought in again, but his kick went wide of the uprights.
Nā Aliʻi made little progress on their next possession with an incomplete pass and a sack by the Warriors’ Hue Sing, and Kamehameha took possession in great field position. They moved the ball to the half-yard line, gaining yards on two more King Kekaulike penalties.
When KS Maui was unable to close that last one and a half feet, Akoi kicked a good field goal from the six-yard line, leaving Nā Aliʻi a little less than five seconds in the half. They ran a single non-scoring play before the end of the half, and the Warriors led 6-0 going into halftime.
In the third quarter, Na Ali’i added six more penalties to their growing list. The coaches called a timeout partway through the quarter to address the issue.
“We started losing composure,” said Coach Kyle Sanches, King Kekaulike’s head coach. “There are some things we need to work out.”
The Warriors earned five penalties spread throughout the game in contrast to Nā Aliʻi’s 19.
“We try to teach the kids to be smart, to never retaliate,” said Warrior head coach, Coach Cody Nakamura. “We didn’t have any retaliation penalties so that makes us happy.”
For the second half, Kamehameha came out hard, scoring on each of their three possessions.
First, Newton combined a long pass to Keanini with a series of short drives by Colton Cabanas and Iain Armitage to get Akoi into the red zone where he kicked another good field goal, his third of the evening This brought the score to 9-0, Warriors.
At the end of their next possession, Kekaulike kicked on their fourth down. Warrior receiver Chase Alexander caught the ball and ran 30 yards to King Kekaulike’s 35-yard line.
After an incomplete pass to Keanini, Kristian Gilliland, also known as Kaʻimi, caught a long pass for a first down, and a little more than a minute after their last score, Warrior quarterback Chase Newton ran the ball up the middle and scored again.
Akoi’s point after kick was good, making the score 16-0, Warriors.
On Kamehameha’s third possession in the third quarter, King Kekaulike racked up four penalties, three of which resulted in first downs for the Warriors. Combined with a relentless ground game, this eventually put the Warriors on the Nā Aliʻi 10-yard line.
To finish up, Newton passed to Keawe Rindlisbacher in the end zone for a touchdown. Akoi’s kick was good, increasing the Warriors’ lead to 23-0.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors continued their onslaught. Newton and Armitage ran a combined 45 yards to move the ball to deep in Kekaulike’s territory. Armitage finished the drive by running the ball the last 15 yards for another Warrior touchdown. Nā Aliʻi blocked Akoi’s kick, but Kamehameha led decisively, 29-0.
In the last minutes of the game, Na Ali’i made a last scoring attempt on a field goal, but it was no good.
In the end, Kamehameha was unable to maneuver into scoring position again and walked off the field in possession of the ball with only a few seconds left in the game.
“I feel very good about tonight’s win. The first half was a little rough, but the second half was a lot better,” Coach Nakamura said. “So far, we’re taking the right steps to becoming a good team. We have to be more consistent and a little smarter.”
He also said that he was “very happy” with the way the defense came out last night, saying that they came out “huge.”
This was one of only a few varsity football shutouts in recent memory, joining the 40-0 shutout of King Kekaulike in 2010, and the 21-0 game against Maui High in 2011.
In his first year of playing football, senior kicker Kailoa Akoi shined in his role. He scored nine points in field goals and two extra points after touchdowns, and even stopped a King Kekaulike return of his own kick — being the last defender between Kekaulike and the goal.
Earlier in the day, the junior varsity team fell to Nā Aliʻi, 38-21.
See both teams back in action next weekend when they play Lāhainaluna at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday, August 31. The JV team will play at 4:30, and the varsity game will start at 7 p.m.