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Aloha and Welcome to Hawaii Digital Sports photo and video presentation of the First Hawaiian HHSAA DII Football Championship Tournament Game between the Aiea Na Alii of the OIA and the Lahainaluna Lunas of the MIL.
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Aiea edges Lahainaluna to earn a date with ‘Iolani
By Chuck Cordill / Special to the Star-Bulletin
Eric Badoyen blocked an extra-point attempt late in the fourth quarter to preserve the lead, and Anae Vaa added the exclamation point with a 43-yard touchdown run from scrimmage in the final 30 seconds as Aiea beat Lahainaluna 20-12 last night at Aiea High School field in a first-round game of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division II State Football Championships.
With the victory, Na Alii (9-3) advanced to play top seed ‘Iolani on Friday at Radford.
Lahainaluna, the MIL Division II champion, finished the season with a 6-4 record.
Aiea came into the game with a more pass-oriented offense. When Chucky Kaahanui started at quarterback, it seemed Na Alii planned to counter the Luna run with their own rushing attack. The plan worked just enough to win. Both teams were plagued with drive-stymieing penalties and miscues, but when it all came down to it, Aiea managed to keep the ball longer in a tight defensive battle.
“We played each other pretty close, but Aiea kept our defense on the field too long,” said Lahainaluna co-head coach Robert Watson. “We laid it all out and played tough, but they are a big, physical team and it showed in the fourth quarter.”
Aiea head coach Wendell Say started Kaahanui as quarterback to give the offense a spark and take advantage of his running ability. The 5-foot-10 junior rushed for 67 hard-fought yards on 12 carries, but also showed he had arm strength. He finished the game completing 11 of 21 passes for 68 yards, but threw several bullets that came inches from boosting the yardage total substantially.
“When Freddy Tailiula went down for a few games this season, Chucky answered the call,” said Say. “He passed for something like 600 yards in the three games he played, but tonight you saw that he hasn’t played the position for a while and he was a little off on his timing.”
Although Lahainaluna was seeded fourth, the Lunas had to travel to Oahu because MIL Division I champion Baldwin had dibs on War Memorial Stadium for its game with Leilehua. The Lunas didn’t make travel an issue.
“We did it to ourselves by not winning the Kauai and Maui High games earlier,” said co-head coach Garret Tihada prior to the game. “We’re happy we got a four seed.”
Na Alii won the inaugural Division II championship with a victory over Damien in 2003 but have yet to return to the tourney final. The Lunas fell to ‘Iolani in the 2007 championship game and made it as far as the semifinal round in 2008.
Lahainaluna scored first, taking advantage midway through the first quarter off a bad snap fumbled by Kaahanui and recovered at the Aiea 29. The Lunas drove to the 1 and finally broke the goal line on fourth down. The PAT drifted wide right. Na Alii answered at the 5:35 mark in the second quarter when Kaahanui kept the ball and scampered 32 yards for the score to take a 7-6 lead.
AIEA 20, LAHAINALUNA 12
Lahainaluna (6-4) 6 0 0 6 — 12
Aiea (9-3) 0 8 0 13 — 20
Lah–Jostin Carbajal 1 run (kick failed)
Aiea–Chucky Kaahanui 32 run (Nicholas Hiraoka kick)
Lah–Paula Toa 27 pass from Todd Rickard Jr. (kick blocked)
Aiea–Anae Vaa 43 run (Hiraoka kick)
RUSHING–Lahainaluna: Rickard Jr. 11-31, Daven Kaina 9-24, George Chihara 2-13, Imihana Ampong 2-5, Teanu Rickard 1-2, Joseph Hildago 3-(-1), Toa 1-(-1). Aiea: Kaahanui 12-67, Vaa 8-67, Ott-Titan Salausa 6-19, Douglas Tautua 1-6.
PASSING–Lahainaluna: Rickard Jr. 7-14-2-106. Aiea: Kaahanui 11-21-1-68.
RECEIVING–Lahainaluna: Carbajal 2-17, Toa 1-27, Hildago 1-26, Zachary Corpuel 1-14, Ampong 1-13, Chihara 1-9. Aiea: Kekoa Thompson 7-35, Matt Faalele 1-22, Michael Williams 1-8, Salausa 1-3, Freddy Taliuli 1-0.