Bears Roll Over Sabers, Face Lahainaluna Saturday
By Rodney S. Yap
The only thing Baldwin High School quarterback Keelan Ewaliko didn’t do Friday night at War Memorial Stadium . . . was sell popcorn at halftime.
Good thing, because Maui High may have struggled to contain Ewaliko’s humongous play-making ability, but the Sabers did dominate the playing field at halftime — with their acclaimed marching band of more than 150 members strong.
The Maui Interscholastic League’s two-time offensive player of the year has not skipped a beat since returning from a broken-rib early in the year. The triggerman in Baldwin’s spread offense, Ewaliko’s total yards per game average of 232 for 2012 is up 35 yards from his career average of 197 yards per game.
But it’s Ewaliko ability to score — from literally anywhere on the field — that makes him so valuable to Baldwin and so dangerous to opponents. The 6-foot, 180-pounder ran for three touchdowns and threw for another to help Baldwin defeat Maui High, 49-17, before a First Friday crowd of about 1,500.
The game was the MIL second-round opener for the Bears, who are 4-1 overall and now one win away from clinching a Division I state tournament berth. Maui High fell to 0-2 in the second round and 2-4 overall.
Over the last three weeks, the Sabers have seen its 58-player roster dwindle to the 33 who suited up Friday. Rules violations, injuries and grades have chipped away at the Sabers’ armor, which appeared shiny and promising when the season started.
After Baldwin built a two-touchdown advantage midway through the first quarter, the game took on a “practice” feel as Maui High worked on its run game with freshman sensation Soane Vaohea, and the Bears figured to work on their passing game.
It made sense since Maui High was dealing with issues at quarterback as junior Kealii Guzman was making his first varsity start. With unbeaten Lahainaluna (5-0) coming to town Saturday to celebrate its homecoming, the Bears are looking to do something that no other team in the MIL has yet to do against the Lunas — score.
The Bears are without the sure hands of Ryan Garces, the MIL’s leading receiver, who suffered a broken ankle against King Kekaulike two weeks ago. Ewaliko appeared to audition all others, throwing to six different receivers. Zacharia Coloma-Mariano caught the quarterback’s only touchdown pass, a 46 yarder that required Coloma-Mariano to slide into the open space away from the coverage as Ewaliko kept extending the play with his magical moves — in- and then out-of-the grasp of would-be tacklers. Junior Chris Kazanecki also made some big catches.
Baldwin head coach AJ Roloos, who also serves as the team’s offensive coordinator, openly opposes the punt with a passion. He was all smiles after the game as his Bears scored on seven of its first 10 possessions. Baldwin’s only punt came with just over four minutes left in the game.
Ewaliko finished with 115 yards rushing on 10 carries and threw for 173 yards, connecting on 10 of 21 pass attempts.
Vaohea sparked the Sabers’ offense with 133 yards on 20 carries. He also had an 8-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Maui High finished with 274 yards rushing.
The Sabers’ Jared Kapisi kicked a 47-yard field goal and Mario Fernandez added a 33-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds left in the game.
Baldwin’s defensive tackle Miki Fangatua, a 6-foot, 253-pound senior, didn’t need any backfield blockers to score his second touchdown of the season from 10 yards out with 3:16 to play in the second quarter.
The Bears finished with 378 yards of offense to the Sabers’ 293.
Friday’s Scoring Summary
Maui High 0 3 0 14—17
Baldwin 13 14 15 7—49
BH—Keelan Ewaliko 9 run (Zacharia Coloma-Mariano kick), 7:56.
BH—Ewaliko 7 run (kick failed), 5:40.
MH—Jared Kapisi 47 FG, 11:11.
BH—Coloma-Mariano 46 pass from Ewaliko (Coloma-Mariano kick), 10:43.
BH—Miki Fangatua 10 run (Coloma-Mariano kick), 3:16.
BH—Thad Shishido 1 run (Anthony Tafuna pass from Ewaliko), 8:23.
BH—Chris Kazanecki 23 pass from Ewaliko (Coloma-Mariano kick), 3:45.
BH—Ewaliko 25 run (Coloma-Mariano kick), 11:00.
MH—Soane Vaohea 8 run (Kapisi kick), 6:30.
MH—Mario Fernandez 33 run (Kapisi kick), 0:54.
Junior varsity-Baldwin 21, Maui High 12.