Lahainaluna Upsets Maui High 17-7 at Home on Senior Night
By Rodney S. Yap
The Lahainaluna High School football team got great support from key underclassmen on “Senior Night” Saturday, upsetting Maui High 17-7 at Sue Cooley Stadium.
Junior two-way performer Donovan Defang score on a 16-yard run with 7 minutes, 10 seconds to play. The score, which broke open a 7-7 deadlock, was set up by the second interception of the night by sophomore Siale Hafoka, whose 29-yard return helped the Lunas start the drive at the Sabers’ 22-yard line.
Turns out the score was the first touchdown Maui High’s defense has allowed since Aug. 20. It was also one of the longest plays from scrimmage for the Lunas all night.
The loss is Maui High’s first in the Maui Interscholastic League this year. The Sabers (1-1, 5-1) are scheduled to play Baldwin, which could clinch the D-I second-round crown with a win on Saturday.
Saturday’s win means Lahainaluna (3-4 MIL overall, 2-1 second round) can force a playoff with Kamehameha Maui for the league’s lone D-II state berth by beating King Kekaulike on Friday.
Lahainaluna’s Haaheo Au kicked a 33-yard field goal with 1:51 left for the final points after the Lunas’ defense forced a three-and-out.
The Lunas had five takeaways, including a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown by J.D. Rasario in the first quarter to tie the score.
Hafoka’s first interception thwarted a drive inside Lunas territory late in the third quarter.
Maui High finished with 180 yards of offense. Lahainaluna managed 116 yards.
Lahainaluna defensive lineman Nau Filiai was one of the Lunas many seniors who played well. Filial had three sacks of Maui High quarterback Austin Hoe and also made an outstanding play on a punt early in the fourth quarter when the snap sailed over his head. He ran back to field the ball more than 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage and managed to get a 13-yard net punt off under a heavy rush, forcing the Sabers to start at their own 40 instead of deep in Lunas territory.
The Sabers offense showed no signs of rust early on, jumping ahead 7-0 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Hoe less than two minutes into the game. Hoe’s score capped a 50-yard drive that took just four plays, including a 47-yard pass from Hoe to Justine Dancel.
Soane Vaohea, the MIL’s leading rusher, sat out the first quarter and was limited to 28 yards on 12 carries.
Saturday’s MIL Scoring Summary
LUNAS 17, SABERS 7
At Sue Cooley Stadium
Maui High 7 0 0 0—7
Lahainaluna 7 0 0 10—17
MH—Austin Hoe 2 run (Chevee Freitas kick), 10:16.
LH—J.D. Rosario 40 interception return (Haaheo Au kick), 6:40.
LL—Donovan Defang 16 run (Au kick), 7:10.
LL—FG Au 33, 1:51.
Junior varsity: Maui High 27, Lahainaluna 19.
* Note: All individual and team statistics complied by Robert Collias of The Maui News.