Lahainaluna Wins D-II With Defense, Hosts Kaimuki Next
By Rodney S. Yap
At Lahainaluna High School, defense wins championships.
Saturday night the school’s football team rode the coattails of its defensive unit to claim yet another Maui Interscholastic League Division II championship, sneaking by a stubborn Kamehameha Maui team 14-10 at War Memorial Stadium.
The playoff victory means the Lunas have qualified to play in their ninth consecutive Division II state tournament, hosting Kaimuki in a state quarterfinal on Saturday, Nov. 7 at Sue Cooley Stadium, beginning at 7 p.m.
Lahainaluna closed out the MIL season 5-4, while Kamehameha Maui ended its season 3-6.
The Lunas’ defense came up with big plays when they needed to, intercepting a pass to open the scoring and then another one in the closing minutes to seal the win.
Lahainaluna jumped ahead of the Warriors less than three minutes into the game when defensive back Elijah Ragudo picked off a pass in the flat and returned it 22 yards for the game’s first points.
Safety Donovan Defang came up with the second interception at the Lunas’ 7-yard line on fourth-and-10 with 2 minutes, 24 seconds left to play in the game. Defang, normally a two-way starter, sat out the first quarter and did not enter the game until 5:10 left before halftime.
Lahainaluna watched Kamehameha Maui cut into its 14-0 halftime lead with a touchdown and a field goal off of two Luna fumbles in the third quarter.
Top-seeded Kapaa of Kauai will host the winner of Lahainaluna and Kaimuki on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Vidinha Stadium, and No. 2 Redford will play the winner of Konawaena and Damien on Saturday, Nov. 14, at Roosevelt High School.
The Division II state championship game is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 20, at Aloha Stadium, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
LUNAS 14, WARRIORS 10
At War Memorial Stadium
Kamehameha Maui 0 0 10 0—10
Lahainaluna 14 0 0 0—14
LH—Elijah Ragudo 22 interception return (Haaheo Au kick), 9:18.
LH—David Kawabata 2 run (Au kick), 2:07.
KS—Maikaike English 13 pass from Kainoa Sanchez (Kealaula Keliikoa kick), 7:17.
KS—FG Keliikoa 30, 5:52.
* Note: All individual and team statistics complied by Rob Collias of The Maui News.