Nov. 12—Two weeks after losing to Waipahu in the OIA championship, Na Alii, without multiple key starters, handed MIL champion Lahainaluna its worst loss in the state tournament on Maui.
LAHAINA—An extra week to prepare for the state tournament is part of the reason the Aiea football team isn't done just yet.
Two weeks after losing to Waipahu in the OIA championship, Na Alii, without multiple key starters, handed MIL champion Lahainaluna its worst loss in the state tournament on Maui, 30-10, in the first round of the Division I bracket of the First Hawaiian Bank /HHSAA Football State Championships on Friday night at Sue D. Cooley Stadium.
Quarterback Ezekiel Olie, one of a number of players hurt in the loss to Waipahu, threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Kaimana Lale-Saole added 147 yards rushing and two first-quarter touchdowns to push Aiea (9-3 ) into next week's semifinal at BIIF champion Konawaena on Nov. 19.
Aiea 's Ezekiel Olie finds Rico Figueroa on third-and-goal from the 2. Huge answer by Na Alii. 27-10, :29, Q3.—Billy Hull (@billyhull )
Na Alii hadn't won a game in the state tournament since 2009.
"Lahaina is a good team, and when you watch them on film, they run a lot of things, so one week is not a lot of time to prepare, " Aiea coach Wendell Say said. "We put together all of their plays and it was a thick book. For us to practice against all of that was a lot of work, but they did a good job."
Lahainaluna (9-1 ), which had played in a state final in each of the previous five seasons, dropped to 10-4 all-time in the state tournament on Maui and lost by more than six points on Maui for the first time.
The Lunas finished with 193 total yards, but just 56 of those came on the ground in 26 attempts.
"The better team won tonight, " Lahainaluna co-head coach Dean Rickard said. "By far, they were the better team."
Aiea played without starting defensive lineman Sila Unutoa, defensive back Bishop Foumai and offensive lineman Max Rouse, and had others banged up throughout the game.
Logan Rouse, Max's brother, led the defense with five tackles for loss and a sack, and Aizik Mahuka, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior, was everywhere with six tackles and two tackles for loss.
"We watched film on them every day, so when they came out with their trick plays we were prepared, " Rouse said.
"We're equally balanced (on defense ). Everyone helps out and does their part, " Mahuka added. "We trusted our coaches to get us in our right fittings and we just played hard."
Olie, who practiced this week after getting hurt against the Marauders, led Aiea on scoring drives on three of its five possessions in the first half, with key fourth-down conversions setting up two touchdowns.
Na Alii faced fourth-and-3 on the Lunas 44 on their opening drive when Olie placed a ball on the hands of Lale-Saole out of the backfield for 8 yards to move the chains.
Two plays later, after two Lahainaluna penalties, Lale-Saole found the end zone on an 8-yard run for a 6-0 lead.
Kaimana Lale-Saole with an 8-yard TD run to cap Aiea 's opening drive. Na Alii 6, Lahainaluna 0, 9 :30, Q1.—Billy Hull (@billyhull )
"We were clicking off the start and the defense was locking down everything, " said Olie, who finished 27-for-37 passing after completing 17 of his 21 throws in the first half. "Our coaches had a great game plan and we capitalized every time."
After a three-and-out by Lahainaluna, Aiea marched 85 yards in 10 plays, with Geronimo Ulgaran making a leaping catch for 40 yards to the Lunas 1 to set up a short Lale-Saole TD run.
Geronimo Ulgaran with this ridiculous catch for 40 yards to the 1 to set up the TD. Attention :—Billy Hull (@billyhull )
A missed field goal kept Aiea off the board on its next drive, but the Na Alii defense, led by Logan Rouse's four tackles for loss in the first half, forced another three-and-out.
Aiea got the ball back and had it fourth-and-10 at the Lahaina 36 when Olie found Rico Figueroa for 12 yards.
On the next play, Jayden Chanel took a screen pass 24 yards to the end zone for a 20-0 Na Alii lead.
"That extra week gave us time to heal and we were fortunate there that (Olie ) was able to play tonight, " Say said. "Hopefully we get some more players back next week, because Kona can put up a lot of points."
The Lunas managed a field goal at the end of the half after Rouse sacked Kaulana Tihada on third-and-goal from the 5. Junior Owen Garcia-Olea booted a 30-yarder just before the half ended to make it 20-3.
Third-and-goal at the 5 and Kaulana Tihada takes the snap and is buried by Logan Rouse. Sack makes it fourth-and-goal at the 14. Monster first half for Rouse.—Billy Hull (@billyhull )
Lahainaluna had to play from behind over the final three quarters, which forced them to pass a lot more than normal.
"Looking at what they did, they hardly threw the ball. They threw it like 25 times this season, " Say said. "Shoot we do that in the first quarter. But it's never easy to prepare for Lahainaluna. That's why they're always on top over here, so that extra week really helped us."
They 've won on the mainland, won at home and now have a win on Maui and are headed to the Big Island. Aiea QB Ezekiel Olie and WR Geronimo Ulgaran after Na Alii 's 30-10 victory over Lahainaluna.—Billy Hull (@billyhull )