Lunas fall to Iolani in state Division II title game
LAHAINA – The dream season for the Lahainaluna High School football program – and the West Side community as a whole – came to a crushing end last Friday night at Aloha Stadium, as Iolani prevailed in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state championship final by a score of 31-14.
The Lunas finished the season with a 10-1 record, a tenth consecutive Maui Interscholastic League title and their third state championship runner-up trophy.
It was the third time in the last six years that Lahainaluna and Iolani (9-3), the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) D-II kingpin, have met for the state championship.
Once again, it was the Red Raiders’ precision passing attack that powered the Honolulu independent school to victory. This year, they blended an effective running game to sustain long drives that led to the Lunas’ undoing.
Time after time, the Iolani offense would strike for key third and fourth down conversions with intermediate-range passes to keep the pressure on the Lahainaluna defense.
To further complicate matters for the Luna coaching staff, quarterback Sione Filikitonga had injured his throwing hand in the team’s semi-final win the previous week and were thus limited to a one- dimensional offense.
The vaunted Lahainaluna running attack gained 250 yards on the night but, without a passing threat, were unable to sustain drives and keep the Iolani offense off the field.
The celebrated final ended the high school football careers for 25 Lahainaluna seniors, including standouts Filikitonga, Connor Mowat, Scotty Medeiros Tangatailoa, Justin Hong, Jared Rocha Islas, Brandon Kaina, Peni Taufa, Danny Sulunga Kahaialii, Ryan Delatori, Ansen Cabanilla, Josten Saribay, Thomas Rosen St. John and Isaiah Biga Rogers.
Aloha and, most of all, mahalo for perpetuating the sterling standards of Lahainaluna football and the spirit and tradition of our community.