Lunas roll in first-ever night game on campus
LAHAINA – It was euphoric, indeed surreal, to experience the first night football game played on campus in the 184-year history of Lahainaluna High School. The game itself – a 65-6 trampling of the Kea’au Cougars from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation – seemed almost secondary to the joy of the Luna Nation capacity crowd of over 3,000 under the bright lights and sunset sparkle at Sue D. Cooley Stadium.
The hopes, dreams and anticipation of the Lahainaluna ‘ohana came to fruition last Saturday night, as the Lunas hosted the Kea’au team in their preseason opener.
Lahainaluna dominated from the start, as defensive coordinator and co-head coach Bobby Watson’s unit sent the Cougars’ offense reeling on their first three possessions of the game.
The Luna D pushed the Kea’au offense backwards, and co-head coach and offensive coordinator Garret Tihada’s charges bolted into the end zone on their first three plays of the new season to stake Lahainaluna to a 21-0 lead before most of the Red Tide fans had settled into their seats.
The onslaught continued throughout the first half, as the Cougars were held to negative net yardage, the Lunas intercepted three passes (all of which led to touchdowns for the Red Tide), and the contest was played on the Kea’au side of the field for most of the first 24 minutes against the Lahainaluna first-teamers.
The half ended with the Lunas rolling to a 58-0 score.
The second half was played with the mercy rule, running clock in force the rest of the way. Against the Lahainaluna second- and third-stringers, Kea’au managed to sustain a drive of 63 yards to start the third period and scored their only points of the contest on a tipped ball, seven-yard pass play.
That would be it for the Cougars on offense, as the Luna defensive subs held firm the rest of the way, and the offense tacked on another score in the fourth quarter to leave the final tally at Lahainaluna 65 and Kea’au 6.
This week, the Lunas will travel to the Garden Isle of Kauai in what should be a much sterner test in the Kapaa Warriors of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation on Saturday night.
Kapaa is the top gun and defending champions of the KIF and a consistent participant in the Division II state playoffs.
Last season, the Warriors were eliminated from the postseason in the semifinals in a close loss to eventual state champ Iolani – over Lahainaluna – and again are the top-rated team from Kauai.
The game will surely have bearings on the D-II state seedings at the end of the regular season in November, so the Lunas will be looking to solidify their post-season rankings with a strong performance against the Warriors.