Lunas return to field with 42-0 victory over Bears | News, Sports, Jobs


WAILUKU — The Red Tide from the West Side is officially back.

Lahainaluna High School’s highly anticipated return to the football field happened Saturday night at a jam-packed, emotion-filled War Memorial Stadium, and the Lunas took care of business with a dominant 42-0 win over Baldwin. 

It was the first action for the football team since the Aug. 8 wildfires devastated their community.

“It felt great playing with the team again, just getting back on the field, we’ve been waiting for this moment too long, too long,” senior running back Kaulana Tihada said after rushing for 29 yards on seven carries and recording 20 receiving yards and a touchdown on three catches. “It’s been definitely a hard time, you know, ever since that fire, but we’ve been persevering. We got to work extra hard, especially since we were behind everyone, so it means a lot to come out here and play for this whole community.”

At halftime an announcement of a donation of $10,000 to the Lahainaluna band was made — the Baldwin band played a large part in the donation and several other school bands around the island helped in the effort.

The Baldwin and Lahainaluna band met at midfield and embraced during the halftime announcement ceremony.

The Lunas led 28-0 at halftime on the strength of three touchdown passes by Lyrik Kahula — 19 yards to Kuola Watson to open the scoring, 18 yards to Avery Baybayan to make it 13-0 one play into the second quarter, and 8 yards to Tihada to push the lead to 21-0 with 4:21 left in the second quarter.

The Lunas scored their fourth touchdown on a 4-yard run by T.J. Borges with 44 seconds left before the break.

The Lunas outgained the Bears 176 yards to 31 in the first half and 238-29 for the game. 

Baybayan turned on the 35-point mercy-rule running clock on the first play of the second half with an electrifying 69-yard kickoff return, and Hoken Hironaka’s 4-yard run with 11:46 to play made it 42-0.

Baldwin coach Cody Nakamura was happy his team got to be part of the festivities. The Bears fell to 0-5 and were shut out for the fourth time.

“Chicken skin all the way through,” Nakamura said. “Great to see the Maui community out here supporting the boys’ first game. It was great to see what a great environment it was, a lot of noise and very exciting.” 

Nakamura said he hopes that his team can learn from the experience.

“I think it was an eye-opening experience for them,” Nakamura said. “Something that they haven’t been exposed to I don’t think ever for this group. So, good to kind of get that exposure, try and get them used to it so in the future if we get to turn this program around they’re there and they know what to expect.”

Lahainaluna co-head coach Dean Rickard was happy to have the first game out of the way. They play Maui High next week in a battle of two teams that are 1-0 in Maui Interscholastic League Division I play.

The game was packed to the gills with about 5,000 fans in attendance, and the media crush made it most likely the most covered MIL game ever.

“We definitely were trying to figure out which team would be coming out,” Rickard said. “Especially considering all the hype around this game and the media attention and we just wanted them to focus. We were pleased with what we saw, but at the same time there’s a lot of things that we need to fix up.”

Lahainaluna 7 21 7 7–42

Baldwin 0 0 0 0–0

First Quarter

LL–Kuola Watson 19 pass from Lyrik Kahula (Joseph Arcangel kick), 6:27.

Second Quarter

LL–Avery Baybayan 18 pass from Kahula (kick failed), 11:53.

LL–Kaulana Tihada 8 pass from Kahula (Tihada run), 4:21.

LL–T.J. Borges 4 run (Arcangel kick), 0:44.

Third Quarter

L:L–Baybayan 69 kickoff return (Arcangel kick), 11:46.

Fourth Quarter

LL–Hoken Hironaka 4 run (Arcangel kick), 7:30.

Junior varsity–Lahainaluna 14, Baldwin 9

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