Saturday, August 27, 2022 | By Nick Abramo
The upward arc of the Punahou football team continued Friday night when the Buff ’N Blue left Waianae with a 52-7 victory over the Seariders.
The way the visitors performed puts them more solidly in the conversation about the state’s top echelon of teams and perhaps stamps as the favorites to win the ILH Open title.
In rising to 3-0 so far in 2022, the Buff ’N Blue were dominant in all aspects against Waianae (1-2). The points came early and often, led by savage defensive and special teams units.
And all of that positive Punahou energy, starting now for one full week, will be directed toward the North Shore. Next up is a date on Saturday at Open Division reigning state champion Kahuku (2-0).
“We’ve got Kahuku coming up, so we just gotta stay on the grind,” said Buff ’N Blue running back Ala’i Williams after scoring two touchdowns and raising his season totals to 204 yards rushing and five TDs. “We can’t let up. Starting tomorrow, we have practice already.”
Like swarming hornets, Punahou made it sting for Waianae’s big home crowd, scoring all 52 points in the first half. Fumble recoveries by Nate Kia, Alika Cavaco-Amoy and Kekai Burnett led directly to touchdowns, including Cavaco-Amoy’s 15-yard scoop and score.
Donte Utu also delivered a devastating blow to the Seariders with a 15-yard touchdown return after recovering a punt block.
“This is a necessary step for us,” Buff ’N Blue coach Nate Kia said. “We’re not looking too far ahead. Everybody anticipated the Kahuku game from the moment we scheduled it. But a big emphasis for us is to take the necessary steps that we need to improve this week.”
Punahou quarterback John-Keawe Sagapolutele had another efficient outing, going 12-for-15 for 173 yards and two TDs. Defensively, Burnett finished with two sacks.
For Waianae, coming off a loss to Kahuku, it didn’t help that starting quarterback Tarent Moniz-Babb hurt his hamstring early and missed nearly all of the game.
“For us, it was a little tough facing those two teams (the Red Raiders and Buff ’N Blue in consecutive weeks),” Seariders coach Thom Kaumeyer. said. “Those teams have a good shot at going to the championship and are among the top programs in the state. We had two or three (mistakes) on punt team. It’s one of those things that if you don’t take care of your responsibility, things can explode on you. The kids are discouraged about certain aspects. They wanted to play well in the home opener. But there’s a difference between wanting it and what the reality is. The parents want you to win right away. We’ll keep fighting.”
The Seariders will try to get on the winning track at home Friday against undefeated westside rival Kapolei (3-0).
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