By: ESPN Honolulu Staff
Alexander Field roared to life on a humid Friday afternoon as Punahou played host to Millikan High School of Long Beach, Calif. What started out as a close game quickly turned into a dominating performance by the Buff ‘n Blue, ending in a convincing 51-7 win.
For most of the first quarter, Punahou (2-0) struggled to get things clicking offensively. But as junior running back Nelson Aau danced his way into the end zone with a 10-yard touchdown late in the first quarter, the energy shifted. Aau ultimately finished the game with three total rushing touchdowns, providing a huge jolt to the Punahou offense. As head coach Nate Kia enthused, “He can play running back as well as slot for us. He’s very versatile in that sense, and he’s a great changeup running back for us.”
Not to be outdone, Punahou senior receiver Astin Hange was a game-changer in his own right, electrifying the game with a 50-yard punt return in the first quarter and 89-yard kickoff return touchdown in the second quarter. Kia couldn’t help but laud Hange’s brilliance, noting, “Whenever he gets the ball, he’s electric. Whether it’s in the return game or catching the ball, the ball just has a way of finding him.”
Millikan struggled for the majority of the game, posting their lone touchdown early in the second quarter before Punahou’s momentum became unstoppable. By halftime, Punahou had secured a comfortable 35-7 lead, showcasing a mix of runs, passes, and returns that seemed to leave the Millikan defense in disarray.
Romeo Pellum, head coach for Millikan, summarized the game succinctly, noting that once Punahou “got momentum early and ran with it, we couldn’t recover from it.”
But it wasn’t just a game for Punahou, it was a statement. Kia reiterated the sentiment, stating, “Anytime we have a Mainland team come to Hawaii, no matter what school it is, we are going to play hard and represent.”
Punahou is set to face Moanalua at home next Saturday at 3 p.m., where the Buff ‘n Blue look to carry forward this winning momentum.
For Millikan, it’s a whirlwind trip, having landed on O‘ahu on Thursday and with plans to return to Long Beach by Sunday.
Photos: Jonathan Salvador
MAHALO TO THESE SPONSORS FOR PROUDLY SUPPORTING HAWAI’I HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS & HELPING TO PROVIDE US WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONTINUE TO COVER ATHLETES AND SCHOOLS HERE IN THE 808.