POSTED: 8:18 p.m. HST, Nov 3, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 11:25 p.m. HST, Nov 3, 2011
A last-second goal-line stand gave Punahou a 24-17 win over Kamehameha and the ILH Division I football title on Thursday at Aloha Stadium.
The Buffanblu defense stopped Kamehameha twice from the 1-yard line in the final seconds to clinch the league crown and the ILH’s lone berth in the HHSAA Division I state tournament, which opens next week.
Kamehameha ends its season at 7-4.
Kamehameha jumped ahead in the first quarter following a turnover on Punahou's first possession. Kamehameha's Kamu Grugier-Hill sacked Punahou quarterback Larry Tuileta, forcing a fumble and Kory Rasmussen returned the loose ball to the Punahou 19.
The Warriors took four plays to reach the end zone, taking the lead on a 1-yard run by Bronson Barretto.
The Warriors appeared poised to add to the lead on their second possession. But Punahou safety Tim Kamana intercepted a pass at the Buffanblu 7 and raced 93 yards for a tying touchdown.
Punahou then moved ahead when receiver Malik Johnson caught a throw from Tuileta, broke a tackle and outran the Warriors to the corner for a 53-yard score.
Punahou stretched the lead to 17-7 on a 37-yard field goal by Kaimi Fairbairn with 2:50 left in the second quarter.
Kamehameha answered with an eight-play drive, aided by two Punahou penalties, and closed the half with a 36-yard field goal by Kanekoa Pawn-White.
Punahou forced a punt to open the third quarter and Steven Lakalaka carried the ball five times for 40 yards on an 8-play drive, pushing the Buffanblu lead to 24-10 with a 2-yard run.
Kamehameha responded with a 15-play march and Barretto scored on a 7-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Moments later, Kamehameha defensive lineman Thordan Latu recovered a fumbled snap at the Punahou 18, but the Buffanblu defense held.
Kamehameha had a final shot, taking over with 5:02 left from its 31. Powered by Barretto’s running, the Warriors moved to the Punahou 2 with 44 seconds left.
But the Buffanblu turned back two quarterback sneaks as time ran out.