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Punahou takes final step, wins state D-I football title

By Jason Kaneshiro

LAST UPDATED: 1:39 a.m. HST, Nov 24, 2013

Punahou quarterback Larry Tuileta threw three touchdown passes and the Buffanblu held off a furious Mililani comeback to capture the program's second state title with a 28-22 win in the Division I final of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.

Tuileta threw for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the first half to send Punahou into halftime with a 21-8 lead, and the Buffanblu (11-0) survived a fourth-quarter rally after the Trojans (12-2) cut a 20-point lead to six with 3:53 left in the game.

Tuileta completed his high school career with his first state title after the Buffanblu fell short in the title game the previous two seasons.

He connected with Trent Sitar, Kanawai Noa and Dakota Torres for a 21-0 lead.

Mililani quarterback McKenzie Milton's 6-yard fade pass to Kalakaua Timoteo got the Trojans on the scoreboard with 16 seconds left in the first half. A 2-point conversion sent Mililani into halftime trailing 21-8.

Punahou running back Wayne Taulapapa extended the lead to 28-8 with a 1-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Mililani responded with trickery as receiver Kainoa Wilson took a handoff, pulled up and fired a 36-yard TD pass to Bronson Ramos with 10:45 left in the game.

After an interception by Jayson Cardines, the Trojans called the same play with the same result, this time Wilson hitting Ramos for a 62-yard strike to bring Mililani within six with 3:53 left.

Mililani stopped the Buffanblu to regain possession at the Trojans 46 with two minutes remaining. But Milton's pass on fourth-and-16 was intercepted by Joseph Augafa.

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