For the Punahou Buffanblu, the Tuileta-to-Noa era has begun.
Larry “Tui” Tuileta made his junior-season opener a remarkable one, while Kanawai Noa made his starting debut a memorable one. Tuileta connected with the sophomore for touchdown passes of 55, 5, 44 and 40 yards — all in the first half — as No. 2-ranked Punahou walloped West Anchorage (Alaska) 48-0 Friday night at Hugh Yoshida Stadium on the Leilehua High campus.
“They’ve been doing that to our defense every day at practice,” Buffanblu coach Kale Ane said. “West has a lot of good players, but they had to play both ways.”
Noa finished with six receptions for 176 yards before taking a rest in the second half and Punahou up 34-0.
“Well, most of the time, coaches are calling the plays. A lot of our young guys are stepping up and making plays. I’m really impressed with them,” Tuileta said. “We already run a no-huddle offense, but I kind of wanted to speed up the tempo so that we can catch them off-guard while they’re getting tired at the end of the first half.”
“It’s just like practice for us. Shout out to my offensive line,” said Noa, who is 6 feet and 170 pounds. “They were good the other team, considering they were going offense to defense, each side.”
Ryan Tuiasoa, a 214-pound senior, rumbled for 88 yards on 14 carries, and pulled in a 24-yard pass in limited action.
West finished with 66 total yards, including a number of botched shotgun snaps. Two punts went for 2 and 4 yards. That helped Punahou, which missed linebacker Isaac Savaiinaea (broken wrist) and Canton Kaumatule (tendinitis).
West Anchorage came to the islands ranked No. 3 in its home state, but nine players stayed back home. Then, all four starters in the Eagles’ secondary were benched for violating team rules. That left quarterback Conor Feckley starting at cornerback for the first time. They suited up 27 players, and a starting cornerback was injured on a kickoff return.