Not wanting to extend the drama any longer than necessary, Punahou wrapped up the ILH Division I title with a week to spare.
The second-ranked Buffanblu retained the crown and earned the ILH’s lone berth in the Division I state tournament by turning a tight game into a 38-0 rout of No. 7 Saint Louis Friday night at Aloha Stadium.
“It’s a stressful season any time in the ILH,” Punahou head coach Kale Ane said. “The teams are so evenly matched. To get to the states is a huge accomplishment.”
Punahou quarterback Larry Tuileta threw four touchdown passes, three coming in the second half as the Buffanblu pulled away from the Crusaders and clinched a second straight trip to the state tournament.
The Punahou defense did its part in defending the league title by completing the shutout as the Buffanblu improved to 6-0 in ILH play and 7-1 overall. Punahou closes the regular season against Kamehameha on Thursday.
“The kids played awesome and the coaches did a great job preparing us,”Ane said.
Saint Louis closed Matt Wright’s first season as head coach at 4-3 in the ILH and 5-5 overall.
Punahou played without big-play receiver Kanawai Noa due to an ankle injury. But the Buffanblu still had ample firepower with Tuileta completing passes to six different receivers.
Tuileta used the short passing game to move the chains, and completed five passes to running back Ryan Tuiasoa for 79 yards and a score. Tight end Dakota Torres also caught five passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns.