Sports Kaiser wins first OIA title since ’79 By Billy Hull Nov. 2, 2013 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COMKaiser’s Thomas Buntenbah-Leong turned upfield as Pearl City’s Kainoa Kahilihiwa tried to tackle him. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Kaiser was finally tested in the second half by a team from its own division. Under the bright lights and a steady downpour at Aloha Stadium, the No. 1 seed in the OIA White playoffs responded with 20 unanswered points as senior Thomas Buntenbah-Leong rushed for 154 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score late in the third quarter, to lead Kaiser to a 41-21 victory over Pearl City on Friday night. The Cougars (10-1) won the second OIA football title in school history and first since the league split its tournament into White and Red divisions in 2003. Kaiser won the OIA championship in 1979 and went on to win the Prep Bowl a week later against Kamehameha. This group of Cougars can now focus on the Division II state tournament, beginning next week, and bringing a state title home to Oahu’s East side. Kaiser will play in its first-ever state-tournament game next Saturday, hosting Konawaena as the No. 4 seed. “This was the first game, I think, where going into the fourth quarter it was close and we did a nice job of responding to the adversity,” Kaiser coach Rich Miano said. “It’s not going to be any easier moving forward, but at the same time, I’m glad we got this one under our belt.” Pearl City (7-4), which was the only OIA White team to lose by fewer than 40 to Kaiser in the regular season, tied the game at 21-all on a 27-yard touchdown run by Dominic Maneafiga midway through the third quarter. Kaiser followed with two touchdowns in 61 seconds, spurred by Buntenbah-Leong, who had 215 total yards from scrimmage. Buntenbah-Leong caught a 24-yard pass from quarterback Kahoalii Karratti and then scored on a 19-yard run on the next play to make it 27-21. MORE PHOTOS: Kaiser vs. Pearl City Three plays later, senior safety Canaan Saole blitzed Pearl City quarterback Jordan Taamu, forcing a fumble on a sack and recovering it. Buntenbah-Leong scored from 11 yards out on the very next play and Pearl City never threatened again. “I actually was kind of scared. … I didn’t know how we were going to respond,” Buntenbah-Leong said. “We did good, we didn’t hold back, we played even harder.” Saole came up with the big play, forcing Taamu into one of his two turnovers. The Pearl City quarterback threw for 216 yards and a touchdown, but couldn’t hold onto the ball as Saole plowed over the blocking back and made the clean strip on Taamu, who was looking downfield. “I’ve been watching (Arizona Cardinals rookie) Tyrann Mathieu’s highlights and yeah, that’s it,” Saole said. “Our (offense) has played awesome throughout the season and then (the defense) stepped up tonight.” The Chargers had one last shot, but Taamu’s pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-9. Pearl City went three-and-out on its final two drives as Saole and Ka‘ahekili Sua each came up with big sacks. “In order to beat these guys you’ve got to play four quarters because these guys are good,” Pearl City coach Robin Kami said. “We know we still got the state tournament, so we’re happy with that.” Pearl City will play No. 3 seed Kauai at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Vidinha Stadium on Kauai. At Aloha Stadium Pearl City (7-4) 14 0 7 0 — 21 Kaiser (10-1) 13 8 12 8 — 41 PC—Blake Cooper 2 run (kick blocked) Kais—Nic Tom 50 kickoff return (Matt Sai kick) PC—Kierren McGhee 82 pass from Jordan Taamu (Dominic Maneafiga pass from Jordan Taamu) Kais—Thomas Buntenbah-Leong 24 run (kick blocked) Kais—Fitou Fisiiahi 1 run (Buntenbah-Leong run) PC—Maneafiga 27 run (Maneafiga kick) Kais—Buntenbah-Leong 19 run (kick blocked) Kais—Buntenbah-Leong 11 run (run failed) Kais—Fisiiahi 23 run (Jeshua Bitanga run) RUSHING—Pearl City: Maneafiga 8-45, Cooper 6-14, Taamu 8-6, Reno Abero 1-2, Kristian Vaana-Kikuyama 1-1, Michael-Gjon Keopuhiwa 1-(minus 3), Travis Joe 1-(minus 4), Justin Dupio 4-(minus 5). Kaiser: Buntenbah-Leong 14-154, Fisiiahi 17-80, Kahoalii Karratti 5-18, Melvin Kahunanui 1-4, Kahi Neves 1-3, Bitanga 1-1, team 1-(minus 2). PASSING—Pearl City: Taamu 11-31-1-216. Kaiser: Karratti 10-15-1-97, Neves 2-2-0-9. RECEIVING—Pearl City: Maneafiga 3-37, Matt Dularte 3-34, McGhee 2-113, Timothy Rivera 2-12, Cooper 1-20. Kaiser: Buntenbah-Leong 5-61, Destin Moss 2-20, Justin Ikei 2-13, Alex Le 1-12, Fisiiahi 1-3, Kelsey Lewis 1-(minus 3) Previous Story No. 13 Hawaii sweeps UC Irvine in volleyball Next Story UH wins 'ugly'