HONOLULU — Punahou turned in a well-rounded effort on a scorching afternoon at Alexander Field to defeat rival Saint Louis and secure its second straight Interscholastic League of Honolulu Open Division football championship on Saturday.
Ty McCutcheon threw three touchdown passes, two of them to Astin Hange, in the 24-10 victory to sweep the season series from the proud Crusaders (4-5), who saw their season come to an end. Punahou (7-2) advanced to the four-team HHSAA tournament, where it will seek its first state Open title and first overall since 2013. The semifinals are Nov. 17 and 18 with the other three spots filled out by two-time defending champion Kahuku, Mililani and either Campbell or Kapolei.
With the ground game more or less a wash for the teams, the Buffanblu defense made life miserable for Saints quarterback Kaunaoa Kamakawiwo‘ole, who threw for 344 yards and a touchdown but was pressured constantly and sacked eight times.
“I’m surprised. I thought our offensive line (was ready),” Crusaders coach Ron Lee said. “We didn’t have much time. … A lot of it was with the confusion with the receivers and the quarterback, all that stuff. Give them a lot of credit.”
The key issue was confusion between Kamakawiwo‘ole and his receivers, including star Titan Lacaden, who caught 13 balls but only for 73 yards. Jordan Nunuha caught nine for 143 yards and Saint Louis’ only touchdown, a 7-yarder in the third quarter.
Hange caught a long pass to set up his own 1-yard snare in the second quarter, building on McCutcheon’s 8-yard TD to Zion White earlier in the period to make it 14-0 at halftime.
Hange added a 60-yard score in the fourth as he finished with five catches for 137 yards.
“We made stops, got the ball back, did some good things,” Lee said. “But we didn’t help the defense on offense. We didn’t have big plays.
“These guys will be back. They’re young, they’ll work hard. We’ll be back.”