Just seven days after surviving a high-scoring shootout on the mainland, the Punahou defense bounced back in a resounding way this weekend.
On a night when the offense largely struggled — as in, five turnovers — the Buffanblu defense paved the way for a 21-0 blanking of Kamehameha at HawaiianTel FCU Field at Aloha Stadium Saturday night.
After allowing just 14 points in its first two non-league games this season, Punahou was gashed for 42 points and 566 yards of total offense by Junipero Serra (Gardena, Calif.) last week. Still, the Buffanblu won by 14 points — thanks, in large part, to a six-touchdown effort from quarterback Stephen Barber.
Well, the defense returned the favor Saturday.
Barber accounted for all five turnovers — four interceptions thrown and a fumble lost — but none of it translated to any points for the Warriors.
Punahou's defense got three takeaways of its own and despite being on the field for 64 plays, allowed just 148 yards to pitch its first shut out of the year. Of Kamehameha's 14 possessions, five ended in punts, five resulted in turnovers on downs, one was a missed field goal and the final three were interceptions.
"The defense played outstanding. It was a long trip and they persevered through a lot of adversity," Punahou coach Kale Ane said. "Kamehameha is tough — their line is outstanding, their running backs are tough — it was a battle for us, but again, we were very fortunate to get the win."
Tanner Ono registered two of the Buffanblu's three picks. His first opened the scoring at the 5:35 mark of the second quarter, and came just three plays after his teammate, placekicker Tim Horn, missed a 38-yard field goal from the left hash.
"I felt like defensively we got it going and that helped the team out," said Ono, who noted that while the statistics against Serra were not pretty, the end result was all good.
"I think our brotherhood really tightened up over the trip," Ono said.
Kaulana Makaula came down with Punahou's other interception while the quartet of Trent Shiraki, Hiram deFries-Saronitman, Tomasi Fakatoumafi and Deston Watanabe each had one sack.
The Warriors were just 3 of 16 on third-down conversions and 0 of 5 on fourth downs.
"They did a great job getting all those picks. They shut them down all day," running back Vincent Terrell said of the defense. "They put a zero up on the board against them and it was just great. They helped us out when we weren't able to do what we needed to do (offensively)."
The next test for the Buffanblu comes Saturday in the form of defending state champion Saint Louis.
"We're feeling good," Ono said. "We've just got to work hard all week and hopefully come out with a W again next week."
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