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Hawaiian punch: Punahou derails Eastlake

Posted Sunday, September 03, 2006 by Chris Chancellor

Hawaiian punch: Punahou derails Eastlake

By Chris Chancellor

SEATTLE - The Emerald City Kickoff Classic provided one of the biggest moments in state high-school football history two years ago when Bellevue ended Concord, Calif., De La Salle's 151-game win streak.

Since then, the marquee game at Qwest Field has been a disappointment to Washington state. But unlike Issaquah's blowout loss against California's Mission Viejo a year ago, Eastlake's 23-16 loss Saturday night to Hawaii's top-ranked team, Punahou, could have been different.

The Honolulu-based team lost its best wide receiver Miah Ostrowski, who had five receptions for 76 yards, with a right-ankle injury early in the second quarter. But the Buff 'N Blue did not need their biggest playmaker to capitalize on Eastlake's fourth-quarter turnovers.

A partially blocked punt by Taylor Johnson went just 10 yards, which gave Punahou possession at the Eastlake 28-yard line. Six plays later, Manti Te'o scored on a six-yard run to provide Punahou with its margin of victory.

"We just made some mistakes in the fourth quarter," Eastlake coach Gene Dales said. "It seemed like we had a penalty on every first down, which really set us back. We made too many mistakes to win."

Eastlake seemed like it was primed to tie the score when junior Ryan Robertson completed a pass to Cory Mackay down to the Punahou 34. But Mackay fumbled the ball and Punahou linebacker Adam Morris recovered it. The Wolves also turned it over on their ensuing possession when a Robertson pass was tipped for an interception. With less than two minutes remaining, the Buff 'N Blue ran out the clock to preserve the win.

It was a difficult end for Robertson, who completed 13 of 21 passes for 173 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He began alternating with Johnson, who also starts at free safety and plays a number of positions on special teams, in the first quarter and enjoyed immediate success. Robertson found Jared Fagan for a 17-yard touchdown to culminate a 60-yard drive with 45 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Johnson's extra-point was blocked to cut Punahou's lead to 7-6.

Punahou extended that lead to 9-6 when Johnson heaved the ball out of the left side of the end zone when pressured by Morris, but the Wolves tied it on a 22-yard field goal by Johnson just before halftime.

The Buff 'N Blue regained the lead, 16-9, on a six-yard run by Manti Te'o midway through the third quarter, but Eastlake used a 45-yard kickoff return by Taylor Lappano and a 50-yard run by Dane Steel on the ensuing possession to even the score. Punahou had the game's first touchdown when quarterback Brett Kan, who completed 19 of 28 passes for 223 yards, a touchdown and an interception found Zach Coronas for a 41-yard touchdown.

Chris Chancellor can be reached at (425) 453-4257 or at chris.chancellor@kcjn.com

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