After over two years of not having a state champion in football crowned, the HHSAA tournament made its return on Friday night at Farrington’s Skippa Diaz Stadium with a Division I semifinal doubleheader.
MIL champion and Division I top seed Lahainaluna dismantled BIIF champion and No. 4 seed Konawaena 30-7 in the first semifinal. The Lunas were relentless on defense, forcing a whopping 10 turnovers, including seven interceptions.
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Blare Sylva-Viela ran for a game-high 100 yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts for Lahainaluna. He also had an interception and eight tackles, including one for loss.
In the second semifinal, the ILH champion Raiders got past the OIA champion Na Alii 21-0 despite the absence of starting quarterback Micah Hoomanawanui, who is out for the season with a broken collarbone on his non-throwing arm.
Running back Brody Bantolina, who has been carrying the load offensively for ‘Iolani all season, buoyed the Raiders with a pair of touchdowns to give the team a 14-0 halftime lead. His third score of the day gave the Raiders a 21-0 advantage with 4:58 left in the third quarter. Bantolina finished with 168 rushing yards on 29 carries. Combined with his 64-yard touchdown reception, he finished with 232 total yards of offense.
‘Iolani and Lahainaluna met in the 2014 HHSAA Division II championship game, which was won by the Raiders 31-14. However, neither have an HHSAA Division I title.
Kickoff between the Raiders and Lunas is set for 4 p.m. at Skippa Diaz Stadium on Thursday, Dec. 23. It will be part of a state championship doubleheader that is followed by the Open Division finals, who will hold their semifinals on Saturday.
The HHSAA Division II state tournament runs from Dec. 22-30.