Kealakehe got its first, and only taste of preseason action against Maui High School at War Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
Both teams had their share of miscues, but the Waveriders never got anything rolling on offense and could not contain the Sabers’ powerful running game, falling 28-7 to the Maui Interscholastic League opponent.
Maui threw the ball only twice the entire game, but racked up nearly 300 yards on the ground.
Kealakehe took a first-quarter lead on a 25-yard pass from quarterback Sequoia Aiona to Kaimi Wilson. Wilson battled through solid coverage from Maui defender Nathan Vierra and snatched the ball.
Ari Mench added the extra point to put Kealakehe up 7-0, but the lead did not last long. Maui’s Tyson Takabayashi returned the kickoff to the Kealakehe side of the field, and finished the drive with a 16-yard scamper into the end zone.
With the game tied, the teams traded field position for most of the second quarter, and Maui took its first lead of the game with a 6-yard run by Daniel Kelley with 2:40 remaining. The extra point was missed.
Maui started the second half with Takabayashi adding his second touchdown run of the night midway through the third quarter, putting the Sabers up 20-7.
Later in the third quarter, an intentional grounding penalty against Kealakehe in the end zone resulted in a safety, putting Maui up 22-7. A fourth-quarter touchdown run rounded out the scoring.
Kealakehe opens the Big Island Interscholastic Federation season Aug. 30 at home against Honokaa.