For the first time since 2010, defending state champion Punahou will start the season without Larry “Tui” Tuileta holding the reigns at quarterback.
Friday night at Aloha Stadium, Cover2 Power Poll’s top-ranked Punahou will open its title defense against 8th-ranked Saint Louis in both team’s ILH opener.
After claiming three straight league titles and appearing in three consecutive state championship game appearances under 2013 Cover2 offensive player of the year and now USC freshman Tui Tuileta, the Buffanblu offense will now go through the arm of 6’3″ junior Ephraim Tuliloa.
“I think it’s definitely a privilege, I mean whenever you’re representing a team, and especially a school like Punahou, it’s definitely a privilege and honor,” said Tuliloa. “It’s a mixture of nervousness and definitely excited, you know, I haven’t had a real game.”
Two-time HHSAA State Championship Head Coach Kale Ane appears excited to start a new era with Tuliloa under center: “He’s unique. He can throw. He can run. He’s big enough to run. He’s more athletic than people think. He had a great mentor, Tui, so he saw the immense pressure that he was under and how he handled it, the poise he had, so he’s had a great opportunity to learn from a quality person,” said Ane.
The Crusaders, already 0-2 with losses to Mililani and St. John Bosco of California, will have sophomore Tua Tagovailoa get his first start at quarterback. So far this season, he has passed for 355 yards with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions behind senior Ryder Kuhns.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.
For the entire week 4 prep football schedule, click here.