For the fourth straight year, Farrington and Waianae will have their paths intersect in a high-stakes postseason matchup.
The Governors advanced to the quarterfinals of the OIA Division I playoffs with a 36-14 win over Radford on Saturday and coach Randall Okimoto’s thoughts turned to Friday’s matchup at Waianae well before he left Kusunoki Field for the last time this season.
“We have to move on,” Okimoto said as the Skippa Diaz Stadium stands emptied. “We expect a good game.”
The recent postseason run between the Governors and Seariders — who had a first-round bye this week — began in 2014 with a 37-15 Farrington rout to knock Waianae out of the OIA playoffs.
Waianae earned payback in 2015 with a 20-19 win in the OIA third-place game to earn a state tournament berth. The Seariders ended the Governors’ season again last year with a taut 14-8 defensive duel in the opening round of the inaugural Open Division of the state tournament.
Both team’s title aspirations hinge on yet another meeting, this time at Waianae’s Raymond Torii Field on Friday. The winner takes on the Mililani-Moanalua winner in the OIA semifinals and will have two shots at a state tournament spot. The loser turns in their pads.
Farrington needed a second-half surge to avoid an early-round exit in Saturday’s win over Radford, the OIA Blue’s sixth seed.
Radford went toe-to-toe with the Governors, the OIA Red third seed, early on and went into halftime knotted 6-6.
Farrington drove to the Radford 8 on its first posssesion, but Rams defensive back Christian Cristobal stopped Samsen Tanuvasa on fourth-and-1 to deny the Governors.
Farrington broke through on its next drive with Stephen Eter connecting with Chris Afe on a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Radford matched the Govs with Randy Wright’s 22-yard scoring pass to Matai Suitonu. Both extra points were blocked and the rest of the first half was played predominantly in Farrington territory with the tie holding into halftime.
The Governors asserted control of the line of scrimmage to start with second half with eight consecutive running plays for 55 yards.
“Coach Okimoto said … we have to get our big boys in and just have to run the ball,” Eter said, “and that’s exactly what we did.”
The Governors faced fourth-and-goal at the 3 when Eter rolled right and completed a short throw to Reginald Faamatau, who made the catch at the goal line and was ruled to have crossed the plane before being pushed back.
The Farrington ground game, powered by Tanuvasa’s 109 yards, opened up the play-action game, and Eter threw touchdown passes to Afe and Chad Silva to open up a commanding lead. Eter finished with 174 passing yards and four touchdowns and also ran for Farrington’s last touchdown.
“He’s a leadder out there and we depend on him,” Okimoto said of Eter, who has split time at quarterback and receiver with Afe at various points this season.
While Okimoto hopes Farrington’s second-half performance carries over into the Waianae game, Radford coach Lon Passos is looking to roll a spirited late-season effort toward continued growth next season.
Radford closed its season at 1-8, the lone win coming as a result of a Kaiser forfeit. But the Rams closed the regular season with a 21-20 loss to Moanalua — which advanced to the quarterfinals with a win over Kailua on Saturday — and closed with a stubborn performance against Farrington.
“The young guys coming back, it’s a good feeling for them so hopefully it carries over into the offseason and next season,” Passos said.
“I knew these kids would battle and they proved it, and that’s all I can ask.”