Aaron Mejia had already waited a year to get back onto the field.
Thanks in part to the Kailua defense, the Surfrider senior quarterback didn’t take long to find his rhythm in his return to game action on Friday.
Mejia was in contention for playing time at quarterback last summer until a broken collarbone suffered in a scrimmage with Aiea ended his junior season before it began.
A little more than 12 months later, Mejia made a dazzling season debut in a three-touchdown performance in the Surfriders’ 44-0 win over Moanalua at Radford’s John E. Velasco Stadium.
“It made me even stronger,” Mejia said of his comeback from the injury.
The Surfriders came up with an interception on the game’s first play from scrimmage and Mejia capped Kailua’s opening possession with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Wright to ignite the rout.
The Kailua defense ended the night with six interceptions while posting its first shutout since a 49-0 win over Roosevelt on Sept. 2, 2011.
Mejia, the younger brother of former All-State defensive end Christian Mejia, threw all three TD passes in the first half to propel Kailua to a 33-0 halftime lead and went on to finish the night 13-for-27 for 179 yards.
He took a sack on his first drive but rushed for 14 yards on four carries and didn’t put himself in jeopardy very often while distributing the ball to seven receivers. He picked up 14 yards on a first-quarter keeper and made sure to slide on a 5-yard gain up the middle early in the third quarter.
“This is everything for him,” Kailua coach Joseph Wong said of Mejia’s opportunity. “I told him, ‘as long as you listen to me, you get down, you get out of bounds, you’re going to have a great season,’ and he’s off to a great start.”
Mejia was particularly effective on third- and fourth-and-long situations. His touchdown pass to Wright came on fourth-and-6 and he completed passes for first downs on third-and-10 and fourth-and-11 on Kailua’s next scoring drive.
The Surfriders’ next possession was highlighted by a 33-yard completion to Wright on third-and-2 and Cameron Dudoit-Kamai’s 25-yard catch-and-run on third-and-20.
Bruddah Spencer-Choy Foo came up with two of Kailua’s six picks and his cousin, Dylan Kurahashi-Choy Foo, caught Mejia’s third touchdown pass.
“We just wanted to get the ball to the offense and them back on the field,” Spencer-Choy Foo said.
Kailua hosts Buckeye Union (Calif.) on Aug. 18 and then plays on Aug. 26 against Nanakuli.