The opening round of the OIA Red playoffs got underway Friday night with three games that were decided by the end of the third quarter.
McKinley will play Campbell in the playoffs for the second straight year after a 36-15 win over Waipahu at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium. Quarterback Mathias Tuitele-Iafeta threw four first-half touchdown passes to give coach Joe Cho and the Tigers their first OIA Red playoff victory since 2002, when they advanced to the Division I state semifinals.
The Tigers defense picked off six different passes with 6-foot-2 senior Tyrell Tuiasosopo snatching three of them. Tuiasosopo also caught touchdown passes of 47 and 28 yards as the Tigers will try to give Campbell a tougher game than last year, when the Sabers shut out McKinley 35-0.
“We’re ready to go,” Tuiasosopo repeated three different times after Friday’s win. “We are ready to go.”
Watch out for Leilehua, which has responded to a 44-14 loss to Mililani late in the regular season with two eye-popping victories. Following its 66-14 blowout of Waipahu in the regular-season finale, the Mules torched Moanalua, beating Na Menehune 54-17.
Leilehua improved to 24-0 all-time against Moanalua behind quarterback Justin Jenks, who looks like he’s going to be Leilehua’s guy in the playoffs. After not playing much in the regular season, Jenks threw for 172 yards and three touchdowns against the Marauders. He attempted just seven passes against Moanalua, completing four for 112 yards and two touchdowns, helping Leilehua win at least one playoff game for the eighth consecutive year.
Leilehua ran all over Moanalua as Randy Neverson rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Ikaika Piceno caught a touchdown pass and ran for two more scores and Tristin Kamaka returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown as Leilehua led 54-10 in the fourth quarter.
The Mules get Mililani next week in a rematch of that 30-point loss to the Trojans two weeks ago.
The score was a bit deceiving as Kapolei built a 42-0 lead before the Surfriders scored 27 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Kapolei gets East No. 1 seed Farrington next Friday at Roosevelt. Farrington has won all four meetings between the two schools, ending Kapolei’s season in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012 in the playoffs.
“We have played Farrington a lot in the playoffs and never beaten them,” Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. “It’s going to be a challenge for us, we hare going to have to be balanced on offense, run the ball, stop the run and play perfect. If we do all that, we’ve got a shot.”