16TH IN A SERIES
Things just got a bit brighter at Waipahu.
The football team, which has been on the rise since Bryson Carvalho took over as coach before the 2015 season, did something last weekend that shook up the state.
A 34-13 nonleague upset of Open Division powerhouse Waianae shook up the state of things. It happened at the most interesting of times, since football on Oahu has, for the first time, been placed into three neatly drawn-up and evenly matched tiers.
The Marauders proved that no matter how you cut the cake, so to speak, there can always be an upset of a higher-division team. That’s why the games are played.
Without that upset, Waipahu — which moved up to Division I after winning the OIA D-II championship a year ago — was already considered a contender in D-I. Now, the Marauders have proven that they have a legitimate shot at the title.
“We’re in for a fun season,” Carvalho said. “And I hate to lose, but it’s not about just winning and losing. It’s making sure you do things with integrity and doing things right, like taking care of your grades, or if you see trash on the ground, you pick it up.”
Carvalho also talked about a handful of the Marauders’ leaders:
>> Alfred Failauga, running back: “Maybe not by far, but I think he is the best or is one of the best running backs in the state. Good to kind of see him in a higher division with better competition. Hopefully, he can get more college looks that way. He is like an added coach. When guys are getting cocky, he’ll step in and (show them how to be humble). The integrity and maturity of that kid is years beyond what his actual age is.”
>> Savior Iaulualo, guard: “He’s not a guy with a lot of words. He sets the tone. Makes sure the O-line is doing the right thing. Integrity level is good as well. Been around long enough to know what we are looking for.”
>> Fiva Tulafale, linebacker: “Is stepping into that role of being the real leader on defense. He definitely has potential to be a legit leader, especially with his capabilities.”
>> Amo Montero, offensive line: “He’s the kind of guy that if he sees someone who needs help, he’ll see what he can do to help. Always willing to lend a hand or help out however he can. He’s great for us on the field. Played D-line the last three years. This year, he was unselfish enough to jump on the offensive line. A lot of players would say, ‘I’ve played three years, I don’t want to do that.’ You can’t teach someone to make an unselfish decision like that. Will still give him reps at D-line.
>> Matt Fiesta, receiver: “You never catch Matt doing the wrong thing. A leader by example, a 4.0 student who take cares of what he needs to. He’s only 5-6, but he’ll call out the biggest and best guys. He love to compete and I love that about him. He brings out the best of the entire team.”
>> Kealii Barrett, defensive lineman: “Had some hardships last year. Persevered and fought through it. Was a captain and stood strong. Good role model for rest of the guys. Takes care of his schoolwork. I tell the kids to be there at 2 o’clock, he’s there at 12.”
The Marauders’ first game in the new OIA-ILH Division I alliance is a tough one — Saturday at ‘Iolani. The Raiders, who have won eight D-II state championships, opened the season with a 63-0 nonleague win over Kalani last weekend.
Cody Marques, a captain and a Kapolei transfer, is Waipahu’s starting quarterback. Joel Auvae, who won two OIA JV championships with the Marauders, is a capable backup.
Next in series: Radford Rams.
• Aiea Na Alii
• Campbell Sabers
• Castle Knights
• Farrington Governors
• Kahuku Red Raiders
• Kaimuki Bulldogs
• Kaiser Cougars
• Leilehua Mules
• McKinley Tigers
• Mililani Trojans
• Moanalua Na Menehune
• Nanakuli Golden Hawks
• Pearl City Chargers
• St. Francis Saints
• Saint Louis Crusaders