ALMOST FAMOUS: 1970 Waipahu Marauders

Ben Ronquilio succeeded Masa Yonamine as head coach at Waipahu but lasted only a year at the school.

Hawaii Prep World will highlight 10 of the best football teams in Oahu history that never earned a division, league or state crown.

Teams are ranked on this list by positive point differential, excluding the 2010 Kahuku and 2018 St. Francis squads that had games wiped out due to the use of an ineligible player. Add in those teams, and the Red Raiders would be No. 1 on the list and the Saints would be No. 3. They suffered their own kinds of heartbreak, but never on the field.

First up, Masa Yonamine‘s 1970 Waipahu crew and its point differential of 20.7.

Yonamine’s last season as head coach ended without a title, but he had a crew that might rival his championship teams from the late 1950s.

The Marauders started the season like a house on fire, running up a 4-0 record with victories over Farrington (30-19), Waimea (20-0), Kahuku (20-7) and Waialua (62-8).

Those victories didn’t prepare the Marauders for what they would find in a visit to Waianae where a capacity crowd of 8,000 waited.

The Seariders got rushing touchdowns from Ron Patilos and Tui Ala in a 14-6 victory. Marshall Oxentine of Waipahu scored the game’s only touchdown in the second half on a 61-yard jaunt and had a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown nullified by a clipping penalty. There were only six penalties called in the game, four on Waipahu and two on Waianae.

Waipahu’s hopes were finally dashed when Greg Solomon picked off Marco Min‘s pass with 1:50 left in the game. Min threw two interceptions in the game and completed five of his 13 attempts. Waipahu outgained the home team 204-197 but Waianae churned out 13 first downs to Waipahu’s nine.

Waipahu’s title hopes were effectively dashed the next week when 14-year old sophomore Alex Kaloi led Leilehua over the Marauders 28-27 at Honolulu Stadium. Kaloi sealed Waipahu’s fate with a 2-point conversion to flanker William Kelii with 1:59 remaining.

Waipahu led Leilehua 20-8 in the third quarter before collapsing.

Oxentine finished the game with 160 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns and fullback Ernesto Viloria covered 59 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Just scoring against the stout Mules was an accomplishment, as Leilehua had shut out its previous five opponents.

To its credit, Waipahu refused to quit in Yonamine’s last go-’round, winning its next five games including a 66-8 blowout of Campbell and a 42-0 rout of Nanakuli. Waipahu beat Farrington 26-7 in the third-place game to close out Yonamine’s career.

The Father Bray disciple stepped down after 17 years and a record of 140-36-4. He also coached baseball for 15 years and win nine OIA championships.

Yonamine resigned to become athletic director and recommended Ben Ronquilio, his defensive coach, for the post. Ronquilio won an OIA championship for the school but was fired shortly afterwards for myriad reasons, in part due to conflicts with Yonamine.


  1. Whatsamattau June 29, 2020 8:55 pm

    Another AD, who probably couldn’t let go. As time goes on some things do not change…

  2. Boolakanaka June 30, 2020 6:00 am

    Ben was a great coach and motivator , but also physically abusing players …not just verbally.

  3. on old buggah June 30, 2020 4:53 pm

    Another member of the Waipahu staff was Coach Asami. He led Waipahu to a league basketball championship. Although the 1970 team is the focus. The members of the 1971 team should “clear the air” and express their feellings etc.

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