At 6-2, 245 pounds, ‘Iolani hoopster Shayden Molina finds niche in trenches

'Iolani defensive lineman Shayden Molina blocked a Waipahu punt during the first half on Friday. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Basketball is practically golden at ‘Iolani, where competing for titles is an expectation.

Football, though, is what Shayden Molina loves even more. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound junior sometimes starts for the roundball Raiders, using his strength to help a team of otherwise slender athletes.

On the gridiron, though, his ability to accelerate in tight quarters is exceptional. Molina blocked a punt that helped spur a run of four touchdowns in less than four minutes by ‘Iolani, which went on to overwhelm Waipahu 48-14 on Friday night at Aloha Stadium. Molina also had a sack and recovered a fumble, one of three takeaways by the Raider defense.

The win is crucial for the Raiders, who are practically in playoff mode with every game against ILH and OIA opponents. They improved to 3-1 in the ILH standings, tied with Damien. It was Waipahu that ended ‘Iolani’s 2018 season with a 20-19 win over the Raiders in the Division I state tournament.

This time, the Raiders capitalized on every opportunity. ‘Iolani stacked the box to the max against Waipahu running back Alfred Failauga, the state’s all-time rushing leader.

Failauga finished with 298 yards, two TDs and two crucial fumbles on takeaways by the Raiders.

“It all goes to the team and the game plan. Contain Alfred and make the quarterback beat us,” said Molina, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound junior who also plays basketball. “I think we did a good job today on that. Shout out to the coaches. They gave us the game plan and we executed it.”

Waipahu quarterback Cody Marques was 4-for-13 for 73 yards in the first three quarters. Down 48-7, the Marauders went back to their shotgun formation in the fourth period.

“We kind of knew, the more they give him the ball, the more yards he’s going to get. The main idea was to bend and don’t break, and I think we did a good job,” Molina said. “The scoreboard shows it. They kind of surprised us with it (power-I formation), but we were prepared. I feel pretty good. On to the next one.”

As for his favorite sport, that might be obvious now.

“Football, for sure,” Molina said.


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