It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t cute.
Not at all. It was all business for the Waianae Seariders. On a night when they didn’t complete a single pass, they rode their defense and smashmouth ground attack — 211 rushing yards on 46 carries — to a 29-21 overtime win over Campbell on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium. Now, Waianae (7-4) has qualified for the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Championships (D-I-Open Division).
Despite losing a 13-0 lead, the Seariders made clutch plays — four interceptions by the secondary. They also benefited from the play of defensive tackle Zefften Avilla-Thompson and Rico Rosario.
Rosario, the senior running back, battled back from an ankle injury suffered two weeks ago at practice. He didn’t carry the ball until the second half, but finished with 12 carries for 66 yards and two huge touchdowns.
“I tried to push through the pain,” Rosario said. “We just had to be our best, just work and score. We didn’t want to end the season, us seniors.”
Avilla-Thompson, a junior defensive tackle, had three sacks and was a menace in the trenches for Waianae.
“It’s just the work he does,” Waianae linebacker Kana‘i Mauga said. “He proves himself in practice, and in the offseason on Saturdays and Sundays, he keeps working. He proved tonight he’s the best one.”
Avilla-Thompson is a young man of few words.
“There were times we didn’t get to them early, but we got there eventually. We train every day and push each other hard,” he said.
Coach Walter Young was pleased, a very low-key pleased with Avilla-Thompson and everyone in general.
“He’s a good kid. They all work together. When we needed them, everybody came up with a play. It was a great team effort, offense, defense and special teams. Campbell’s a very good team,” he said. “We’ll enjoy this, regroup, and Monday we’ll come back and get ready for the next game.”