CLOSING THE BOOK: 2019 Waianae Seariders

Waianae receiver Saege Ayala (30) celebrated a touchdown against Kapolei with a teammate. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

>> 1-8 Overall, 0-5 OIA Open Division

>> Mike Fanoga is 1-8 after his first season with the Seariders

>> WR Saege Ayala, 5-8, 167, Jr.; RB Kolu Quisquirin-Sabagala, 5-9, 210, So.; DL Zhen-Keith Sotelo, 6-4, 272, Jr.; DL Zion To’oto’o, 6-1, 260, So.



The record might be the same, but the statistics say that the Waianae Seariders were worlds better in the second year of the Open Division than they were in the first.

Mike Fanoga improved upon the dear departed Walter Young‘s offense by nearly nine points and lowered the defense’s number by 15, but the two teams finished the year with the same 1-8 record, the worst two-year stretch in program history after Young’s 7-5 season in 2017.

Fanoga’s offense averaged 16.3 points per game this year while committing to the pass 40 percent of the time after Young dialed up throws 37 percent of the time in his final year. The biggest difference, though, was Waianae’s ability to hold onto the ball this year. The Seariders ran nearly 100 more offensive snaps (562) than last year (465).

Fanoga’s defense struggled to a 34.2 points against per game, the second-worst in program history, better only than last year’s crew. The Seariders gave up more points than they scored (minus-17.9 papg) for the second straight year, the first time that has happened in successive years since Danny Matsumoto‘s 2003-04 teams. It was also the second highest number for the defense, behind only last year.

Waianae will take an eight-game losing streak into next year, threatening the 11-game losing streak put together by Newton Kekahio‘s 1959-60 squads for longest in school history.

Sheldon McLeod moved over from Kapolei, where he was a fringe receiver, and took over quarterback duties from last year’s starter, Shaydon Lopes. McLeod turned the opportunity into 864 yards and nine touchdowns, the most out West since Jaren Ulu went over a grand in 2016. McLeod threw only four interceptions in Open Division play, settling him third in the elite division in interception rate behind only ILH stars Jayden de Laura of Saint Louis and Punahou freshman John-Keawe Sagapolutele. McLeod’s season under center ended early, but he didn’t throw an interception in his final four games (against Mililani, Punahou, Campbell and Farrington) while pitching five touchdowns. Lopes took over for the final two contests, against the ILH’s Kamehameha and Saint Louis, and picked up where McLeod left off by playing turnover-free football. McLeod had the best passing performance of the year in his first game, victimizing Division I Waipahu for 212 yards and three touchdowns to open the season.

Once McLeod was take out of the offense, the Seariders began an assault on the school’s record book. Sophomore running back Kolu Quisquirin-Sabagala struck first, thrashing Kamehameha for 250 yards and two touchdowns on an incredible 47 carries. That rushing performance landed atop the school’s single-game record book, eclipsing Rico Rosario‘s 243 yards against Moanalua two years ago. Quisquirin-Sabagala is the only ballcarrier in the school’s storied history to exceed 200 rushing yards and go home with a loss. He finished the season with 1,009 yards, the first Searider to go over a grand since Rosario, and went over the century mark in five games including three in a row late in the year. Danny Kekoanui was the last running back to go over the mark in three games in a row, doing it in four straight in 2008. Saege Ayala and Kaai Tambaoan-Kaeo spelled relief for Quisquirin-Sabagala, except for the crazy 47-carry game, combining for 151 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown. Quisquirin-Sabagala represented 58 percent of the rushing attempts, a number not usually seen on notoriously deep Waianae teams.

Before the buzz wore off of Quisquirin-Sabagala’s school rushing record, Nainoa Machado made a run at the receiving mark. Machado went nuts for seven receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns in the season finale against Saint Louis, moving Prep Bowl hero Larry Rhoads to second on the school’s list. Machado had a reception in every game except the opener for Waianae, but there were no signs of his breakout as he had as many receptions against Saint Louis as he had in the previous month combined and his previous high for yardage in a game was 78 yards in Week 2 against Kapolei.

Machado’s big game jumped him over Saege Ayala for the season receiving lead with 400 yards, the most for a Searider in a season since Isaiah Freeney in 2016 and more than the leading receivers in 2017 and 2018 combined. Ayala still led the team in TD receptions with four to Machado’s three, and helped a receiving corps that boasted of six different players with at least 100 yards and a touchdown. Delson Cordeiro, La’akea Lapastora, Tambaoan-Kaeo and Quisquirin-Sabagala all made it over the mark. In Young’s four years in charge of the offense, he had only six players to catch 10 or more passes, Fanoga matched that number in a single season.

Fanoga had a senior-heavy squad this year, led by the talented McLeod and the ever-ready Lopes, but gets Quisquirin-Sabagala back to build around along with receivers Cordeiro and Ayala. Jorden Kaloi-English was the only other quarterback listed on the roster, but will graduate, so the Seariders are going to need to find someone to take the snaps unless they threaten Quisquirin-Sabagala’s health with a wildcat offense in every contest.

Waianae’s Nainoa Machado (24) made a catch against Saint Louis defensive back Brian Cox (2) on his way to setting the Seariders’ single-game receiving record this season. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.


Sheldon McLeod771-137-68649
Shaydon Lopes924-60-03371
Jorden Kaloi-English26-24-11501
Saege Ayala71-5-2360
Nainoa Machado80-1-000
Kolu Quisquirin-Sabagala91951,0096
Saege Ayala711761
Kaai Tambaoan-Kaeo918750
Malik Brown65630
Austin Coyaso25360
Jorden Kaloi-English26280
Hoky Sylva25170
Sheldon McLeod761102
Kealii McLeod3330
Shaydon Lopes921-270
Nainoa Machado8214003
Saege Ayala7162504
Delson Cordeiro6161881
La'akea Lapastora6101541
Kaai Tambaoan-Kaeo9131491
Kolu Quisquirin-Sabagala9121061
Malik Brown68560
Chad Pule55440
Josiah Schlitkus-Pagurian11360
Kevin Poepoe1190
Waianae’s Jahstin Stevens-Somildam (26) hauled in an interception against Campbell during the first half. Photo by Marco Garcia/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Waianae’s Nainoa Machado (24) made a catch against Saint Louis defensive back Brian Cox (2) on his way to setting the Seariders’ single-game receiving record this season. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Waianae tight end Adonnis Puou (77) needed a host of Punahou defenders to drag him down. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Waianae running back Kaai Tambaoan-Kaeo (22) was taken down by Mililani linebacker Mark Pasternak (55). Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Waianae wide receiver Saege Ayala (30) hauled in a pass ahead of Punahou defensive back Kilinahe Mendiola-Jensen (15). Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Waianae quarterback Shaydon Lopes (15) unleashed a pass. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Waianae’s Sheldon McLeod escaped the grasp of Farrington’s Koalii Kama-Toth (40). Photo by Andrew Lee/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Waianae coach Mike Fanoga only won one game in his first season but the Seariders were clearly improved from a year ago. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.


  1. Hau’ulaBoy October 28, 2019 7:02 pm

    Tough season Waianae. But looks like heading in the right direction. Offense looks a lot better than previous year. Just got to get the studs to stay back and play for the home team. I remember when Kahuku against Waianae was the game of the year. Bring it back. Best of luck and keep working Waianae.

  2. Waianae!! October 28, 2019 9:17 pm

    Did y’all watch any of our games? Or you just going off of name and hearsay? Arnel Valdez deserves that spot over Zhen-Keith Sotelo on that MVP list. You felt Arnels presence on the field. Sotelo was barely effective and got washed out of gaps while on the field.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email