When the Waianae Seariders faithful gather to talk about the glory days, they will skip over 2018 unless it is as a springboard to the greatest comeback ever in 2019.
The Open Division did not treat the Seariders kindly, leaving them with a 1-8 record for the worst mark in the school’s storied history. The only time Waianae won only one game was in its first season in 1959 but even that squad scored more points than Waianae’s 7.4 this year.
The defense wasn’t much better after the loss of defensive player of the year Kana’i Mauga, giving up a program-worst 41.2 points per game. The previous high for points allowed by the program was 24.7 by Danny Matsumoto‘s 2010 team, but that group had a good enough offense to reach the state title game after Kahuku had to forfeit its entire season for the use of an ineligible player.
2018 TOP PERFORMANCES
After being down so big in so many games, Waianae’s passing game got more of a workout than it usually does. Shaydon Lopes and Kevin Poepoe split duties at quarterback with starter Justin Tacgere, who missed most of the season with an injury, sprinkled in. Lopes took home the team’s yardage title with 393 in 70 attempts. He threw one touchdown to eight interceptions but Poepoe was victimized just as much with nine picks to go with his one touchdown. Tacgere only threw 38 passes, but led the team with two touchdowns and had two interceptions. The passing game was supposed to be more efficient than that, as Poepoe opened the season with 139 yards and a touchdown against Waipahu but threw two picks. Three different quarterbacks threw for more than 100 yards in a game, the first time that the position has been so unsettled.
Waianae threw an army of rushers at opponents this year, giving 16 players carries led by Kaai Tamboan-Kaeo‘s 49. Kenneth Joseph Jr. led the team in rushing, though, gaining 263 yards on 44 carries with a team-high two touchdowns. Eteuati Lui and Elijah Lujan also had more than 30 carries, but weren’t able to do much with them behind a shaky offensive line and the tough schedule. Joseph had the biggest game in the season-opening loss to Waipahu, carrying the ball 14 times for 102 yards and a touchdown. That was the only time a Searider went over 100 yards, something unheard of on the West side. Joseph and Malik Brown were the only backs to touch the ball in more than six games.
Joseph pulled double duty for Waianae, with the top rusher leading the team in receiving as well. Joseph caught 20 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown. No other Seariders receiver caught more than Diesel Tuinei‘s eight passes, but he had 155 yards to go with them. Nobody else had more than 100 yards, but Brown came close with 95 yards on seven catches. Tuinei had the best game for the Seariders, catching three passes against Kamehameha for 59 yards but was held out of the end zone. It is the first time since 2008 the Seariders failed to have a receiver clear 75 yards in a game and it almost happened two years in a row as Keoki Davis was the top man with an 81-yard game last year.
Finding a top defensive performance for the 2018 squad is almost impossible, but it has to be the 25 points they limited Farrington to in their lone win. The Seariders caught a break in the last seconds when a Farrington receiver dropped a potential game-winner, but the defense earned its own breaks at other times in the game. Xaiston Kameheloha, Kalena Sione and Raven Keopuhiwa all recovered fumbles but Paul Fano might have had the play of the game in the first half when he stood up a Farrington runner at the first-down marker to stone a Governors drive.
>> Walter Young is 25-22 in four seasons.
KEY UNDERCLASSMEN IN 2018
>> WR/SB Kaai Tamboan-Kaeo (5-6, 145), RB/SB Malik Brown (5-11, 190), WR Diesei Tuinei (6-5, 185), LB Angus Ramaila (5-11, 215).
FINAL TEAM STATS
|Kenneth Joseph Jr.||8||1-1-0||27||0|
|Kenneth Joseph Jr.||8||44||263||2|
|Kenneth Joseph Jr.||8||20||196||1|