Emotional farewell for Ulu, Waianae seniors

It was an emotional night for Waianae quarterback Jaren Ulu, who threw three TD passes and rushed for another score in his last regular-season home game. In photo, Ulu prepared to throw a pass against Kamehameha in an early season win. Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
It was an emotional night for Waianae quarterback Jaren Ulu, who threw three TD passes and rushed for another score in his last regular-season home game. In photo, Ulu prepared to throw a pass against Kamehameha in an early season win. Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

It’s not easy to say goodbye.

That’s why Waianae quarterback Jaren Ulu‘s voice cracked just a little bit while he was being interviewed after the Seariders’ 54-0 victory over Radford on Friday night at Raymond Torii Field.

Unless Waianae (6-1 5-1 OIA Blue) hosts a playoff game, this was the last time Ulu will be playing on the field he loves so much in front of family and friends and the die-hard fans.

A few minutes later, Ulu’s name was announced over the loudspeaker during a senior night procession. Like the rest of the seniors, he walked up and greeted his parents and got to hear the announcer say what his parents had written down about their love for him.

Love was the theme of the postgame festivities, but love is also an element within the team itself.

“I like that we shared the ball a lot,” Ulu said after the victory. “And shared all of the love we could and glad all of the seniors could make plays on this wonderful last game that we can play on this home field. It’s pretty emotional, playing on this field — which is so nice alongside the beach. It’s amazing and life-changing. I’m really going to miss it.”

Sure enough, many of the 35 Seariders seniors had a big hand in the win before talking their senior walk:

>> Running back Javen Towne — 64 yards and a touchdown rushing.

>> Linebacker Jaylen Gonzales — sack of Rams punter Chase Murphy.

>> Wide receiver Isaiah Freeney — two TD catches.

>> Quarterback Jaren Ulu — 10-for-12 for 130 yards and three TDs passing, and a rushing TD.

>> Running back Jorell Pontes-Borje — 36 yards and a TD rushing.

>> Defensive back Elijah Brame — several pass breakups and hard hits.

>> Running back Kade Ambrocio — three catches for 55 yards and a rushing TD.

>> Running back Dylan Keliikoa — rushing TD.

>> Defensive lineman Rudy-Jay Keopuhiwa — hard hits all night long.

>> Donavan Tavares — TD catch.

It should also be mentioned that four offensive linemen — Mililani Misipati, John McFall, Jonah Maga and Micah Atuatasi — are seniors and they opened several gaping holes for the backs.

But where does Waianae go from here? Will Ulu and the rest of the seniors make it as far or farther (or not as far?) as last season, when Waianae made it to the state semifinals and lost 13-0 to the eventual D-I champion Kahuku Red Raiders?

“I feel that we just have to buckle down on all of the rest of the regular-season games, so that when we really do need it in the playoffs, it’s right there and we just have to ball out and execute everything,” Ulu said.

The Seariders visit Campbell for their regular-season finale next Friday and then have a bye the following week before the playoffs start.

And Ulu’s thoughts about Waianae’s chance of getting to the promised land?

“I sure hope we do (have a chance),” he said. “I sure think we do. We have a lot of confidence and a lot of talent that we have to put to use the right way.”


  1. chloropicrin September 17, 2016 6:29 pm

    Waianae needs to feed Rosario the ball at least 20-25 times, use him as a workhorse, and then add Ambrosia, Pontes here and there to change the game up and use them in space. Heard Rosario might transfer after the season, anyone know or heard?

  2. way out west September 17, 2016 7:32 pm

    bishop gorman i believe…

  3. Chloropicrin September 17, 2016 7:42 pm


    Foreal? Well I wouldn’t blame him, how is the states leading rusher get less then 5 touches against Kahuku? The old time coaches, Ginoza, Mitsui, Taaca would get the most outta their players because they utilized their strengths.

  4. Chloropicrin September 17, 2016 7:46 pm

    IMO Pontes-Borge should be the starting QB, they would have a true dual threat. And he has a stronger arm and is a smooth runner.

  5. Hau’ulaBoy September 18, 2016 12:56 am

    Great season so far Waianae. Keep it up. Although Im a RR4L, Im always cheering for the other country schools. Good luck and hopefully it will be a all Blue Divsion OIA final. Maybe even an all OIA State Championship. All country Championship, Eastside vs. Westside.

  6. Hau’ulaBoy September 18, 2016 1:02 am

    And lay off the Ulu kid. He just had a great game. Ulu’s been making big plays all season.

  7. Chloropicrin September 18, 2016 5:13 am

    @Hau’ulaboy no one mentioned Ulu besides you.

  8. Represent the W September 19, 2016 8:40 am

    Waianae has a great football team and they have some talented players but they need to utilize them in there strongest strengths. and yes they need to put Jorell in to play QB he is unpredictable and the other team won’t know what he’s gonna do! Also it ain’t rocket science to beat the team that won them in the past, just do a spread offense and pick’em out!!! Also someone said Rosario might transfer? Listen, every player needs to play and the coaches need to find there strengths so they have to test out the others players so they can feed them the ball unexpectedly and no one won’t know he’s coming! For instance, give Titsn the ball and let him smash thru!!! Can’t wait to see them in the OIA!!! Go Waianae!!!

  9. oia#1 September 19, 2016 11:41 am

    Ulu may not be a all star qb, but he is our best option. Rosario should be used as a featured back and I would hate to see him transfer out.

  10. Chloropicrin September 19, 2016 7:00 pm

    @represent the W

    It seems like the coaches have been use the last two games to practice the pass game in live situations. However they need to work the short passes as you stated to pick apart the team the beat them 28-0, or at least use it during certain down and distances. All I see is streaks and the QB only looking to throw to Freeney or Tootoo. They need bubbles and screens to let Ambrosio and Pontes make plays. It also seems like they totally forgot they have Towne. I know the coaches are trying their best to split carries, but I agree they need to give Rico the and make him the feature back. Rosario gettig only 5 carries against Kahuku is crazy!! And Walter coaches the OLine? He needs to make them drive the sled and work the chutes because all I see is big guys standing up (especially against Kahuku). If the linemen can’t over power the guys they get beat i.e Kamehameha and Kahuku, the stronger teams they’ve played. It’s frustrating seeing Waianae with probably our biggest OLine ever not move the ball against Kahuku ( credit to them too). Gorman’s OLine isn’t nearly as big but they moved Kahuku’s Dline using angles, leverage and technique.

  11. Chloropicrin September 19, 2016 7:02 pm

    Ulu is serviceable, but Pontes gives an added element with his skills running. And he does have zip on his balls.

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