At this point, the Waipahu Marauders are thinking of more than bounty and gold on their ships.
The black flag waved high above a sellout, standing-room only homecoming crowd at Masa Yonamine Athletic Complex. With a 37-6 victory over Pearl City, Waipahu now has first place all to itself in the OIA Division II standings.
More than that, they have their brotherhood. Just about every senior celebrated after the game during festivities by talking about the meaning of brotherhood, from seasoned four-year contributors like quarterback Braden Amorozo to first-year Marauders who simply wanted to be part of the family.
It’s the unity that keeps the Marauders humming along. Six wins, no losses, 5-0 in league play, 237 points scored and only 35 given up. It’s the stuff of Goliath programs. When Sean Saturnio breathed new life into the team more than a decade ago, he couldn’t help but notice the size and natural talent of so many students who simply didn’t or wouldn’t play sports. Then came Eric Keola, who kept the torch aflame for a few years before Bryson Carvalho returned from the mainland.
Carvalho, a longtime assistant under Saturnio, was more than ready to steer the ship. Though first place in OIA D-II isn’t a lock, and a state-tourney berth doesn’t arrive wrapped tidy and neat until the playoffs, Carvalho was enthused about his team’s turnaround against Pearl City.
The Marauders had 12 penalties for 100 yards in the first half of a game that was scoreless. It was punt city, enough to have an electric atmosphere relatively numb by the break. After intermission, the Marauders were far more disciplined, and they took command against a tough Chargers squad.
“That first half didn’t feel too good, but I’m glad we were able to fix mistakes. We killed ourselves in that first half,” Carvalho said. “I knew once we fixed that, we could do what we wanted to do. We had a good gameplan going in. The kids kind of executed it well. This is a good bunch of kids. They’re real special. Braden’s a great leader. You’ve got Al, who’s only a sophomore, but he’s a leader, too.”
Alfred Failauga had just seven carries in the first half, but finished with 238 rushing yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns. Amorozo threw the ball 47 times for 255 yards and two TDs with one pick. He was sacked four times, but for most of the night, was able to elude Pearl City’s ferocious pass rush and deliver the ball downfield.
“It’s basically what they give us. Run RPO (read-pass option). If they give us run, that’s where it kind of opened up. Second half, I don’t know if their gameplan was to stop our passing arsenal, but it just seemed like they were trying to take that away, which opened some lanes for Al,” Carvalho said.
The perfect record means a lot for the Marauders, but for longtimers like Carvalho, it’s more than numbers.
“They represented the community well tonight,” he said. “We had a sold-out crowd, I think we had to turn people away at the gates, I heard. Just a super crowd. I’m proud of how they played and how they represented the school and the community.”
Failauga noted that his family members had played for Waipahu, but never got to a 6-0 win-loss record. There have been a few 3-0 and 5-1 starts in the past several seasons. The ’93 Marauders were 8-1 before losing to Waianae. The last time Waipahu had a 6-0 mark was in ’90, when they won 11 games in a row before losing to Farrington in the OIA final, 19-18.