GAME NIGHT 10/8: Waialua/McKinley

McKinley's Noah-Rodnie Diaz fielded the opening kickoff of the Tigers' OIA opener against Roosevelt last month. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
McKinley’s Noah-Rodnie Diaz fielded the opening kickoff of the Tigers’ OIA opener against Roosevelt last month. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

A modest three games on the schedule today on Oahu.

Waialua (3-2, 3-2) attempts to stay in the thick of the OIA Division II race against McKinley (0-6, 0-5).

HISTORY: McKinley leads the series 3-2 and won the last meeting 42-6 in 2011.


Live updates of the 4 p.m. kickoff will follow below.

FINAL
Waialua 33, McKinley 8.
Waialua improves to 4-2 in OIA D-II.

Boxscore
At Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium
Waialua (4-2, 4-2) 7 13 7 6 — 33
McKinley (0-7, 0-6) 0 0 0 8 — 8
WAI—Lancen Kuni 33 pass from Tevesi Toia (Matthan Hatchie kick)
WAI—Hatchie blocked punt and recovery in end zone (Hatchie kick)
WAI—Kuni 34 fumble return (kick failed)
WAI—Kuni 8 pass from Toia (Hatchie kick)
MCK—Noah Diaz 11 pass from Elyjah Badua (Diaz pass from Badua)
WAI—Howard Nahooikaika 1 run (kick failed)

RUSHING—Waialua: Risein Campbell 9-10, Toia 3-36, Nahooikaika 4-(-1), Kuni 1-20. McKinley: Semion Palik 11-16, Badua 9-(-13), Diaz 4-14, Sonee Taylor 1-(-9).

PASSING—Waialua: Toia 16-24-3—134. McKinley: Badua 20-34-0—166.

RECEIVING—Waialua: Kuni 5-56, Campbell 1-(-3), Darin Valmoja-Khleang 3-43, Caleb Apau 4-19, Kyler Dicion 1-7, Justin Cabato-Yacapin 1-4, Hunter Nery 1-8. McKinley: Taylor 2-9, Diaz 6-53, Braxton Lane 5-56, Palik 3-15, Leonard Phillip 3-16, Emilio Paul 1-17.

FOURTH QUARTER
Howard Nahooikaika scores on a 1-yard run for Waialua. WAIL 33, MCK 8, 3:50.

Here come the Tigers! Nice drive covering 64 yards in eight plays. Elyjah Badua to Noah Diaz for a nice 11-yard TD. PAT, Badua to Diaz again. WAIL 27, MCK 8, 9:30.

THIRD QUARTER
The quarter ends with Waialua still in hurry-up (sort of) mode, driving toward midfield. McKinley is passing the ball with efficiency. QB Elyjah Badua is 14-for-23, 80 yards, no picks. But they haven’t done anything in the red zone when they get there. Still, the Tigers have come a long, long way since Week 1 of preseason games.

Waialua goes hurry-up mode and scores on its second series of the second half. Toia escapes the pass rush and fires an 8-yard TD pass to Kuni, who is having quite a game. That’s two TD catches and a fumble return for another TD. WAIL 27, MCK 0, 5:18.

HALFTIME
At Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium
Waialua 7 13 — 20
McKinley 0 0 — 0
WAI—Lancen Kuni 33 pass from Tevesi Toia (Matthan Hatchie kick)
WAI—Hatchie blocked punt and recovery in end zone (Hatchie kick)
WAI—Kuni 34 fumble return (kick failed)

The first half ends on a sour note for the Tigers, who are playing solid defense, but these trickeration attempts just aren’t being executed. Waialua’s offense has scored just six points, but the Bulldogs are getting it done in all three phases.


SECOND QUARTER
Tigers complete a first-down pass for 9 yards, and after a procedure call, they try another trick play. The lateral pass to a WR is too low and he short hops it, then stops playing as if it was an incomplete pass. A Waialua defender pops him and the ball goes loose. Cornerback Lancen Kuni scoops up the ball and races 34 yards down the right sideline for another Waialua touchdown. That’s two TDs on special teams and defense. PAT is wide left. WAIL 20, MCK 0, :24.

The teams exchange punts. Two by the Tigers, one by the Bulldogs. Then Waialua turns it over again. A big hit in the secondary by Leonard Phillip and the Waialua receiver can’t haul it in, and there’s Samuelu there for his second interception. He returns it a few yards near the sideline and is hit, injured. Tough break. He’s down for about 5 minutes and the Tigers are in shock. They lost a key player last week, Noah Lowe, to injury.

Tigers offense sputters, another punt. BLOCKED! Matthan Hatchie with the block and recovery in the end zone. He’s got to be related to former Waialua great Micah Hatchie (UW). Mathan Hatchie spikes the ball! That’s a penalty enforced on the kickoff. Big man with great skills. He also kicks and punts. WAIL 14, MCK 0, 9:50.

Waialua takes over at the McKinley 25, but two plays later, another interception thrown by Toia. LB Ezekiel Samuelu with excellent coverage and the pick in the end zone. Touchback. The pick is the first play of the second quarter and it’s a huge one for the Tigers. I like their defense. Swarming. Responsible.

FIRST QUARTER

Tigers go three-and-out after a pair of sacks by Waialua’s Dayton Lee. Punt.

Bulldogs drive 41 yards and score on a fourth-and-23 bomb from Tevesi Toia to Lancen Kuni, who’s wide open near the left pylon. WAIL 7, MCK 0, 2:26.

McKinley stalls despite a couple of quick completions to start the series. Punt. Or not. Tigers try a trick play, man in motion loops back next to the punter and goes in a 3-point stance facing the makai sideline. Punter drops the snap and is sacked.

The Tigers go three-and-out with the opening series and punts. Waialua returns to the McKinley 34, but a personal foul them back to the 49, still great field position, but the Tigers’ Kepo‘o Anina, a spectacular diving grab off the hands of a Waialua receiver.

PRE-GAME
It is a sweltering afternoon at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium. As always, the fortress of concrete bleacher seats coupled with a lack of trade winds makes the temperature in these parts somewhere above 90, perhaps 95 degrees. That should taper once we get toward halftime, but it’s going to be warm and challenging for the Bulldogs and Tigers down on that synthetic turf.

One day, there may be a turf that has a cooling factor underneath the surface. Until then, that synthetic stuff plus the rubber granules do their work plus absorbing heat. Grass may be tough to upkeep, but it doesn’t absorb heat quite like this stuff.


Oh, and McKinley, the home team, is dressed in black from top to bottom. Goldenrod yellow numbers, digital style font. Waialua is in red helmets and red pants, white and black piping down the sides, white jerseys with red numbers, black trim with WAIALUA on the chest. Waialua has the better win-loss record, but my super-duper source at the Ticky tells me the Tigers of McKinley gave Pearl City a tough time last week. They’re playing much more cohesively in this second season. I’m glad to see them again for the first time since Week 1, when McKinley lost to Pac-Five.

Waialua? I haven’t seen them yet this season, so this is a treat. Lincoln Barit is one of the most enduring coaches in the state, sticking it through every up and down for his Bulldogs. They need this win to maximize their chances of making the OIA D-II playoffs. Pearl City’s loss to Kaimuki yesterday, I’m fairly certain, sent a jolt through the entire division.

The Waialua Bulldogs came a long way for this OIA Division II battle with upset-minded McKinley.
The Waialua Bulldogs came a long way for this OIA Division II battle with upset-minded McKinley.
The McKinley Tigers are improving week by week and would love to spoil Waialua's stretch run.
The McKinley Tigers are improving week by week and would love to spoil Waialua’s stretch run.
Hamburger curry is one of the enduring and tasty staples at the concession stand of Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.
Hamburger curry is one of the enduring and tasty staples at the concession stand of Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.

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