Six games on Oahu are scheduled for Friday night. The OIA enters the first week of divisional play after the seven cross-division matchups last week, plus there’s a very intriguing Division II game at Leilehua featuring two teams that might see each other again in the state tournament.
Moanalua has done its best to be balanced offensively. QB Alakai Yuen and backup Ezra Grace have accounted for 53 of the team’s 54 pass attempts after two games. Moanalua’s running backs, led by Kea Rodrigues, have gotten 44 carries. However, that includes 13 runs by Yuen, who can be crafty and slinky when he scrambles out of the pocket. Coach Savaii Eselu would probably prefer to see his offensive line grind out a steady rushing attack, the better to keep the ball out of the hands of Waianae’s potent offense. Besides, if Yuen ends up throwing the ball more than 30 times — Ryan Ramones (16 receptions, 344 yards, six TDs) has been his favorite target — there might be one too many chances for the ferocious Searider defense to get clean lanes to the QB.
One of those playmakers up front is defensive end Kanai Mauga, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior who has scholarship offers from Hawaii and Oregon State. It won’t be about Mauga, though, or anything else that distracts the big, red “W” from anything but unity.
Waianae’s mastery of the traditional Wing-T option attack and four-wide shotgun spread is real. Personnel matchups are a real issue for any defense facing QB Jaren Ulu and a seasoned offensive unit. Five Seariders have carried the ball at least seven times, including Rico Rosario (173 yards, two TDs).
Ulu, a second-year starter, has modest numbers so far: 229 passing yards, two passing TDs, 34 rushing yards and one rushing TD. But he is the maestro of this orchestra, and two very good defenses have yet to deny him. Waianae is averaging 25.5 points per game.
History: Moanalua has beaten Waianae only once, going out west and beating the Seariders 30-23, and the Seariders needed overtime to overcome Na Menehune last year … Waianae leads the series 13-1 … Waianae has not started 3-0 since 2013 … Michael Feliciano gained 129 yards on the ground against Waianae last year, the first time Na Menehune had a running back go over 100 yards against them … The Seariders have never had successive games against Na Menehune with a running back going over the century mark, Jorell Pontes-Borje had 100 against them last year.
Live updates of the 7:30 p.m. kickoff will follow below:
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Sunny, breezy late afternoon here at Raymond Torii Field on the campus of Waianae High School. Yes, there are noni trees here. Robust noni trees.
The JV game kicked off a minute early (4:59 p.m.). Varsity kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Editor Jerry “Mad Librarian” Campany sends this spiffy bit of info:
Live stream of tonight’s game by Seariders Productions.
No surprises that I can see. Both teams warming up. JV game: Waianae 50, Moanalua 25.
The visitors gave it a good effort, but Waianae had too much balance and finished with 319 rushing yards in a 47-31 in. It’s a wrap.
Yuen to Ramones for a pretty 25-yard deep pass near the right pylon on fourth down. WAIN 47, MOA 31, 3:53.
First play after the kick return, Yuen’s deep pass is hoisted by DB Tony Cabral, and the junior weaves from the right sideline to the left, the cuts back against the grain for a smooth 62-yard touchdown return/pick-6. WAIN 47, MOA 25, 11:17.
There will be some delays here. We’re on the rooftop of this pressbox and it is RAINING. Not good for laptops and cameras.
After a pass interference call on Moanalua, Ulu finds Jorell Pontes-Borje on a rollout pass to the left, 13-yard TD pass. PAT misses. WAIN 40, MOA 25, 11:42.
Waianae punt pins Moanalua at its 1-yard line, but an encroachment call helps the visitors get out of the hole. Yuen is picked off by Dayton Walker, who saw an earlier interception nullified by penalty. Third quarter ends with Waianae at the Moanalua 24, third and long.
Third and goal from the 4, Yuen to Brandon Bender, to jukes past his defender to the left pylon. WAIN 34, MOA 25, 4:07.
This came moments after a roughing-the-passer call on fourth down kept Moanalua’s drive alive. On the ensuing kickoff, Mauga returns nicely up the middle, then fumbles. Moanalua recovers, but goes three and out. Then Yuen, the punter, fumbles and Waianae recovers at the Moanalua 45.
Waianae’s Brandon Hattori sacks Yuen on the next series, the third of the game by the Searider defense. Three and out. Seariders offense drives to the Moanalua 32 in the final minute of the half before coming up short on fourth and 1. Then Kanai Mauga sacks Yuen for a loss of 17. Yuen scrambles 39 yards on the final play of the half, getting past midfield, but the Seariders had him cutoff. Had to wonder if he was going to risk getting hurt, but he wisely ran out of bounds. Half ends with Waianae up 34-18.
Waianae goes 69 yards in five plays to score again. This time it’s Javen Towne right up the middle for a 33-yard TD run. Their defense has adjusted since that first Moanalua series and offensively, they’re dominating in the box. WAIN 34, MOA 18, 4:52.
After Moanalua cuts the lead to 20-18, Waianae needs just three plays to drive 59 yards for a touchdown. Jorell Pontes-Borje scoots around left end on a counter and his second effort breaks a tackle for a 39-yard scoring run. WAIN 27, MOA 18, 7:33.
Yuen guides his team 53 yards in seven plays, all through the air except for a 3-yard scramble to the left pylon. Yuen’s TD cuts the lead to two, but his PAT pass is incomplete. WAIN 20, MOA 18, 8:25.
Seariders bounce right back with a four-play, 76-yard drive aided by a Moanalua facemask call. Rosario bursts up the middle and shifts nicely to the left pylon for a 32-yard TD run. WAIN 20, MOA 12, 10:25.
Begins with Moanalua to punt on its fourth series. Waianae begins its series with a screen pass, but Ambrosio breaks off from his blockers to the middle of the field and fumbles. Tre’quan Henderson forces the fumble and Kea Rodrigues returns the ball 41 yards for a Moanalua TD. Yuen misses the PAT wide right, Waianae still leads. WAIN 13, MOA 12, 11:34.
Moanalua struggling the past two possessions as Waianae brings heat. Since that 10-for-12 start, Yuen is 2-for-8 and Moanalua has gone to a double-tight end, wingback formation. Only two running routes. Big change but they didn’t have much choice. Yuen was starting to take a beating.
First play after the fourth-down incompletion, Waianae calls a screen pass to Rosario and he reads his blockers perfectly for a 77-yard TD up the left sideline. PAT misses. WAIN 13, MOA 6, :50.
Another Waianae facemask penalty, the third, on the ensuing kickoff. And on the next play, another facemask. Yuen has Na Menehune driving again. Third and 6 at the Waianae 14, Coach Eselu calls time out. 2:05 left in the first quarter.
Yuen sacked and its fourth and long. Yuen chased out of the pocket and his deep pass is incomplete. Waianae ball.
The teams exchange punts, then Waianae grinds out a nice drive. Kade Ambrosio’s 20-yard run on a counter caps a six-play, 81-yard march. PAT is good. WAIN 7, MOA 6, 3:50.
Yuen is hot, 8-for-10 on the first series, and hits Ryan Ramones on a right corner pass for a 3-yard TD pass. Yuen’s PAT kick fails. MOA 6, WAIN 0, 8:25.
Two facemask penalties helped Moanalua on that drive.
Waianae wins the toss and elects to defer. Moanalua will receive the kickoff facing the north end zone. 7:44 p.m.