Five games on Oahu Friday night are highlighted by the showdown up North between the top two ranked teams in the OIA.
Live updates of the 7:30 p.m. kickoff will follow below:
No. 1 Kahuku 28, No. 4 Waianae 0, FINAL
Kahuku shuts out Waianae for the third time in two years. I don’t think Waianae ran a play in Kahuku territory the entire game. Final: No. 1 Kahuku 28, No. 4 Waianae 0.
GOOD NIGHT. Kesi Ah-Hoy comes flying off the end and sacks Ulu, punching the ball away in the process. Sioeli Naupoto scoops it up in the end zone and it’s a touchdown for Kahuku. 28-0.
Now Waianae junior DB Sireadan Sana is banged up. Waianae whistled for a personal foul as it gets frustrated. One of the underrated aspects of these Kahuku teams under Tata is they just don’t hurt themselves. You don’t see many turnovers or flags. Harmon Brown 11-yard TD run. Kahuku leads 21-0.
Ulu misses a receiver as two rushers barrel in on him. Waianae, with only four first downs all game, has to punt. Kahuku has dominated the time of possession.
More great kick coverage by Kahuku, which is so well coached. And now Ambrocio is down for Waianae. Seariders losing some key players quickly. Waianae continues to try to pound away on the ground but just not much there. Third quarter ends. That’s 11 quarters Waianae has failed to score a point against a Vavae Tata-coached Kahuku defense.
Kahuku starts near its 35. Vakapuna with a tough run of 8 yards on second down. Kid is a real difference maker for Kahuku. He bobbles the snap on first down though and it backs Kahuku up. Third-and-9. Maiava with a strike to Vakapuna and it’s a first down. Another strike from Maiava to Dowling. Lombard with a rough run up the middle and Kahuku is starting to wear down Waianae’s front seven it looks like. Inside the Waianae 25 now. Now Jean Paul Kefu comes in for a nice run. Kahuku pounding away and now Waianae DB Tony Cabral is down. Kahuku with a false start and a delay of game penalty inside the 10 but it doesn’t matter. Vakapuna with a 9-yard TD run to give the Red Raiders a 14-0 lead late in the third quarter.
Kade Ambrocio gets a chance to return a kick but is bottled up at the 18. Only a 16-yard return and Brandon Hattori is down for Waianae. Hattori has to be helped off by teammates. Looks like his right leg. Can’t put any pressure on it. Waianae starts on its 18. Ah You stops Towne for 2 yards. A personal foul gives Waianae a first down but the Seariders have to punt.
Rico Rosario finally finds some space and he picks up 13 yards up the middle. Not sure how much time is left but can’t be much. Incomplete pass and now it’s halftime.
Kahuku starts on the Waianae 41. Francis Mailo in on the stop on Brown for no gain. Mailo with another tackle to force third-and-long. Elvis Vakapuna gets pass on crossing route over the middle and takes it 12 yards. Big first-down conversion on third-and-long. Vakapuna now on the handoff and he picks up 12 more near the 15. Elvis Vakapuna making a difference on offense and he bumps it outside and races for the 11-yard TD run. Kahuku takes advantage of the failed fake punt by Waianae to score first. 7-0 Kahuku.
Waianae will start at its own 42. Probably halfway through the second quarter. Scoreboard still not functioning. Naupoto with another stop of Rosario, whose helmet comes off. Third down pass is incomplete as the pressure got to Ulu, who took a hit from Miki Ah You. Punt coming. Nope. Pontes-Borje decides to run instead of kick and Kaniho is all over it. That didn’t have a chance. Kahuku ball with good field position in Waianae territory.
Brown with a 7-yard rush. Brame with a huge stop on the tackle. Those Waianae DB’s can hit. Viliamu forces Maiava to throw it away and Kahuku will punt but there could be a roughing-the-kicker call. It’s only the 5-yard variety so it’s fourth-and-4.
Ulu finds Isaiah Freeney and the Seariders pick up their second first down of the drive. LB Sioeli Naupoto with the big stop to force third-and-long. Ulu throws a bomb and Stokes Nihipali-Botelho makes the pick around the Kahuku 25.
Waianae ball on the 20. Jorell Pontes-Borje with a 10-yard run. Ah-Hoy with the tackle but it’s a first down. First quarter ends.
Harmon Brown right up the gut for a big gainer and he’s already got 31 yards on five carries. Kahuku already close to the Waianae 30. Seariders stuff two runs to force third-and-long. Maiava rolls out to his left and has a receiver wide open but the throw is nowhere close and almost picked by Elijah Brame. Kahuku punts.
Waianae starts on its 35. Seariders go backwards on first drive as Aliki Vimahi sacks Jaren Ulu on third down. Waianae loses 13 yards on its first drive.
Waianae holds Kekaula Kaniho to a 1-yard return. Kahuku will start on its 28. Frosh Sol-Jay Maiava starts at QB for Kahuku. Waianae caught for an illegal substitution before the first play. Now a sideline warning for Kahuku. Maiava goes deep on the first play but Tony Cabral knocks it away. He has been great for Waianae all year. Steven Lombard gets the first carry for 5 yards. Lots of confusion. Kahuku goes for it early on fourth-and-2 from its 45. Kesi Ah-Hoy in at QB and he gets 4 yards for a first down. Kahuku nearly fumbled a delayed handoff but big runs by Maiava (10 yards) and Brown (14 yards) move ball deep into Waianae territory. Josiah Viliamu stuffs Brown for a loss and Maiava is short on the pass on third down. Stokes Nihipali-Botelho tries a 37-yard field goal but it’s partly tipped. Kahuku whistled for a personal foul to add to injury. Waianae takes over. 14-play drive. No points for Red Raiders.
Game is a bit delayed because of the JV game. We’ll kick around 7:40 p.m. Scoreboard is out.
JV FINAL—Kahuku 34, Waianae 13
Series history: Kahuku leads the series 26-13-1 since the OIA expanded in 1970, with the Red Raiders taking the last 15 meetings dating back to 2000 when Lono Manners and Peter Sarono led the Seariders to a 12-7 win at Aloha Stadium. Even though this matchup always figures to be run heavy, Waianae has not had a running back go for more than 100 yards against Kahuku since Duane Miller went for 114 way back in 1998, a span of 18 games, and hasn’t had a receiver go over 100 since Ikaika Gilman in 1995. Kahuku has historically had no problem running on the Seariders, getting a back over 100 yards in four of the past five matchups including Kesi Ah-Hoy in the last two. Kahuku hasn’t had a receiver gain more than 100 yards since Punga Vea in 2000. The last time Waianae traveled to Kahuku it put a scare into the Red Raiders until allowing Aofaga Wily to score with 2:32 left for a 14-10 win. Kahuku has eight shutouts in the series, Waianae has six.
Billy Hull: How does “The Crunch Bowl” sound?
Paul Honda: This summer/fall, No. 1 Kahuku has simply not been tested yet. After landing eight players on the Star-Advertiser All-State first team for defense last year, the Red Raiders have dominated against Leilehua and Aiea. Defensive end Aliki Vimahi (6-4, 250), who has 11 scholarship offers, is among the standouts in the unit.
What Waianae’s offense offers is a bit different from what Kahuku has seen in past years: more depth at most positions across the board. Behind a gargantuan, yet agile offensive line — 6-foot-1, 325-pound senior guard Mililani Misipati has been sensational as a pulling blocker — the Seariders have employed multiple ballcarriers out of the Wing-T and four-wide offenses. Rico Rosario (297 yards, three TDs), Javen Towne (131 yards, TD), Kade Ambrocio (147 yards, three TDs) and Jorell Pontes-Borje have been durable and fresh.
Without a dominant tight end, the Seariders have been efficient through the air. Senior Jaren Ulu’s poise is a big key. Ulu has passed for 374 yards and four TDs with just two interceptions. He has a tall, skilled target in Isaiah Freeney (10 receptions, 130 yards, one TD) who is one of the best big wide receivers in the league. Rosario was a blur on a 77-yard screen pass for a touchdown last week against Moanalua.
Offensively, Kahuku freshman quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava (15-for-31, 192 passing yards, two TDs, no picks) has able pass catchers in Royce Pao (six receptions, 98 yards, two TDs), Kai‘ea Dowling (four, 54) and Elvis Vakapuna (four, 47, one TD). Defensive back/linebacker Kesi Ah-Hoy (three, 36) will probably see more action than usual on offense, the custom for Kahuku’s finest athletes in games like this.
Maiava, who has a scholarship offer from Michigan, has the blessing of a skilled, massive offensive line and steady producers in the backfield. Harmon Brown (135 yards, two TDs) and Steven Lombard (97 yards, three TDs) have toted the pigskin most for an offense that has tilted less heavily on running the ball. The ratio, however, is still more than 2-to-1, rushing to passing.
There is no statistic to measure what goes on in the trenches, the will to dominate at the point of contact, and the moment either side gives in, that’s usually when a game between behemoths will turn.
Coach Vavae Tata, who did not return calls to comment about the game, is 15-0 since taking charge of Kahuku’s program. In all, the Red Raiders as a group have 32 scholarship offers. All-State cornerback Kekaula Kaniho received an offer from Boise State on Saturday, his eighth. Vimahi got his 11th offer on Sunday, from UCLA.
USA Today moved Kahuku into its Top 25 this week at No. 25.