Moanalua defensive back Tre’quan Henderson knew Aiea was going to air it out Friday.
He was most definitely up for the challenge.
Henderson had four interceptions, including one in the end zone on the final play of the game, and Ezra Grace caught two touchdown passes as Moanalua defeated host Aiea 31-27 for its first victory of the season.
“I was just listening to my defensive back coach and he told me just stay in coverage, don’t let anyone get behind me and pick the ball off when I see it go in the air,” Henderson said.
Moanalua’s Grifin Motas made a 23-yard field goal with 1:07 remaining to put his team up by four. On the drive, quarterback Nick Au completed a 29-yard pass to Michael Kim on fourth-and-8, which put the ball on the 5-yard line.
Aiea came right back and quickly moved the ball into the red zone. On the final play, Henderson picked off a Ty Matsunami pass and ran around in the end zone as time expired.
“Tre’quan did a great job tonight,” said Moanalua coach Savai’i Eselu. “He was definitely a ball-hawk tonight and the game ball’s definitely going to him. He understands the game and he understands coverages and it worked out very well in his favor.”
Moanalua improved to 1-5 overall, 1-4 OIA D-I. Aiea fell to 2-4, 2-4.
“It feels good to finally win a game. We were 0-5 so it feels good,” Henderson said.
Aiea’s Wendell Say, in his 27th season as coach, conceded: “They scouted us well. We were out-coached.”
Na Menehune’s defense intercepted six passes and recovered a Na Alii fumble. Moanalua’s Jordan Kimura and Micah Kim also had interceptions against Matsunami, who completed 22 of 44 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns.
“He started off very well,” Say said. “Once he started throwing interceptions, he started forcing the ball and trying to make things happen, and it didn’t.”
Henderson’s first interception, Kim’s pick and Chad Mann Jr.‘s fumble recovery all set up Moanalua touchdowns.
Au, the Moanalua quarterback, went 28-for-44 for 316 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“I didn’t expect it,” Au said of the number of pass attempts. “I just trusted my receivers and linemen.”
Na Menehune took major chances in the first half. They ran two hook-and-laterals that went for big gains, executed a successful fake punt and threw deep on fourth-and-1 from their 35, which fell incomplete.
“We told our kids expect anything,” Say said. “When you don’t have a win, you want to get into the playoffs, you are going to do what you have to do to win.”
Na Alii only ran a couple of designed running plays in the game. Matsunami rushed nine times for 49 yards with most of the attempts coming on scrambles.
“Our running backs have had a lot of injuries and stuff,” Say said. “If we could balance the game a little bit more, it would help. But we have to go with what we have.”
Aiea’s Babu Capanang had a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown with 6:03 remaining to cut Moanalua’s lead to 28-27, but the PAT kick failed.