Kailua head coach Joe Wong was anticipating a classic heavyweight bout and he got what he asked for against Waianae.
The Seariders (7-2) ran the ball 58 times and rolled up 308 rushing yards in a 37-22 dumping of the Surfriders at Waianae’s Raymond Torii Field on Friday night, leaving Wong and the Windward-side bunch in the losing corner before a long, quiet, 40-mile bus ride home.
Several times, the Seariders’ line plowed big holes up the middle, but most of the time, the 10 Waianae ball carriers in the option offense went off tackle and it took two, three or more defenders to take them down. Many times, with the Waianae runners still on their feet, Kailua had to resort to tackling by the jersey to swing them down.
They just weren’t going to go down easy in the Oahu Interscholastic Association football quarterfinals.
“That’s our theme — to get as many yards as possible,” running back Javen Towne said after carrying the ball 16 times for 86 yards.
A pressure defense kept Kailua quarterback Noah Auld off balance. He wound up fumbling twice, losing one, and getting intercepted three times. Those turnovers were costly.
Waianae first-year head coach Walter Young said the plan was to shorten the game by running the ball. It worked. Afterward, he said they “ran the ball fairly well.”
Quite the understatement.
On the losing side, Kailua defensive end Christian Mejia was asked what the Surfriders (7-3) could have done better, and he said, simply, “Stop the run.”
Auld finished with three touchdown passes, but Kailua did not have its usual balanced offense clicking. Aside from the four turnovers and three TDs, the Surfriders’ other six possessions ended in punts (twice), on downs (twice), a safety, and the halftime whistle,
One of the biggest plays of the game occurred early in the third quarter, when Waianae punter Makana Roque Gonzales booted a 44-yarder that pinned Kailua at its 1, leading to the safety and a 23-14 lead.
An 86-yard drive led to Kade Ambrocio‘s 3-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter, and Toto Mailo‘s 27-yard interception return for a TD basically sealed the game at 37-14, even though Kailua came back with eight more points.
The Seariders play either Mililani or Moanalua next week in the semifinals and Towne knows the challenge will likely be a tougher one.
“We’ll have to come out stronger and play harder,” he said.
No one knows what the result will be, but at least one thing is certain: Waianae won’t go down easy, and that goes not only for its running backs but also for the whole team, which — as is usually the case with the Seariders throughout the years — is committed to playing four quarters of “coming-right-at-you” football.
Mejia, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound defensive end who had a sack, two other tackles for loss and an interception, did not think Kailua’s season would end this early.
“I thought we could have made it farther,” he said. “So now, we have to concentrate on doing that next year.”