It wasn’t very pretty, but Kailua found a way to start a second straight season off with a victory under coach Joseph Wong.
The host Surfriders prevailed 16-13 over Moanalua on Saturday night, relying heavily on their defense and some timely plays by senior Mark Lagazo on offense.
“We’re missing some (ineligible) guys, we come back full strength next week,” Wong said. “I told them, it’s going to be a hard-fought battle tonight, regardless of whoever we play. Hold tight together as one, and we got out of here with a W. That’s all that matters.”
Until the last two years, season-opening wins had been elusive for Kailua; prior to 2015, it lost five straight in its debut. Now the Surfriders are looking to continue their momentum under Wong — 0-7 in 2014 to 7-3 in 2015.
Last week’s scrimmage against Aiea was initially supposed to be Kailua’s opener, but because Aiea has another nonconference game at Centennial (Ore.) lined up on Sept. 2, it had to be changed to a scrimmage, Wong said.
Saturday was Keoni Serikawa‘s debut as starting quarterback coming off three years of Noah Auld at the controls. You could tell Serikawa wasn’t comfortable yet, as he had to tuck and run repeatedly. But he avoided throwing any picks and finished with 105 yards on 7-for-12 passing.
Judging by Saturday’s game, Lagazo will be counted on as a versatile threat all season. He rolled up 100 yards on the ground on 24 carries, including a score. He also caught three passes for 82 yards, including the catch of the game, a one-handed snare over the middle that he took 54 yards. He also had another rushing touchdown nullified by a penalty.
Lagazo became the Surfriders’ backup quarterback when junior Aaron Mejia broke a collarbone in the Aiea scrimmage, Wong said. Lagazo even lined up at cornerback on defense.
“He’s all-everything for us,” Wong said. “The ‘S’ that we got on our hats aren’t for Superman. That’s for Surfriders. And we bleed blue and he bleeds blue. That’s what he showed today. You ask anything of him, he’s going to do it.”
Moanalua quarterback Alakai Yuen threw two second-half touchdowns after sitting out the first half for team reasons. But Kailua did enough to slow him down, forcing a fumble on him in the Na Menehune end zone that turned out to be the difference in the game.
Up next for Kailua is Farrington at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.