By Paul Honda
Keoni Napierala-Rose rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns as eighth-ranked Waianae returned to its smashmouth roots yesterday en route to a 41-21 win over No. 7 Kapolei at Raymond Torii Field.
Napierala-Rose, who converted from quarterback to fullback this season, scored on runs of 11, 61 and 32 yards as Waianae (2-0, 1-0 OIA Red West) took command of the line of scrimmage.
Kapolei (1-1, 0-1 OIA Red West) kept it interesting by rallying in the second quarter, but was shut out in the second half.
It was a straightforward challenge from Waianae, which threw the ball 34 times in a loss to Saint Louis last week. This time, the Seariders rushed for 225 yards on 48 attempts and passed only 11 times.
They did it with a makeshift offensive line. Starters Justin Molina (right tackle) and Aaron Makue (right guard) were joined by backups Derek Uelese, Marley Tau and Sean Asberry after injury and academic probation hit the front five.
“Just regular Waianae football,” Molina said. “Kapolei is our rival. They’re closest to us.”
Napierala-Rose didn’t downplay the intensity level of the rivalry.
“You just gotta be ready to play them. It’s always a dogfight,” the 215-pound senior said.
Waianae, which won last year’s matchup at Torii Field 34-0, came out determined to control the line of scrimmage. Operating mostly out of the traditional Wing-T formation, the Seariders turned the ball over by fumble and interception on their first two possessions, but Kapolei failed to take advantage.
Waianae’s first four series seemed lifeless until quarterback Puletua Wilson ran the option to the right out of a spread set. The junior cut back and raced 67 yards to set up an 11-yard touchdown run up the middle by Napierala-Rose. Waianae led 7-0 with 3:15 left in the first quarter.
Kapolei’s run-and-shoot spread offense faltered until the second quarter, when Noah Pascua pitched to Elijah Tagura for a 49-yard run. Two plays later, Pascua snuck in from the 1 to tie the game with 8:29 left in the second quarter.
The Seariders answered on the next possession. A 43-yard kickoff return by Eldridge Kuiee shortened the field, and a 19-yard strike from Wilson to Terrence Akao on third down moved the chains. Reverting back to a shotgun trips formation — one of their run-and-shoot looks from last week — Wilson found Brian Paul Manuel wide open for a 19-yard touchdown pass, and Waianae led 14-7 with 4:24 to go in the first half.
Kapolei needed just 2 minutes and 42 seconds to score again. Pascua hit four passes in a row before Keaka Fernandez exploded up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown run out of an I-slot set, tying the score at 14 with 1:42 left in the half.
A botched snap on Waianae’s ensuing play from scrimmage pushed the ball back to the 5-yard line. After a punt, Kapolei took over on the Waianae 43-yard line with 1:07 to go before intermission and seemed out of luck when Pascua was shackled on third and long. However, a late hit against Waianae gave the visitors a first down, and Pascua connected with Donny King for a 24-yard touchdown pass on a deep out to give Kapolei its first lead of the game. Eric Morales’ PAT kick made it 21-14 with 10 seconds to go in the half.
The Seariders opened the second half with far better success than the first.
Napierala-Rose broke off a 61-yard jaunt up the middle for a quick touchdown to tie the game at 21-all.
After a Kapolei three and out, Waianae needed only five plays to drive 58 yards. Napierala-Rose kept pummeling inside, while Wilson found Henry Correa-Young for a 25-yard gain. Medeiros capped the drive with a 13-yard run around left tackle out of the Wing T, and Waianae led 27-21 with 7:59 to go in the third quarter.
Waianae’s defense collected its third fumble recovery of the game on a giveaway by Pascua. Kalei Hinsley’s recovery led to a 32-yard scoring run off right tackle by Napierala-Rose, and Waianae led 33-21 with 10:45 remaining.
After another Kapolei three and out, Waianae’s smashmouth effort proved effective again. Medeiros scored easily from 7 yards out around left tackle to put Waianae ahead 41-21 with 5:51 left, and Kapolei never threatened again.
“Their (defensive) rush wasn’t as hard,” Molina said of the second half.
Napierala-Rose credited the staff.
“You seen us, they coached us right,” he said.
Waianae overcame a multitude of penalties in the first half: seven for 35 yards.
Only two more flags for 15 yards followed in the second half.
Pascua was picked off three times in the second half and finished 14-for-31 for 114 yards.
Kapolei safety Shaydon Akuna did not play due to hip and hamstring injuries.
No. 5 Kamehameha 34, Kailua 2
The Warriors received 97 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries from shifty running back Ryan Ho, while teammate Kupono Park rushed for two more scores in a trouncing of the Surfriders.
Blaise Cuban chipped in another Kamehameha score after taking a lateral from Ho, reversing field, and rumbling 35 yards.
The Warriors amassed 158 yards on the ground while a stifling defense held four Kailua rushers to a combined minus-23 yards.
Kailua receiver Corey Lau racked up a game-high six catches for 97 yards. Surfriders gunslinger Kahaku Iaea completed 12 of 21 passes for 136 yards, while three Kamehameha quarterbacks combined to throw for 73 yards and two interceptions.
Castle 42, No. 9 ‘Iolani 21
Jaymason Lee passed for 216 yards and Garrett Paredes ran for two touchdowns and 72 yards, and the host Black Knights scored twice on the ground in the fourth quarter to turn back the Raiders.
Lee connected on 23 of 32 passes and hooked up with Shaydon Kehano for two first-half touchdowns.
Castle led 28-21 at the end of the third quarter, before Timothy Torres scored on a 21-yard touchdown run and Jaysen Ferreira punched in a 1-yard run to provide the winning margin.
Moanalua 35, Kalaheo 26
Na Menehune took out the Mustangs with a late-game comeback, scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter. Adam Francisco led the charge for Moanalua, throwing for two touchdowns and 93 yards on 5-for-11 passing and another score on the ground.
No. 1 Saint Louis 35, Kaimuki 7
Campbell 21, Waipahu 0
Kaiser 35, Waialua 26