Finally approaching kickoff for the varsity game. The JV game had a wild second half. The JV Mules rallied from a 20-6 deficit for a 32-28 win.
Kalani Takase is reporting that Waianae’s starting QB, Jaren Ulu, will sit the first half for disciplinary reasons.
Quinn Searle, a 6-foot-2, 145-pound junior, started at QB for the Seariders. Both teams have punted on their opening series. WAIN has the ball back at its 30. Searle fumbles for the second time to start a possession. Learning on the job. Tough gig, but big opportunity for him.
Second series, both teams punt again. LEI did something interesting during the first series, huddling on second down and then doing a hurry-up, no-huddle to pick up a first down that was called back by illegal block. The Mules apparently will be selectively no-huddle.
LEI’s defense is swarming on WAIN’s ground game. That’s due to Ulu’s absence for the most part.
Huge break for WAIN. Chavison Kalamau picked off a floater over the middle deep and returned it 24 yards to the LEI 6. But the Seariders stalled, even after inserting another QB, Jorell Pontes-Borje. A 24-yard FG try was wide left and way short.
The Seariders break the scoring drought. Royce Carrick hauls in an easy 20-yard TD pass from Pontes-Borje for the lead. It was a simple play-action on third and 6 out of Waianae’s single-wing look. Carrick was absolutely wide open, just a pure bust. WAIN 7, LEI 0, 8:53.
The Mules are resilient, driving 56 yards with the help of two 15-yard penalties by the visitors. Connor Murakami drills a 21-yard FG. WAIN 7, LEI 3, 6:40.
I wouldn’t call this a quarterback controversy, but Pontes-Borje is playing well. No turnovers, crisp on all his handoffs and throws. Playing with authority. Waianae rammed the ball downfield bit by bit before Pontes-Borje delivered a deep corner pass that was ruled pass interference. On the next play, Leilehua has eight in the box when Pontes-Borje hits Isaiah Freeney on a quick post route for a 19-yard TD play. WAIN 14, LEI 3, 2:29.
Clutch response by the Mules, who drive 55 yards in seven plays. Another 15-yard penalty on Waianae proves crucial: a roughing-the-passer flag on a second-down completion by QB Kona Andres. That play and pen took the ball from the 30 to the 11, and Andres found Jadan Gilliland on a nicely-executed pass play. The entire play went right, and the RB, Gilliland, was wide open on the left side, scoring untouched. WAIN 14, LEI 10, :33.
Explosive drives by each team to start the second half. The Seariders get an interception by Daylen Weber, who returns the ball 15 yards to the Mules 22. Ulu is in the game, as expected, and delivers with a 20-yard option keeper for a first down to the LEI 2. Two plays later, Javen Towne scores from the 1. WAIN 21, LEI 10, 10:15.
The Mules get a 63-yard kickoff return on a squibber by Elijah Kahoopi. Two plays later, Andres finds Ty Keough for a 15-yard TD pass. WAIN 21, LEI 17, 9:51.
Ulu finds Kade Ambrocio for a 15-yard TD pass. WAIN 28, LEI 17, 3:10.
The Mules drive deep, but again can’t punch it in against Waianae’s front seven. Murakami’s second FG is from 19 yards out. WAIN 28, LEI 20, 11:55.
Seariders drive 66 yards in six plays. Waianae simply wearing down Leilehua’s front seven in this second half. The smashmouth game sets up a 39-yard pass from Ulu to Freeney. Towne scores on the right side from 5 yards out. WAIN 35, LEI 20, 10:23.
Mules still battling, but Andres feels the pressure and hangs a ball out deep. Easy pick for Mosiah Brame, who returns the ball 85 yards to paydirt. That may have sealed it. WAIN 42, LEI 20, 7:54.
Ikaika Pa‘ao‘ao-Anina recovers a fumble and returns it 16 yards to the LEI 4. Ezekiah Moniz-Hopeau scores on a 7-yard run. WAIN 50, LEI 20, 7:04.
LEI drives 90 yards in 10 plays. Nice corner toss from Andres to Keough for a 6-yard TD. WAIN 50, LEI 28, 2:19.
Conditions are NICE here in Wahiawa. Slightly breezy, no mugginess. Picturesque. Nothing like the brutal humidity of recent weeks. Not that it couldn’t change in a minute.
A Leilehua win tonight could reverse their fortunes. Jerry Campany and Billy Hull note that the Mules are 0-2 (overall) for the first time since 2001. They were 0-9 that season.
Prior that, they hadn’t lost that many games to start a season since ’98, losing their first five contests.