RJ Javar has only been at Moanalua for a season, but the senior quarterback and Mililani transfer has already made a lasting impression on Na Menehune.
Although Javar was unable to play in the second half of No. 8 Moanalua’s 21-20 double-overtime win over No. 7 Leilehua in the OIA Division I championship game on Saturday night, his teammates made it clear that the win was because of him and not in spite of his absence.
Na Menehune went up 13-0 on Javar’s 8-yard rushing touchdown with 11:52 left in the second quarter, but the Aloha Stadium crowd fell silent. Javar was on the receiving end of a helmet-to-helmet collision and was down for approximately 20 minutes.
The delay was somber for both sides, and Javar was eventually taken to Pali Momi Medical Center, where he received a CT scan. He arrived during the second half and observed from the sidelines, just in time to catch Na Menehune finish what he started.
“I’m really pumped that we won but I know we could’ve won earlier,” Javar said afterwards.
When Javar went down, cornerback Rashod Tanner said the onus fell on the defense to keep the game within reach. Moanalua’s defense clearly did its part, intercepting Leilehua quarterback Kekoa Turangan four times.
“We just knew we had to hold it down for RJ. The whole thing was for RJ,” said Tanner, who had a pick of his own. “He gave his all so we had to give it our all. We pulled through.”
Entering Saturday’s game, Javar passed for 2,803 yards and 27 touchdowns through 10 games this season. His backup is Rudy Kealohi, who also happens to be the team’s top receiver. Problem was, Kealohi had to be removed from the game due to injury as well.
That led Na Menehune to lean on Brayden Fa’amasino, its third-stringer, to get the job done. Fa’amasino’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Dacyres Domingo in double overtime preceded Griffin Motas’ extra point for the win.
“It was a huge motivating factor,” Fa’amasino said of playing for Javar. “It gave us more reason to go out there and just leave everything on the field, and for a brother as well. I was praying that he would be OK.”
Moanalua coach Savaii Eselu on Na Menehune’s wild 2OT 21-20 win over Leilehua for their first OIA Division I championship. pic.twitter.com/ZtJCGfppmJ
— Hawaii Prep World (@HawaiiPrepWorld) October 27, 2019
Domingo didn’t haul in the game’s deciding touchdown from Javar, but he definitely had him in mind while doing so.
“It meant everything (to win for Javar),” Domingo said. “He worked so hard ever since he came in, and it was only right for us to do as much as we could to give back to him and win this championship.”
Javar was in good spirits after the win and certainly appreciative of his teammates.
“It’s crazy, a lot of mixed emotions. I thought Rudy was still playing, but Brayden stepped up and answered the call and now we’re OIA champions,” he said. “We just gotta keep practicing so we can go for the state championship and get that ring.”