No regrets for Waianae’s Rosario

Waianae’s Rico Rosario finished a sterling prep career with an inspired effort against Kahuku. Photo by Bruce Asato /

Before the season started, Waianae senior Rico Rosario almost didn’t suit up for the Seariders.

With his family set to move to Las Vegas, Rosario had a choice: play his senior season at Liberty High School in Henderson, Nev., or stay with his grandparents in Waianae.

Rosario chose the latter and finished the season with 872 rushing yards on 162 carries and 12 touchdowns, including 25 carries for 86 yards in a 10-7 loss to Kahuku in the HHSAA Division I Open semifinals.

The loss was a heartbreaker for Waianae. The Seariders held a 7-3 lead right until Red Raiders quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava found Duke Heffernan for an 8-yard touchdown with 58 seconds left in the game. Kahuku’s defense held on to get to its third consecutive state final, while Waianae missed out on its first appearance in the state title game since 2010.

“Just really disappointed because we worked hard this whole week. We just came up short,” Rosario said afterwards. “Hat’s off to my O-line and my team, and the defense for putting on a show tonight.”

Friday’s game at Aloha Stadium was a vast improvement from the previous matchup between the two teams, a game that Kahuku won 37-0 at Waianae on Aug. 18.

With the Red Raiders coming off an OIA title victory over Mililani the previous week, not many would have thought that the Seariders would keep the game within a single possession.

But these are the type of games that Rosario returned for.

“We were just really motivated and we just wanted to beat them,” Rosario said. “We just wanted to put on a show for everyone because everyone said that we was gonna get killed but we work hard and I’m happy with my team and what we did. It just wasn’t our day.”

Meanwhile, over in Nevada, Liberty is sitting pretty at 10-1 with a No. 75 national ranking on Max Preps and No. 2 state ranking behind only Bishop Gorman. The Patriots are also looking to reach their third consecutive state title game.

Regardless, Rosario said he wouldn’t trade his senior year experience. The 2018 Polynesian Bowl selection also holds offers from Adams State and Dixie State, which most likely means a move is coming that he can’t turn down.

“No regrets. Going to Waianae means everything,” Rosario said. “You just gotta stay on path and do what’s right.”


  1. Hau'ulaBoy November 10, 2017 9:48 pm

    Way to show your pride for your community. Good job and great effort by you and your entire team. Hats off to the pride of the west side.RR4L ._.

  2. Choloropicrin November 10, 2017 11:01 pm

    One of the best to ever lineup in the backfield for Waianae. It was a pleasure watching you and good luck in the future.

  3. HI HS FAN November 10, 2017 11:37 pm

    Big ups to Waianae. They came into the game focused and determined to prove to the whole state that they belonged and they were not going to get pushed around by Kahuku. They stood toe-to-toe and slugged it out. It was like the old days when Waianae and Kahuku duked it out. However, they left it all on the field. In fact both teams left it all out there. That Kahuku QB showed a lot of heart and character at the end especially when he was having a difficult night. Both teams battled through all the adversity, but only one team could walk away with the victory.

  4. TeamHawaii November 11, 2017 11:16 am

    First seen him in the JV Championship 2 years ago and he killed it. Definitely will go down as one of the greats in Waianae. Best of Luck to you Rico in college!

  5. Choloropicrin November 11, 2017 11:47 am

    The question is is he 1st team all state? IMO he is because he’s a game changer and played in the toughest tier. No disrespect to the kids from Hilo and Waipahu but Rico and Nawahine from Kahuku, and perhaps the Kamehameha kid is 1st team all state. Rico should have been over 1200 yard if not for sitting in the first half for two games and Kaiser forfeiting.

  6. Michael echiverri November 11, 2017 12:52 pm

    Rico is a dominated player very strong very quick very fast in a cottage college-level he would challenge anything that boy is God’s blessing

  7. Choloropicrin November 11, 2017 7:31 pm

    Rico is probaly the best Waianae back since Keoni Napierela-Rose and Lono Manners. Those 3 mentioned had speed, vision and could run between the tackles. Next year will be a more running back by committee. He’ll be surely missed.

  8. nanas finest November 12, 2017 12:31 am

    Your the king of kings this year as a runningback on the westside….hope u took them s.a.t?be smart use them brains and hope to see u on the big show soon.

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