OIA Playoff Preview: Leilehua vs. Moanalua

Ikaika Piceno and Leilehua face Moanalua in the OIA Red playoffs. (Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser)
Ikaika Piceno and Leilehua face Moanalua in the OIA Red playoffs. (Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser)

OIA Red Playoffs

The matchup: Leilehua (5-3, 3-3 OIA Red West) vs. Moanalua (3-5, 3-3 OIA Red East)
Location/Time: Moanalua, 7 p.m., Friday
Head-to-head: Leilehua leads 23-0
Biggest margin of victory: Leilehua, 54-0, Oct. 4, 1975
Smallest margin of victory: Leilehua, 7-6, Oct. 25, 1980

Moanalua’s offensive leaders

Updated: Oct. 12
Micah Kaneshiro9231-406-62,71925
Rodson Kealohi7341502
Ishmil Scott4241033
Chad Aragon9658139
Jason Sharsh9618896
Donald Lambert9516608
Stevie Feliciano9231792
Kyle Bender916860

Leilehua’s offensive leaders

Updated: Oct. 20
Mack Eberhardt990-167-71,0909
Justin Jenks833-55-25337
Kalanimoku Pauole631-51-43235
Ikaika Piceno10724317
Randy Neverson8384055
Tristin Kamaka10415707
Dustin Ancheta-Maeda9334193
Ikaika Piceno10232623
Austinn Nagao6141681
Toma Savea6121744

One look at the head-to-head meetings between the two schools shows exactly what Moanalua is up against.

Not only has Na Menehune, the No. 4 seed out of the East, lost all 23 meetings against Leilehua, the No. 5 seed in the West, but each of Moanalua’s last two seasons ended at Hugh Yoshida Stadium in the OIA Red playoffs.

The two teams will tangle for a third straight year in the postseason, but this time, the game is at Moanalua.

Also different this year is Moanalua, not Leilehua, comes in with the more prolific passing attack.

Quarterback Micah Kaneshiro has rewritten the Moanalua record book this season, averaging 303 passing yards and nearly three touchdowns in eight overall games. Those numbers only got bigger in six OIA regular-season games as Kaneshiro averaged 333.7 yards and 3.5 touchdowns to help Na Menehune break even in the East at 3-3.

Kaneshiro set the school record with 469 passing yards in a 41-38 loss to Farrington and owns five of the 10 best single-game passing performances in school history, with two 400+ games.

Chad Aragon leads Moanalua with 56 receptions so far this season. (Jay Metzger / Special to the Star-Advertiser)
Chad Aragon leads Moanalua with 56 receptions so far this season. (Jay Metzger / Special to the Star-Advertiser)

Of course, in order to throw the ball, you have to have guys that can catch it, and Moanalua most definitely does. Junior Jason Sharsh led the division in both receptions and yards, catching 44 passes for 661 yards and six touchdowns in league games. Seniors Chad Aragon (43-553-7) and Donald Lambert (32-481-6) provide arguably the best trio of receivers in the league.

The magic number to watch for in this game is 28. When Na Menehune gave up 28 or more points this season, they went 0-5. When they allowed less than 28 points, they were a perfect 3-0. Conversely, Leilehua went 5-0 when scoring at least 28 points in a game and 0-3 when held under four touchdowns.

Leilehua has scored at least 65 points in a game twice this year, including last week’s 66-14 win over Waipahu. The Mules responded well to a 30-point loss to Mililani a week earlier, which was their worst defeat since the 2009 state semifinals against Kamehameha.

Leilehua is capable of starting any of three different quarterbacks in this game. Mack Eberhardt (1,082 yards, 9 TD, 7 INT) has gotten the majority of the snaps this season but struggled mightily against the Trojans. Justin Jenks had a big game last week, getting the nod for the first time against the Marauders. He also split time at quarterback last season as a junior.

Neither team possess much of a run threat but expect a shootout through the air. Moanalua has won one playoff game each of the last two years. In order to extend that streak, it’ll have to beat a Mules team that has owned this series. Leilehua has won at least one playoff game every year since 2005.

Something has to give.


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