OIA Playoff Preview: Waianae vs. Castle

QB Kekoa Kaluhiokalani and Waianae face Castle in the playoffs. (Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser)
QB Kekoa Kaluhiokalani and Waianae face Castle in the playoffs. (Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser)

OIA Red Playoffs

The matchup: Waianae (6-2, 4-2 OIA Red West) vs. Castle (3-5, 2-4 OIA Red East)
Location/Time: Waianae, 6 p.m., Saturday
Head-to-head (since 1973): Waianae leads 13-3
Biggest margin of victory: Waianae, 56-0, Aug. 24, 1990
Smallest margin of victory: Waianae, 17-16, Nov. 22, 1985

Waianae’s offensive leaders

Updated: Oct. 20
Kekoa Kaluhiokalani1068-157-71,13710
Jemery Willes91286976
Mahven Tau10916094
Kekoa Kaluhiokalani101183605
Trensten Spragling8431791
Pookela Noa-Nakamoto10356256

Castle’s offensive leaders

Updated: Oct. 13
Stephen Lee893-202-101,2548
Pono Makekau434-75-23303
Kamukoa Oana7171051
Makana Bee28931
Kyle Urasaki8344305
Kamukoa Oana7274011
Joseph Lilio6171931
Isaac Pakele4131051

Castle needed a win over Kaimuki last week to advance to the playoffs for a 10th consecutive season.

Its reward? A trip to Waianae.

The Seariders have won three of their last four and are rested and ready to go after a bye last week. Waianae’s chances at a first-round bye ended when Campbell held off Kapolei last Friday, but the Seariders still have an excellent shot to advance to the OIA Red quarterfinals.

Waianae, the No. 3 seed out of the West, is hosting an opening-round game for the third straight year and had little trouble in beating Kaiser, 35-14, in 2011 and Kailua, 29-6, in 2012.

Senior quarterback Kekoa Kaluhiokalani has one last shot to get the Seariders into the state tournament. Kaluhiokalani is 2-2 in the playoffs as Waianae’s starter but has lost both quarterfinal games, against Kahuku, by scores of 20-16 and 14-10. A Waianae win would set up a third straight meeting with the Red Raiders, but before the Seariders look that far ahead, they have to take care of the Knights.

Castle, which finished as the East’s No. 6 seed, has quietly been a tough opponent for teams despite its 3-5 record. Kamehameha got everything it could handle in the season opener. Castle didn’t allow the Warriors to complete a pass for positive yards and kept the game close in a 15-0 loss. The Knights opened the OIA season in heartbreaking fashion, losing back-to-back games in overtime, but no team in the OIA Red East gave division champion Farrington as tough of a game as Castle.

Castle's Kyle Urasaki pulled in a TD pass against Farrington. (George F. Lee / Star-Advertiser)
Castle’s Kyle Urasaki pulled in a TD pass against Farrington. (George F. Lee / Star-Advertiser)

Quarterback Stephen Lee led the Knights into the playoffs with his first 300-yard passing game, finishing with 315 and a touchdown last week against the Bulldogs. He’ll need another big game through the air as Castle relies heavily on the pass. Receivers Kyle Urasaki and Kamukoa Oana need to both come up big in the same game for Castle to have a chance to pull off the huge upset.

With Waianae, you know exactly what you’re getting. A downhill rushing attack led by Kaluhiokalani at quarterback, Mahven Tau at fullback and Jemery Wiles as the lead running back. Castle has been able to slow some running teams down, most notably Kahuku, whose leading rusher in the game was Polikapo Liua Jr. with just 48 yards.

Farrington’s Sanele Lavatai, who led the division in rushing, was the Govs’ leading rusher with only 35 yards against the Knights.

Castle has a tough, tough task in trying to beat the Seariders in Waianae. Waianae is 4-1 this year at its newly renovated home at Raymond Torii Field, losing only to No. 3 Mililani. It’s the only game this weekend played on Saturday so the whole state will be watching.

Can Castle do the unthinkable? Or will Kaluhiokalani get his third and final shot at beating Kahuku in the playoffs?


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