Pearl City’s Joe Maneafaiga is going to have a tough time improving on his first game as Pearl City’s featured running back.
The 5-food-10, 170-pound junior set the Chargers’ single-game rushing record with 217 yards in only three quarters of action to help Pearl City hold off a game Roosevelt squad 14-7 on Friday night in the OIA Division-II opener for both teams at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.
Maneafaiga, who needed only 23 carries, broke Antoin Dewalt‘s mark of 216 yards that had stood for nine years. He got it on his final carry, a 6-yard run to give Pearl City the game-clinching first down. The Chargers took two knees after the play to end the game.
“Everything was going great for us,” Maneafaiga said. “All of the holes were open when I got the ball and boom, I could go straight through the hole. Our offensive line did a great job.”
Maneafaiga was held out of the first quarter for disciplinary reasons and got his first carry after Roosevelt had tied the game at 7-7. He ran all over the Roosevelt defense but never found the end zone as the Chargers self-destructed on drives inside the red zone. Dropped snaps and penalties were two of the biggest problems that led to two missed field goals.
“We felt a little rusty (as a team) but we’ll work at it for next game,” Maneafaiga said.
Dewalt, Ty Jarrett and Ray Cooper III are the only other Pearl City running back to rush for at least 200 yards in a game.
Maneafaiga will be counted on offensively as the Chargers try to put together a contending team that was hit hard by graduation. Pearl City’s top four rushers, top three receivers and starting quarterback from last year are all gone.
Maneafaiga had only five carries all of last year when he suffered a torn ligament in his knee that cut his season short.
It was apparent Friday he’s 100 percent and ready to carry the load.
“Joe is big for us taking over the running back position and he reads the holes real well,” Pearl City coach Robin Kami said.
The Chargers host Waialua next Saturday.