No. 4 Campbell only lost one OIA Open game this season and it was to third-ranked Mililani.
You can bet Sabers coach Darren Johnson, whose team is red hot right now, wants another chance at those Trojans, who went 5-0 for a first-place league finish.
To get the possibility of another shot at Mililani, the Sabers (7-3, 4-1) would have to beat No. 5 Kahuku (6-3, 3-2) in the OIA Open semifinals at home next weekend. It would be the second victory over the Red Raiders (an unheard of proposition when the season began) to go with their 28-27 win against Kahuku on Oct. 6.
Beating Kahuku twice in one season? Don’t count those chickens just yet. The wounded Red Raiders, who uncharacteristically finished with two OIA Open losses, won’t be sitting down for anyone.
Kahuku hasn’t lost to the same team twice in a single season since Leilehua in 1973.
On Friday night, Johnson’s Sabers cruised past Waianae 34-7 at Raymond Torii Field, while Kahuku dumped Kapolei 33-13 on the North Shore. That set up this particular collision course.
Mililani, which didn’t play Friday, will play the winner of a coin flip (Waianae, Farrington or Kapolei, all 1-4 in the league) in the other semifinal matchup next weekend.
Eventually, the surviving three teams from those semifinals (the champion and the third-place game winner) move on to the state Open Division state tournament.
Campbell is getting some mileage on defense from players who also play offense, most notably running back Peter Manuma and Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala, who were big forces Friday.
“We had to fill some spots due to injury, and Peter and Tamatoa are also great athletes,” Johnson said. “They’re doing their jobs and it’s a big plus for us.”
In addition, Bryson Tuisaloo stepped up big on the defensive line for Campbell against Waianae.
“We’re happy with his progress,” Johnson said. “The coaches are doing a good job with him. We hope he can keep playing at that level, beast mode. Everybody has been doing their jobs and showed discipline tonight. We’re happy that we eliminated a lot of penalties.”
Waianae, it should be noted, was whistled time and time again for infractions after big gains, and it drove the home crowd crazy.
Sabers quarterbacks Krenston Kaipo, the starter, and Kaniala Kalaola combined to throw four TD passes. Kaipo, who threw three of those TD passes, aggravated an old injury on a clean hit by Waianae’s Zefften Avilla-Thompson during the second quarter and didn’t return.
“We’ll take it day by day,” Johnson said. “We think he’ll be OK, but we took all precautions.”
And now comes the real biggie: Kahuku. Again.
“We want to put our best foot forward and play good football,” the coach said. “Kahuku, they play good football. We’ve got to play better football.”
Waianae is hoping for the best on the coin flip.
The Seariders’ Jesse Kuehu scored the team’s only touchdowns on a 1-yard run with 28 seconds left in the game Friday.
The team wanted it so badly that QB Justin Tacgere and running back Elijah Lujan pushed him from behind to make sure he got into the end zone.
In final yards from scrimmage, Campbell had 362 (303 passing, 59 rushing) to Waianae’s 234 (135 passing, 99 rushing).