Lafo Seiuli-Sanchez is a game-changer — or at least he was in Hawaii’s version of Monday Night Football.
Due to the threat of Hurricane Lester, the Oahu Interscholastic Assocition moved the Waipahu-Roosevelt football game from Saturday to Monday at Aloha Stadium, and the Marauders’ Seiuli-Sanchez put on a show.
For starters, the 6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive lineman lined up in the backfield and scored on a 3-yard touchdown. Later in the 43-14 victory, he added a 2-point conversion run.
But, whatever he contributed on offense is secondary to what he did on defense.
Simply put, he was a defensive menace.
On one play, he got to Roosevelt quarterback Shastyn Kekahuna quickly and bashed his arm while in a throwing motion, causing an incompletion.
On another, he pounded Rough Riders running back Charvis Paia for a 3-yard loss. On yet another, he body slammed Roosevelt’s Kobi Brown after a 1-yard gain.
Seiuli-Sanchez may have saved his best play for last. Late in the game, he blew through the Rough Riders’ offensive line and got to Kekahuna quickly, once again ramming into the quarterback’s arm while in a throwing motion. This time, the ball squirted out of Kekahuna’s arm on a backward lateral path and fell to the ground. It was a loose ball that was, fortunately for Roosevelt, recovered by the Rough Riders’ Corey Buza.
The Marauders (3-0, 2-0 OIA Division II) are in serious contention for the conference title or, at least, one of the division’s four playoff berths. Having a player with such a defensive presence will certainly help.
Here’s what Waipahu head coach Bryson Carvalho had to say, via text message, about Seiuli-Sanchez:
“Lafo has been a blessing to our team. He is a transfer student from Saint Louis School. He’s a Waipahu boy that has grown up with a lot of our kids in Honowai, but chose the private school route. He came over to us in the summer from Saint Louis and has worked extremely hard since he’s been here.
“He played against Nanakuli and was a big reason we were able to stop Nanakuli’s run game. He sprained his knee in that game, causing him to sit out our second game against Kalaheo. Having the two bye weeks allowed him to heal up and get better.
“We reward one player a day as our MVP or ‘Marauder of the day’ with an authentic WWE championship belt. Since he’s been back at practice, he’s won our award multiple times, causing havoc on scout team and also during regular defensive team period. What’s great is he has an awesome attitude. Although he’s just gifted with tremendous talent, he’s humble, always works hard, doesn’t take a play off and is well respected by his teammates. Truly, truly such a special kid.
“I don’t know if he would stand out the way he does here if he was still at Saint Louis — only because I had never heard of him. But he definitely does stand out here at Waipahu. We are very happy to have him.”
After Monday’s game, Seiuli-Sanchez said that practicing his fireouts really helps.
The senior also said he is not being recruited and is working on “getting known.”
But that “getting known” is not a selfish thing. It has a pretty broad meaning.
Later he added, “We’re trying to make Waipahu known (for football) now because we’re doing good. Yeah, we’re ready (to contend for a title). We’re working very hard for this.”