So Personal: Waianae’s puzzling prolification

Rico Rosario rushed for 130 yards and two TDs in Waianae's 41-12 playoff win over Kailua. 2016 OCTOBER 7 SPT - HSA photo by Cindy Ellen Russell
Rico Rosario rushed for 130 yards and two TDs in Waianae’s 41-12 playoff win over Kailua. 2016 OCTOBER 7 SPT – HSA photo by Cindy Ellen Russell

Walter Young couldn’t quite explain it.

Nobody probably could. On a night when Waianae’s might proved overwhelming for Kailua in a 41-12 victory, there is more than one facet, certainly, to the 200 yards in penalties the Seariders incurred. It was unlike anything his Seariders had done this season. Young, the Seariders’ head coach, was puzzled and, just a wee bit, perhaps, in disbelief.

“I’ve got to watch the tape,” Young said moments after the teams shook hands at midfield. “We’ve got to clean up the penalties. There’s no excuse.”

Young, the second-year head coach, is a teacher on campus. In fact, he is head of the math department. Sixteen yellow flags, including eight for 100 yards in the opening quarter, well… the numbers are staggering. Yet, there was a hint of doubt not just for Young, not just for his staff, but for fans at Raymond Torii Field, as well. A whole lot of them couldn’t quite figure out what the flags — nine personal fouls — exactly were.

It was, it seemed, a you-had-to-be-there scenario just about every time. Some fans were hollering by the second half about the little extra physicality out of bounds or even a supposed slap to the helmet by a Kailua player. Those went unflagged.

Kailua, which did its best to grind out every possession and milk the clock, had its share of whistles. The visiting Surfriders collected 11 penalties for 92 yards. A pittance compared to Waianae, but it wasn’t exactly one-sided.

Young said the Seariders would get Saturday off, particularly because their next game, a quarterfinal battle with Mililani, is scheduled for the following Saturday (Sept. 15). The coaching staff, however, will get together on Saturday to game plan, to reflect. To study Friday night’s video. What really went on out there?

It was heated in the trenches from the start. With Waianae ahead 7-6 after one quarter by the grace of a Kailua PAT kick that slammed into an upright — steel unkind — it was a mental challenge as much as it was physical combat. Waianae threw the ball occasionally — three times in a row to start one series, all completions, all to different pass catchers — almost as if to prove a point. Yet, there was no point, really, in airing the ball out. By the end of the first half, the Seariders had control of the trenches. Their massive blockers, they simply outnumbered Kailua’s mass. Or outweighed them.

The late Terry Albritton, the famous former strength coach at the University of Hawaii, said that speed plus strength equals power. Waianae had that edge and never relented on the way to a 367-yard night on the ground, averaging more than 9 yards per attempt. Nine yards would be a great average per passing attempt, let alone rushing.

Rico Rosario (11 carries, 130 yards, two TDs), Javen Towne (11 carries, 86 yards, one TD) and Kade Ambrocio (five attempts, 66 yards, one TD) — all on point. Even reserve RB Skyler Kaleiohi scored on his only touch. The meshed teamwork of the O-line and the backs, and QB Jaren Ulu, in slow motion, it is the stuff worthy of NFL Films. Especially the counter plays. Traps.

Young, logically, didn’t mess with success. Kailua’s first two drives chewed off 5 minutes and 1 second, and then 2:18. During that stretch, Waianae had the ball for just 2:25 to Kailua’s 8:31. Trailing 7-0, Kailua got the ball back and then scraped 3:14 off the clock en route to a TD pass by Mark Lagazo to Christian Mejia.

Kailua seemed to have everything going its way. Who would stop the 6-foot-4 Mejia, the football-basketball-volleyball beast with a 36-inch vertical? In the first 13 minutes of the contest, Kailua had held the ball for nearly 11 minutes.

It was not sustainable. By girth and by worth, Waianae cut out the penalty craziness and gained control of the game. That 100 yards of penalties in the first quarter — was Waianae truly on pace to lose 400 yards for the game due to yellow flag? Probably not. But as Young called time out and gathered the entire squad late in the first quarter, it wasn’t difficult to imagine that any team with 400 yards in penalties would and could not win a playoff game.

That same defense that committed eight personal fouls also sacked Lagazo, a speedy RB-turned-QB, seven times. The secondary doubled off on Mejia, who didn’t have a reception after halftime. Build fire, control fire, and Waianae’s defense did its part when the night was done.


  1. oia#1 October 8, 2016 10:18 am

    Alot of those calls were BS! This has been going on the whole season! Im not saying they are completely innocent but I get a sense that its waianae against the league/refs! Kailua and campbell were getting away with all kinds of penalties. I dont trust this system. #WLM #waianaelivesmatter.

  2. Knation October 8, 2016 4:58 pm

    Stop crying

  3. Knation October 9, 2016 7:42 am

    Kahuku and waianae always cry for everything

  4. Knation October 9, 2016 8:22 am

    Anyways going be mililani and kapolei playing for the ship

  5. RidgeRunnerE-5 October 9, 2016 10:39 am

    They should’ve just given the surf riders flags to wear around their waste, because Waianae couldn’t make a tackle without being called for a personal foul.

  6. RidgeRunnerE-5 October 9, 2016 10:43 am

    Final score Waianae-41 Kailua -6 refs-6

  7. Chloropicrin October 9, 2016 1:55 pm

    @KNation Kapolei best be worried about Moanalua. Moanalua can’t play defense, but they can score, so I would be suprised if it’s a shootout.

  8. Chloropicrin October 9, 2016 1:58 pm

    Kahuku will roll Leilehua, Campbell will likely lose to Farrigton..Mililani vs Waianae and Kapolei vs Moanalua is a toss up.

  9. Helflyer October 9, 2016 4:00 pm

    Waianae deserved the penalties they got….refs missed a couple on kailua but if waianae don’t clean up the extra stuff…they won’t win anything…it’s crazy when I hear refs say they gotta watch for extra stuff when waianae plays…there’s a difference between playing aggressive and playing undisciplined, everyone knows what I’m talking about.

  10. Chloropicrin October 9, 2016 5:03 pm

    Yep, Waianae is an undisciplined team, cause it starts at the top, in the locker room and at home. If you follow Waianae football, you know what’s going on…just saying. Uncoachable kids (which starts by enabling parents) become unemployable adults.

  11. Hauula93 October 9, 2016 8:07 pm

    I really don’t care about who plays who in the oia.. I just want the OIA to compete in this new tournament… May the best team get in and good luck to all.. RR4L….

  12. Manley October 9, 2016 9:36 pm

    Rico Rosario will carve up Mililani. Olomua will draw personal fouls. Gabriel will get sacked.

  13. ??? October 10, 2016 11:12 am

    Waianae has talent but their undisciplined ways will prevent them from winning in the playoffs!!!!!

  14. RidgeRunnerE-5 October 11, 2016 9:56 am

    The refs weren’t just missing “a couple” little penalties on Kailua. There were multiple PFs committed right in front of the them that they just let slide. Roughing the passer, which knocked ulu out of the game, helmet-to-helmet, late hit out of bounds(twice) and a blatant unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, when Kailua’s #22 kept shoving Towne after he already made it into the end zone, and then smacked the ball out of Towne’s hand as he was handing it to the ref.

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