Waianae coach Daniel Matsumoto called it an “ugly” win.
But at this point in the season, aesthetics don’t mean much.
“We’ll take anything,” Matsumoto said with relief after the Seariders held off Kapolei in a 35-27 win Friday night at Raymond Torii Stadium.
Waianae has a bye next week, and whether the Seariders have another week off before the OIA Red playoffs depends on the outcome of next week’s Kapolei-Campbell matchup.
A Kapolei win gives Waianae the Red West’s second seed. If Campbell wins, the Sabers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seariders.
On Friday, Waianae led 28-6 at halftime and 35-13 midway through the third quarter before the Hurricanes threatened to pull off the comeback.
After Mana Reis’ touchdown run with 6:01 left made it a one-possession game, Waianae’s offense made sure there would be just one more possession by holding onto the ball after taking the field with 5:55 left.
Even that final drive was more gritty than pretty as the Seariders — whose only score of the second half was delivered by the defense — managed to pick up three first downs to run out the clock.
Starting at their 14-yard line, the Seariders lost 2 yards to open the drive. Quarterback Kekoa Kaluhiokalani kept the ball on the option on the next two plays for an 8-yard gain and a 23-yard run to convert on third and 4.
Another 10-yard keeper by Kaluhiokalani kept the chains moving and Waianae later had a third and 1 at the Kapolei 38 before being pushed back by a personal foul penalty.
Now facing third and 16 and the prospect of punting the ball away to the Hurricanes with ample time left, Kaluhiokalani rolled to his right and hit Pookela Noa-Nakamoto just short of the first-down marker.
After a Kapolei timeout, Ronald Matautia took the handoff and angled off right tackle for a 3-yard gain and first down that effectively put the game away.
Matautia carried the ball just three times, but provided key carries each time. He powered in for a 2-point conversion to give Waianae a 15-0 lead in the first quarter, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and picked up the clinching first down.