Waianae and Saint Louis have a knack for meeting in inaugural events.
When the Prep Bowl was instituted in 1973, legendary Waianae coach Larry Ginoza led the Seariders to a 6-0 win over the Crusaders in the first of eight meetings between the schools in the annual OIA-ILH postseason classic.
Saint Louis has owned the series since. The programs met in the Prep Bowl seven times in a 12-year stretch from 1986 to 1997 during the Crusaders’ decade-plus of dominance.
When the Prep Bowl was replaced by the HHSAA state tournament in 1999, Saint Louis eliminated Waianae in the opening round. The Crusaders also won semifinal matchups in 2000, ’06 and ’07 and again in the 2010 Division I final when Marcus Mariota led the Crusaders to a 36-13 win over the Seariders.
The state tournament’s Open Division was introduced this year and Waianae and Saint Louis will renew their series with a meeting in the semifinals on Friday at Aloha Stadium.
While second-seeded and ILH champion Saint Louis had a bye in the first round, Farrington survived a defensive battle with Farrington and advanced with a 14-8 win on Saturday in Halawa.
Waianae’s defense held Farrington to 75 yards to help the Seariders overcome two interceptions, two fumbles, a blocked punt and a safety. Linebacker Kana’i Mauga led the way with eight total tackles in a collective defensive effort that bottled up prolific Farrington running back Challen Faamatau for 32 yards on 20 carries.
“We gotta go back and fix that against a good Saint Louis team,” Waianae coach Walter Young said of the turnovers. “We’re going to go back to the drawing board, we’re gonna fix those mistakes and we’re gonna get ready for the next one.”
The Seariders and Governors did quite a bit to hamper their own progress with both teams flagged for 10 penalties each for a combined 213 yards.
The Seariders forced punts on Farrington’s first six possessions and held fast when the Governors took over at the Waianae 4 after Iosefo Ah Ching, who had two interceptions, blocked a punt in late in the third quarter. Short runs by Faamatau and Freedom Alualu moved the ball to the 1 and the Seariders stopped Faamatau short on fourth-and-goal.
Three plays later, Farrington broke through with a safety on the first snap of the fourth quarter. The Governors received the free kick and moved to the Waianae 20 before stalling. But the Seariders fumbled the ball away on a handoff at their 13 and Faamatau cashed in this time from two yards out to give Farrington the lead.
Waianae was awarded a fumble recovery when the officials ruled Faamatau lost possession although television replays appeared to show he was down before the ball was torn loose. Two plays later, Javen Towne scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 15-yard run with 4:58 left.
“Our defense balled out the entire game,” said Towne, who ran for 148 yards on 22 carries. “The time needed to come and coach prepped us, our quarterback gave us pep talk and just told us we had to leave it all on the line or else we’re going to go home and and this was going to be it for us.”
Farrington put together one more push with Bishop Rapoza completing two fourth-down passes to extend a drive that reached midfield. But his final throw fell incomplete to give the back to Waianae and Towne picked up a first down that allowed the Seariders to run out the clock.
“No matter how you do it, you gotta play to win or else you go home,” Young said. “That’s the message we preach to our kids and they came up big for us today.”