Turns out it was all just a tease.
That Waianae four-wide passing attack on display in the second half of a season-opening win against Kamehameha was stashed away Saturday night in Kapolei. Instead, it was back to the traditional Seariders’ triple-option rushing attack that left Kapolei gasping for air.
In a matchup of teams ranked in the top five in the state, the fourth-seeded Seariders established themselves as the biggest threat to Kahuku’s OIA crown with a 35-14 thumping of No. 5 Kapolei.
Junior Rico Rosario, whose 23-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass was one of two highlight plays for the Seariders, rushed for 117 of Waianae’s 313 total yards on the ground.
Kade Ambrocio rushed for two touchdowns, including a 57-yard scamper on a crazy option toss from QB Jaren Ulu, who had multiple defenders draped all over him, and Javen Towne added 51 tough yards on the ground as Waianae’s multiple looks gave Kapolei’s defense fits, especially as it wore down in the second half.
“We felt we were going to be all in to stop the run but they are big and physical and do a good job,” said Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez, who dropped to 4-10 against the Seariders while at Kapolei. “Our defense sees June Jones‘ passing offense every day so we were hoping they would pass more, because we see that a lot … all in all it was very disappointing for us.”
Waianae ran 72 plays on offense with 56 rushing attempts and dominated the time of possession late. The defense forced two quick three-and-outs by Kapolei to start the second half allowing Waianae to pound away for most of the third quarter to take a 28-14 lead.
Kapolei quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa finished 22-for-47 for 234 yards and two touchdowns but was only 8-for-21 in the second half.
Waianae got to him for three sacks and never let Tagovailoa get comfortable in the pocket.
“We did what we had to do,” Waianae coach Walter Young said. “Kapolei has a good offensive line. Sometimes we twisted them, we rushed four, we brought some pressure, we tried to keep them on their toes.”
The win gives Waianae the two most impressive wins of the early season. Eight days ago, the Seariders knocked off then-No. 4 Kamehameha when Ulu threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Freeney with less than two minutes remaining. Unlike the back-and-forth tilt against Kamehameha, Saturday’s game against Kapolei was never in doubt in the fourth quarter.
Waianae enjoyed a 418-212 advantage in total yards and won despite throwing two first-quarter interceptions near the end zone.
Ambrocio, who returned a kickoff 99 yards for a TD against Kamehameha, capped off Waianae’s first drive in the second quarter with a TD and then had the long touchdown run on the option play to put Kapolei in big-time trouble.
The Seariders have backed up the confidence they showed prior to the start of the season with two marquee wins already on their resume.
“Honestly I think we have a good team going into this year with a lot of returnees,” Ambrocio said. “It all starts with working at practice and everything we do in practice we bring to the game.”