The season ended with some fireworks for Waianae. As some people around the island suspected, the finale Friday was not a dud, even if it also wasn’t a victory.
The Seariders (1-8, 0-5 OIA Open) competed and dragged No. 1 Saint Louis in the mud more than a little bit at their home, Raymond Torii Field.
Waianae dropped a 56-26 game. In one regard, that’s a blowout. In another, that’s a mighty effort against a team full of superstar players — a team ranked as high as No. 6 nationally.
>> CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE GAME
The muddy field was a playground at times for the home team. Waianae secured six turnovers, including three on pooch kickoffs.
“Doubt not, fear not, I like to say,” first-year Seariders coach Mike Fanoga said. “Saint Louis is a good team. We expected that. We were trying to compete and stay as close as much as we can. But our kids fought. They played well and I was pleased with all three phases of the game. We scored some points. The defense played well, special teams played well. We played all of our seniors and I was pleased with that as well.”
Nainoa Machado had a big-time performance from his wide receiver spot, catching seven passes for a school-record 197 yards.
He broke the school record held by Larry Rhoads, who had 146 yards against Saint Louis in the 1988 Prep Bowl.
“Oh, he’s a player,” Fanoga said. “We appreciate him and also all the seniors. He had some good catches. He’s under-recruited. I wish people would look at him. He’s an athlete. He can play both sides of the ball. We put him on offense this year because we needed him there.”
With Sheldon McLeod (knee) injured, Shaydon Lopes got the start at QB and Jorden Kaloi-English also gave the Seariders a spark at the position. They combined for 255 yards passing.
“Their number was called,” Fanoga said. “It was time for them to step up. Somebody goes down, you go in and play your best. That’s what we ask.”
After the game, Fanoga told his team that the spread on the street coming into the game was 39 points.
“They just kind of laughed,” he said. “We only lost by 30 points, so some people lost some money. We don’t have the caliber of players Saint Louis has.”
There has been talk of some OIA Open Division teams moving down to Division I next year, and some people put Waianae in that conversation.
“I’m going to leave that up to the athletic director,” Fanoga said. “I think he’s going to try to keep us up, but that’s up to him. We’re trying to retain all of our players here. I’d like to stay up. That’s my opinion. We competed with some good teams this year and there’s some things I could have done better.”
Machado, a senior, talked about his team’s fire.
“We all just played hard,” he said. “It was our last game and we played our hearts out and as hard as we can. I was really pumped up. I think our team will be good next year, wherever they end up (Open or D-I).”
Other than big-differential losses to Mililani (50-6), Punahou (42-0), Kahuku (32-0) and Saint Louis (56-26), the Seariders were in every game. The four other losses were to Kapolei (28-20), Campbell (41-31), Kamehameha (20-15) and Farrington (19-14).
That loss to Farrington was the big one that kept them out of the postseason.
Only one win (a nonleague 35-20 victory over Waipahu) does not look good on paper. But Waianae proved that it didn’t just mail in the season. It’s not easy to get six turnovers and score 26 points on Saint Louis. Only Campbell, in a 43-27 loss to the Crusaders, has scored more against the Crusaders this year.
The Seariders also put up 310 (55 rushing, 255 passing) yards from scrimmage on Saint Louis (9-0, 8-0 ILH Open). The trouble, however, was the Crusaders gained 636 yards (192 rushing, 444 passing).
Story hits straight to the root!
that’s a mighty effort against a team full of superstar players !
“We don’t have the caliber of players Saint Louis has.”
Not too many high schools in the country does!
Great effort by Waianae. Crusaders continue to shoot themselves in the foot with stupid penalties.
It could come back and haunt them. Punahou around the corner. Perhaps a loss will prove to be more of a lesson than by blowing everyone away by 30 or more.