At the end of the night, the figures that mattered most favored the Marauders, and decidedly so.
Junior quarterback Cody Marques threw three touchdown passes and ran for another, running back Alfred Failauga churned out 145 yards on 29 carries and Waipahu earned a rare W in the series with Waianae with a 34-13 victory at Masa Yonamine Athletic Complex.
Between 1991 and 2015, Waipahu claimed two wins over Waianae in 19 meetings between the schools, a 27-21 win in 1999 and 28-15 in 2008 when the Marauders spoiled the Seariders’ homecoming night.
Waianae won five straight meetings since, including shutouts in 2013 and ’14 and a 69-28 win in 2015. The seventh-ranked Seariders arrived at Waipahu for Friday’s game with many of the standouts who powered a run to last year’s Open Division state tournament having graduated, but still with nearly double the Marauders’ manpower.
Academic probation and team rules kept 26 Waipahu players on the bench for the opener, leaving 27 to face the Seariders. But with Marques and Failauga leading the way, the Marauders held their ground in the first half and pulled away in the fourth quarter.
“It’s amazing for us with the amount of (players on probation) we had,” said Marques, who completed 10 of 15 throws for 216 yards. “Our second team stepped up. That’s all we needed, people to step up.”
Coming off an OIA Division II title, Waipahu prepared for its transition to Division I by scheduling scrimmages against Open Division competition in Kahuku and Kapolei leading into Friday’s meeting with Waianae.
“I wanted to make sure we’re playing quality guys, quality teams,” said Waipahu head coach Bryson Carvalho, an assistant with the 2008 team. “We understand we’re up a division higher and want to make sure we’re up to that kind of standard.”
Waianae took the lead on a 24-yard touchdown run by Kenneth Joseph Jr., — who finished with 102 rushing yards and caught a 33-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter — early in the second period. But Waipahu came up with two fourth-down stops and forced two three-and-out drives in the first half to stay within striking distance.
And strike they did with less than a minute left before halftime.
After a 49-yard punt rolled dead at the Waipahu 15 with 53.8 seconds left in the second quarter, Failauga ran for 4 yards and Waipahu called timeout. On the next play, Marques dropped back and found a wide open Branson Jay Reyes down the right side for an 81-yard score to send the teams into halftime
“We saw they were playing a little bit of man coverage and we knew if we went empty we had some of our slots against some of their inside backers and we knew we had an advantage speed wise,” Carvalho said. “We set that play up. We were waiting for perfect timing and that was huge going into the half having a little bit of a confidence booster.”
Failauga, held to 34 yards on 12 carries in the first half, broke loose down the left side for a 69-yard score on Waipahu’s second play of the third quarter.
Marques then led a 14-play drive capped by a 10-yard pass to Jeff Badua, who made a diving catch at the right pylon for a score. Waianae responded with Joseph’s TD reception from Kevin Poepoe to close to 20-13 with 7:13 left.
But on third-and-13, Marques scrambled away from pressure and connected with Devin Espiritu down the sideline. Espiritu sprinted through the Waianae secondary for a 67-yard score and Waipahu reclaimed control.
“Cody’s ability to extend plays, get outside the pocket, that stuff you cannot teach,” Carvalho said. “We draw the play up to work the way it works. All the extra stuff, being able to extend a play, that’s all on him.”
Waipahu opens Division I play at ‘Iolani next week. Waianae has little time to dwell on the loss with a meeting with No. 1 Saint Louis looming on Aug. 10.