A 29-5 loss to front-running Moanalua wasn’t all minuses for the Waipahu Marauders.
Quarterback Cody Marques struggled early, then seemed to come alive after making some heady plays, escaping the pass rush to get his team marching downfield. But injuries on back-to-back second-half drives ended his night.
Marques finished with 151 yards through the air, 16-for-26 with an early interception. It was a learning experience for the young Marauders, who had a chance to move into a first-place tie. Moanalua was simply a little more savvy. Marques’ interception was read by Moanalua the whole way, a post-corner route by his receiver, and safety Christian Sison stood there in the right corner waiting for the easy pick.
That kept Na Menehune up by two touchdowns.
But Marques, like his teammates, never gave up. With running back Alfred Failauga — arguably the greatest rusher in school history — sidelined (root canal), Marques seemed to find his confidence despite the offensive struggle. Waipahu’s defense, dealing with a lot of early three-and-outs, came up with three sacks, including one for a safety by Abraham Montero, a 6-foot-3, 251-pound senior, and fellow trench man Dason Santana (6-1, 250). They combined for 2 1/2 takedowns of Moanalua’s slippery QB, Nick Au.
“Outside of the two big plays early, we played well defensively,” Waipahu coach Bryson Carvalho said.
Moanalua’s first two TDs, a 63-yard strike from Au to Ezra Grace, then a 45-yard score from Au to Rudy Kealohi, came on the QB’s first two pass attempts. After that, Na Menehune never got greedy, taking the short routes that Waipahu offered. For the rest of the game, Au averaged 6.1 yards per attempt — a very respectable number for Waipahu’s defense.
Without Failauga, the balance in Waipahu’s offense was lacking. The Marauders rushed for 23 yards on 21 attempts. That was a minor miracle, actually. They played the entire game, Carvalho noted, with five offensive linemen.
“We had no room for error. I have to give props to our offensive line,” he said.
Waipahu (5-4, 4-2 OIA D-I) has a playoff berth sealed. A trip to Kailua next Friday will close the regular season.