The field was so muddy at Kailua’s Alex Kane Stadium that Waipahu running back Alfred Failauga had to confirm afterward that it was indeed him who scored the game-winning touchdown in a 12-6 double-overtime victory, spoiling senior night for the Surfriders.
Friday night’s battle was a wet and muddy mess, leaving the majority of players from both squads unrecognizable from the press box because of their jerseys getting covered in brown.
“We’re feeling pretty great about that one,” Failauga said. “It was a pretty close game but eventually we went to overtime and who wouldn’t want that win? We came out with it and congrats to our team.”
Both teams struggled mightily to find any rhythm offensively throughout the game due to the conditions. There was also a 30-minute delay before kickoff and a 15-minute delay at halftime.
When things were tied at 6 at the end of regulation, both teams lined up for handshakes before game officials and coaches met at midfield and determined overtime is required.
Waipahu head coach Bryson Carvalho was glass half-full after his team endured a battle on a field that was more than half mud.
“It was frustrating I think for both coaching staffs and both teams. Just walking across and shaking hands, it was an eye-opener for both coaches to see what our kids played in the entire game,” he said. “It wasn’t easy. It was sloppy for sure. To be able to persevere through all of that and come out with a dub (win), that was real big for us.”
In order to adjust to the elements, Waipahu only threw the ball eight times while Kailua did so eight times. It did little to stop both teams from fumbling, punting and turning the ball over numerous times.
The Surfriders struck first when linebacker Leighton Russell scooped up a fumble on an attempted double reverse by Waipahu for a 10-yard touchdown with 5:05 left in the first quarter. Waipahu tied things up when Branson Jay Reyes zoomed past defenders for an 85-yard score with 1:06 left in the first half. Both teams missed their extra points and multiple go-ahead field goals in regulation.
Failauga spearheaded the Waipahu rushing attack with a game-high 100 yards on 17 carries. The lack of traction mattered little to the junior, who compared the playing surface to Konawaena’s. In last year’s HHSAA Division II semifinals, he ran the ball 42 times for four touchdowns and 283 yards, a state record.
The win breaks a two-game skid for Waipahu heading into the OIA playoffs, where it will face off against Leilehua in the semifinals. Carvalho is hopeful that his team can turn in a complete performance against the Mules, especially because he says the team hasn’t had one this year.
“With this team, we never really had our full team with all true starters play,” Carvalho said, noting that starting quarterback Cody Marques was out on Friday but will be available against Leilehua. “I’m looking forward to that. The team is definitely still not playing to their full potential yet, which we should be.
“There’s a term ‘postseason form’ for a reason. We gotta start playing in that kind of form. We gotta lessen the mistakes and just play smarter football. I think once we do that, we should be OK, but easier said than done.”
The Marauders boarded their team buses with a sense of guilt after Friday’s win. Even with the celebrating, there was still chatter and murmurs lamenting the work it would take to clean up after them once they got off.
“We’re usually used to turf but in this weather, we were ready,” Failauga said. “It was a good fight for us.
“It was a good one but I’m excited to wash off.”