Waipahu raises the Jolly Roger


This post was inches away from being about Aiea.

But thanks to quarterback Kai Mercado-Aiona’s heroics, Waipahu stole the show and the game on Saturday with a last-second touchdown to win 20-19 over Na Alii. Mercado-Aiona had to fully extend to get the ball across the goal line on the game’s final play.

The win all but eliminated snakebitten Aiea (0-4) from playoff contention and gave Waipahu (1-2) a fighting chance at the OIA Red West playoffs.

“It’s pretty big,” Mercado-Aiona said of the win, capped off by the Marauders’ 70-yard drive with a little over two minutes remaining. “It’s so touching, the feeling, a crazy experience that I’ll never forget. Super awesome.”

Coach Eric Keola’s team still has plenty of work to do to qualify for one of six (corrected from five) West playoff berths. Up next are daunting games at Waianae and at Campbell, capped off with the regular-season finale at home against Leilehua. A true gauntlet.

Meanwhile, Aiea has to win out at home against Leilehua and, most difficult of all, on the road at Mililani to give itself a chance. Na Alii coach Wendell Say should be commended for talking to the media in the immediate aftermath of such a difficult loss as the Waipahu game.

“It’s tough. It’s hard. The kids played hard. They played their hearts out,” Say said. “But it’s always a learning (experience) and we got two more games. Hopefully we can turn it around.”

For one night, the Marauders salvaged their season and could raise the Jolly Roger high.


  1. Helping Hand September 16, 2013 6:37 pm

    Brian there are SIX berths from each division with 12 of 14 teams from the RED making the postseason. This win was essentially for that last and final spot and that’s what made Waipahu’s comeback remarkable. That QB of there’s saved their season. Kudos to Aiea though, they still have a chance. If they beat Leilehua this week then that’s huge because Leilehua and Aiea will be tied with one win a piece with Aiea getting the tie breaker head to head. Of course, a lot of other things have to work in Aiea’s favor, but it’s still possible. Should Aiea win this week against the Mules, a Waipahu homecoming win over Leilehua would do a big favor for Na Ali’i.

  2. Brian McInnis September 17, 2013 12:17 am

    Hey Helping,

    Yes you are correct on the six berths, thanks for the feedback and heads up. It was a tough loss for Aiea but I could see them picking up a win, and who knows, maybe two in their last stand.

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