Kailua junior Mark Lagazo filled the role of the “next man up” at a couple of positions for the Surfriders on Saturday.
Listed as a running back and defensive back on the Kailua roster, Lagazo delivered big plays in both spots to help the Surfriders remain undefeated with a 34-21 win over Aiea.
Part of Kailua’s rotation of five running backs, Lagazo was also pressed into duty as a cornerback. He set up the Surfriders’ second touchdown of the night with an interception with 2:15 left in the second quarter. Two plays later on offense, he circled out of the backfield and caught a 23-yard pass from Noah Auld to the Aiea 1 and the Surfriders scored two plays later.
After Aiea cut Kailua’s 21-point lead early in the fourth quarter to seven with 8:43 left, Lagazo capped a 12-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown run to give the Surfriders some breathing room.
Lagazo then broke up two passes on Aiea’s next possession. After Kailua stopped Aiea on downs, Lagazo rushed for 20 more yards on two carries and the Surfriders were able to run out the clock.
Lagazo’s two-way contributions helped Kailua improve to 4-0 for the first time since a 6-0 start to the 2003 season.
“He has to play the corner. (Running back) Gabe LeLesch was a little hobbled so we had to move to the next guy. He came in and helped us out tremendously,” Kailua coach Joseph Wong said.
“Our motto here at Kailua is the next man up. You have 11 starters on offense, 11 on defense, but it’s the next guy that’s gonna come in, he’s the key factor.
“That’s what I told everyone. It’s not the guy that starts, it’s the guy that comes in for the guy that needs a breather.”
Despite scoring on an 85-yard touchdown pass from Auld to Martin Tigilau on the Surfriders’ first play from scrimmage on the way to a 21-0 lead, things looked a bit tenuous for Kailua in the fourth quarter.
Aiea seized the momentum with two touchdowns in a span of 2:33 in the fourth quarter to cut Kailua’s lead to 28-21. The Surfriders extended their ensuing drive despite facing a second-and-29 and a second-and-20 and Aiea penalties contributed to their march.
An encroachment call gave Kailua a first down and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty turned what would have been third-and-20 into a far less daunting third-and-five. Auld hit Tigilau for a 7-yard gain to move the sticks and later converted on fourth-and-five with a 10-yard run on a quarterback draw. Lagazo scored on the next play to effectively put the game away.
“Mark had to come in and help us out in the run game … just a number of kids going and helping when they’re supposed to help. It’s an unselfish mentality here at Kailua, so that’s what we’re trying to build,” Wong said.
“We don’t have the 60, 65 players, but we do have good quality and when they come in and do what we ask of them things work out.”
Kailua is tied with Mililani atop the OIA Blue at 3-0 and next faces Campbell at home on Sept. 4.