OIA RED PLAYOFFS
Waianae trips Kailua in emotional contest
A good talking-to at halftime was precisely what the Waianae Seariders needed to wake up in time for a 14-10 comeback win last night at Raymond Torii Field.
Tenth-ranked Waianae (7-2) advanced to the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red playoffs. The Seariders will play Aiea or Castle, two teams that meet tonight at Kaiser Stadium.
"Our offensive coaches gave a good speech to the kids at halftime," Waianae coach Danny Matsumoto said. "Our defense buckled down and got disciplined, and we played a good second half. Give credit to Kailua. They're a tough, physical team. We were fortunate to win this one."
Kailua was extremely difficult for the Seariders to handle from the start. The finish was less than ideal. Kailua had possession at its own 3-yard line when the game was halted for 4 minutes by an off-field incident.
Moments later, facing first and 22, Kailua quarterback Nathan Alvarado was sacked in the end zone. A roughing-the-passer call was made, but a few players nearly came to blows.
With one Kailua player walking out to midfield to challenge Waianae -- he was pulled back by teammates -- officials huddled and decided to call the game with 24 seconds left. The bizarre situation and the escalating tension among the capacity crowd may have contributed to the decision.
"For the safety of fans and players, it may have been the right call," Matsumoto said. "It's too bad the game had to end this way."
Whatever the case, Kailua coach Gary Rosolowich was not happy. A fumble at the Waianae goal line by Seariders quarterback Henry Keomalu was ruled an incomplete pass, adding to Kailua's heartache.
"I just think, under these circumstances, the forces that arrayed against for almost 48 minutes, another 24 seconds wouldn't have mattered," Rosolowich said.
Kailua finished the season 3-4 in OIA play (3-6 overall), but gave a good effort before one of the league's toughest home crowds.
"Our guys played hard through adversity, and battled and battled and battled," Rosolowich added. "We really came together as a team after the way we started the season."
Kailua was whistled 18 times for 152 penalty yards. Waianae had five yellow flags for 47 yards.
"There's a time to let players play football, not to regulate a game to minutiae," Rosolowich lamented. "It's a disservice to football."
Despite the long drive and Waianae's home-field edge, the Surfriders played a strong first half. Jacob Gibson ran left, cut back and galloped 58 yards for Kailua's first touchdown. The Surfriders led 7-0 with 6:50 left in the first quarter.
Waianae responded on the ensuing series, driving 65 yards in nine plays. Keomalu connected with tight end Miller Ualesi for a key 36-yard gain, and a Kailua personal foul gave the Surfriders first down at the 9-yard line.
Keomalu snuck in on fourth and goal from the 1 and added the point-after kick to tie the game at 7 with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter.
Kailua's offense sputtered for a time, but Waianae's second fumble derailed momentum. The Surfriders, with an advantage in field position for most of the second quarter, drove just 29 yards to set up a field-goal attempt by Kaiko Sasaoka.
The junior place-kicker drilled one 24 yards out. Kailua led 10-7 with 48 seconds to play in the first half.
The Seariders picked up intensity on offense and marched 76 yards to paydirt on the opening series of the second half. Their 15-play drive, bolstered by a pair of Kailua pass-interference calls, culminated with Curtis Jones' 2-yard end-around. Waianae led 14-10 with 7:54 left in the third quarter.