HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
PAUL HONDA / PHONDA@STARBULLETIN.COM
In fthe foreground, right, Douglas Newman, left, and Nathaniel Kahala celebrated after Waianae defeated Farrington last night.
Waianae earns trip to states
Defense wins championships much of the time.
Defense can also earn a team a trip to the Kona Coast. Waianae's defense bent but rarely broke in a 17-7 win over Farrington last night at muddy Roosevelt Stadium to secure a state-tournament berth.
The eighth-ranked Seariders claimed third place in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference and will travel to the Big Island this week. Waianae (8-3) will face Kealakehe, which earned the Big Island Interscholastic Federation championship last night with a win over Keaau.
Farrington accumulated a robust 274 total yards of offense, but struggled to finish off drives without their primary weapon. Running back Kenneth Faumui did not suit up due to academic probation, though Hercules Sula stepped in with 18 carries for 127 yards.
Quarterback Elijah Filifili completed 12 of his 31 attempts for 132 yards. He misfired on his last 12 attempts, including two interceptions.
Penalties also derailed the Governors, who collected 15 penalties for 102 yards.
Waianae's defense, facing a big offensive line led by Whitley Fehoko, forced four Farrington turnovers. The Searider offense overcame the loss of quarterback Henry Keomalu -- who injured an ankle last week -- and rode on the shoulders of Liko Manuel.
"We stuck in there, and the line did good," said Manuel, who made his first start. "Our coaches said, 'Calm down. Don't rush.' I had small-kine nerves, but right after the first play, they were gone."
Waianae's posse of running backs used a mix of finesse and brute strength. Curtis Jones led the way with 86 hard-earned yards on 21 carries. Nui Stevens had just 42 yards on 10 attempts, but he provided crucial inside yardage as Waianae played keep-away for much of the night.
"Coach said, 'Stay on track and hold on to the ball.' That was one of the better defenses we've faced," Jones said.
Manuel completed just five of his 11 pass attempts, but he did not turn the ball over.
William Duseigner, filling in at place-kicker in the absence of Keomalu, proved to be a difference-maker with a field goal and two PAT kicks.
All those factors worked against Farrington, which closed the season at 5-7, but earned a symbolic vote as the most improved team in the OIA Red.
"Offensively, we moved the ball up and down the field, but we didn't make plays when we needed to," Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said. "Not having Kenneth had a ripple effect for us."
Farrington also lost the services of receiver Elijah Lesu in the second half when he suffered a severe case of leg cramps.
The Seariders came through early with their special teams. After Junior Faliuga blocked a Larry Siuta field-goal try from 33 yards out, Waianae drove deep into Farrington territory. Duseigner, kicking straight-on, drilled a 31-yard field goal to give the Seariders a 3-0 lead with 1:29 left in the first quarter.
Aside from a pass-interference call against Farrington, the eight plays in Waianae's drive were all on the ground.
Both offenses were conservative, resulting in paltry results until Waianae struck again. Manuel connected with Joshua Telles for a 37-yard touchdown pass with 1:32 left in the second quarter. Telles broke one tackle and eluded two more attempts at the 8-yard line on his way to the end zone.
Waianae led 10-0 after Duseigner's PAT kick.
The Governors need just 51 seconds to respond with a score. Filifili found Lesu on a deep route, and the 5-foot-10 junior broke a tackle for a 27-yard touchdown. Farrington trailed 10-7 with 29 seconds remaining in the half.
Farrington's momentum didn't carry into the second half. Waianae drove 55 yards in 11 plays, capping the series on Jones' 4-yard touchdown run off right tackle. The Seariders led 17-7 with 11:56 to play in the game.
On the next possession, the Govs drove to the Waianae 10-yard line, but Filifili's pass to Falealo Mauga was picked off by cornerback Preston Avala. Farrington never seriously threatened again.
"We've gone through a lot of ups and downs this season," Okimoto noted. "I gotta say a lot of it goes to commitment. We need to improve our work ethic. That's my No. 1 priority."
Waianae 17, Farrington 7
At Roosevelt H.S. field
Wain--FG William Duseigner 31.
Wain--Joshua Telles 37 pass from Liko Manuel (Duseigner kick).
Farr--Elijah Lesu 27 pass from Elijah Filifili (Larry Siuta kick).
Wain--Curtis Jones 4 run (Duseigner kick).
Rushing--Waianae: Jones 21-86, Nui Stevens 10-42, Darius Fuller 6-41, Joshua Telles 6-12, Preston Avala 1-9, David Ferreira 1-3, Manuel 1-(-11). Farrington: Hercules Sula 18-127, Elisha Faasu 3-13, Tauave Vili 1-2, Steven Kamano 1-1, Maeli Siliga 1-0, Filifili 2-(-1).
Passing--Waianae: Manuel 5-11-0-63. Farrington: Filifili 12-31-2-132, Siliga 0-1-0-0.
Receiving--Waianae: Telles 2-42, Stevens 2-14, Jones 1-7. Farrington: Lesu 6-46, Sula 3-52, Siliga 2-31, Vili 1-3.