HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Waianae's Preston Ayala, right, broke up a pass intended for Ikaikia Payomo of Mililani during last night's second half.
Seariders smash way into title game
The pride of Waianae is back once more.
David Ferreira scored a game-tying touchdown on a 7-yard blast up the middle with 7:05 left, and Willie Duseigneur tacked on the go-ahead PAT kick as the Seariders outlasted Mililani, 7-6, last night in the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference playoffs at Aloha Stadium.
"That's what happens when you work hard," said Duseigneur, who plays right guard when he's not delivering old-school, straight-on kicks. He drilled the pivotal extra-point kick without a second thought.
"Nothing. I don't think about it. I just kick it," the 6-foot 270-pounder said.
Unusually sloppy with the ball, Waianae (7-3) overcame four turnovers to pull out the win over a tough Trojan squad. The Seariders will meet three-time defending OIA champion Kahuku on Friday at Aloha Stadium.
Quarterback Ben McQuown scrambled for 90 yards on seven carries, but tossed two interceptions.
"We had mental errors that were my fault, but we pulled through in the end," he said.
Joe Abell ran for 81 yards on 12 carries as Waianae finished with 250 yards on the ground on 41 attempts.
A crowd of 6,447 saw Mililani, which had lost at home to Waianae 28-13 in the regular season, on the verge of an upset late in the game.
After Ferreira's touchdown, Mililani went three and out and punted back to Waianae. The Seariders ran the clock, before the drive stalled at their own 42-yard line. However, on the ensuing punt, Mililani was whistled for illegal participation -- too many players on the field -- and gave Waianae a first down.
The Seariders accepted the gift and literally ran out the remaining 4:01 with their posse of running backs. Mililani never got the ball back.
Fourth-ranked Waianae had a huge edge in total yardage, 346 to Mililani's 149, but had to rely on defense and special teams to get the job done. Linebackers George Kauwalu and Chad Duran anchored a steady Searider defense. Duran and Kauwalu each finished with seven solo tackles.
"I feel good. Waianae hasn't been to the championship in a long time," Kauwalu said. "We were expecting a close game from Mililani."
Eighth-ranked Mililani (7-3) will meet Leilehua next week in an elimination game. The winner will secure the OIA's third and final state-tournament berth. The victor will also host the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion in the opening round of the state tourney.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
David Ferreira of Waianae found the end zone with 7:05 left in the game, tying the score at 6. The Seariders made the extra point for a 7-6 win over Mililani.
Jordan Torres, the OIA's top rusher, finished with 74 yards on 14 attempts.
Despite committing no turnovers, the Trojans couldn't close the gap.
"Our special teams hurt us tonight," coach James Millwood said. "Defensively, we played real tough in the first half. We forced turnovers and gave our offense opportunities. Waianae's tough and fast, and we left our defense out there too long."
The Seariders racked up 204 total yards in the first half but had no points to show for their work.
Three turnovers halted momentum, including a fumble by Preston Cummings that ended Waianae's first drive at the Mililani 25-yard line.
They also fumbled away their next possession when Danny Kekoanui lost the ball at the Waianae 41-yard line. David Rivers came up with his second fumble recovery on the play, but Mililani was unable to score despite its best field position of the half.
With the help of a 32-yard scramble by McQuown, the Seariders drove to Mililani's 14-yard line early in the second quarter. However, McQuown's rollout pass attempt to Kekoanui near the sideline was picked off by Cody Kilthau.
Kilthau's diving interception gave the Trojans the ball at their own 18-yard line, but they did not threaten to score for the rest of the half. Mililani managed to gain just 73 total yards before intermission.
The second half began with the same elation and deflation for the horde of Searider fans. Waianae drove to the Mililani 23-yard line, but McQuown's lob to Kelemeke Maifea in double coverage was picked off again by Kilthau.
The Trojans turned around and pounded away between the tackles for a 12-play, 91-yard drive. Torres ran for 30 yards on the drive, and Rustin Funakoshi fired a strike to Colin Lund on a post route for a 16-yard touchdown play.
Mililani led 6-0 with 4:28 left in the third quarter. However, the ensuing extra-point snap was high, and Matt Ibanez easily blocked the attempt by Lund. An earlier injury to offensive lineman David Otani put a wrench in the machinery, Millwood noted. Otani's replacement was on the wrong side of the line, which allowed Ibanez to leak in.
With the Trojan offense sputtering from that point on, their defensive unit began to tire. Cranston Newman's bleeder punts, an effective weapon in the field-position game, proved to be pivotal. His 45-yard punt pinned Mililani at its 4-yard line to end the third quarter.
After a Trojan punt went out of bounds at the 34-yard line, Waianae had a short field and a hungry offensive line to work with. Ferreira picked up 14 yards quickly, and capped the five-play drive with his scoring run.