HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Resurgent Seariders have Waianae abuzz
When Waianae last won a league championship, the current Seariders were barely out of kindergarten.
Nine years after then-coach Leo Taaca led Waianae to back-to-back Oahu Interscholastic Association championships, there is a stirring in the hearts of Searider faithful. No, they don't need a win over three-time defending OIA champ Kahuku to validate their loyalty.
The fact is, however, that Waianae may be the only team remaining in postseason play that can put a halt -- or a speed bump -- in front of Kahuku's steamrolling, smashmouth football attack. The Seariders got past Mililani 7-6 in the semifinal round. They contained a Mililani passing attack that had amassed more than 400 yards in two previous games.
"We got beat a couple of times, but we got lucky they were overthrown," Waianae coach Daniel Matsumoto said yesterday. "They still could move the ball, but the field position, we were fortunate with the field position. That helped a lot."
The Seariders met on Saturday, not long after their victory.
"Everyone is still excited. Nothing is really different, but they are excited about playing for the OIA championship. It's been a while," Matsumoto said.
Mililani ran the ball 64 percent of the time, giving league-leading rusher Jordan Torres 14 carries. He finished with 74 yards against a bruising Waianae defense. As a team, the Trojans managed 86 rushing yards on 29 carries, or less than 3 yards per attempt.
"We had a feeling they were going to try and run the ball. (Torres) sure runs well against other teams," Matsumoto said.
Waianae moved up to No. 3 in today's Star-Bulletin Football Top 10.
Iron sharpens iron: The brutal, cannibalistic world of Interscholastic League of Honolulu athletics -- and academics, if you ask enough students -- hasn't changed over the years. Talent in masses breeds extreme competitiveness.
That level of competition within schools and between programs creates a quality of play that makes for great drama, which is what the ILH had this season on the gridiron. Kamehameha entered the conference season unbeaten with stealth defense that had limited offensive juggernauts like Farrington and Redlands East Valley (Calif.) to single-digit scores.
Defending league champion Punahou finished its nonconference slate perfectly after a 23-16 win over Washington state's No. 1 team, Eastlake, at Qwest Field in Seattle. The Buffanblu defense had just two returning starters, but after four nonconference games, Punahou was primed to win another crown.
Saint Louis? The arsenal was there for coach Delbert Tengan and a staff that is perennially one of the most creative in the state. Few other staffs make halftime adjustments as successfully. The defense and special teams dominated opposition in August and early September. Would the offense catch up?
Over the course of the ILH season, it became clear that the Crusaders offense was up to the task. In fact, the offense under quarterback Micah Mamiya was so effective, Saint Louis swept through the rest of the league on the first go-round. When the Crusaders then beat Division I foes Kamehameha and Punahou a second time, there wasn't a doubter left. Now 10-0, Saint Louis has a bye week for the first time in ages.