HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Waianae's Justin Kauwalu tried to fend off Farrington's Mark Stowers in the first half of a 21-7 win last night. Kauwalu gained 87 yards on 14 carries.
Waianae gets its revenge
Consider the favor repaid in kind.
A year after Farrington rolled down its namesake highway and dealt Waianae a 37-0 loss on its home field to open the season, Waianae avenged the blowout with a 21-7 answer last night at Raymond Torii field.
The No. 5 Seariders (1-0) overcame early miscues and punished the No. 10 Governors (0-1) with a triad of ballcarriers, led by Justin Kauwalu's two touchdowns and 87 yards.
Waianae went early with a two-headed running game of Danny Kekoanui and Kauwalu, then added BJ Jelf to the mix in the second half for a potent and unpredictable attack. Jelf, using considerable quickness, profited to the tune of 66 yards on just seven carries. The three combined for 199 of the Seariders' 240 yards of total offense. Only 34 yards came through the air.
"We'll take whatever they give us; I was happy with the running game," Waianae coach Daniel Matsumoto said. "Our running backs ran hard tonight, and our line, it was a pretty good job."
The passing game was a noticeable weakness for his team -- miscommunication led to three interceptions thrown by Waianae quarterback Ben McQuown, all in the first half -- but at this point in the season, the coach will take it.
"It's always good to win, but we still have a lot of work to do," Matsumoto said. "We looked sloppy at times, but overall ... not too bad."
Kekoanui accounted for the lone score of the first half, punching through the Farrington line for a 1-yard touchdown on his third attempt midway through the first quarter. After a missed extra point, Waianae led 6-0.
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Farrington quarterback Alefesio Iu was sacked by Waianae's Wade Keliikipi in the first half last night.
The Governors gained only 31 total yards in the first half compared to 103 for the Seariders, and it could have been even worse for Farrington.
Seniors Grant Hamilton and Jimmy Robinson, and junior Kalei Stevens each nabbed an interception off of McQuown in the first half, deflating Seariders drives. While the Govs couldn't get much going offensively after forcing turnovers, efficient Farrington punting kept Waianae pinned inside its own 10-yard line twice in a fruitless second quarter.
But as the running game started to come together for Waianae in the second half, so too did its defense. On one drive in the third quarter, linemen Jeff Voa, Wade Keliikipi and Daniel Teo-Gibney all sacked new Govs quarterback Alefesio Iu, drawing roars from the Waianae faithful on each occasion.
Kauwalu found a hole to the left for a 3-yard score with 4:50 to play in the third, and McQuown found Jelf for the 2-point conversion on a pretty catch in the back right corner of the end zone as he fell out of bounds.
When Kauwalu punched through on a 4-yard run to help put the Seariders up 21-0 with 5:05 to play in the game, their payback was all but assured.
Iu did his part and redeemed the Govs' offense in the game's closing moments, lobbing the ball high for receiver Ani Isumu, who made a great catch near the right sideline and sprinted beyond the Searider defensive backs for a 70-yard score with 14 seconds left, preventing the shutout.
The Govs missed the presence of powerful running back Hercules Sula and sure-handed receiver Elijah Lesu, lost to graduation, and coach Randall Okimoto confirmed it.
"We're kind of where we thought we were gonna be," he said. "We had to replace a lot ... it was a good test for us. (Elijah), he was offensive player of the year ... we miss him. But we got guys, we got guys to replace him. They just got to step up."
Okimoto was thankful for a full week of practice to get mistakes corrected.
"Our guys looked tired, out of shape," Okimoto said. "We gotta get in better condition, that's something we can work on."
Waialua 35, Honokaa 21
Kaleo Lopez scored two touchdowns, including a 66-yard reception from Donovan Mataf, as the Bulldogs exploded for four second quarter touchdowns en route to a victory over the visiting Dragons.