HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Moanalua's Emanuel Vierra tried to get past McKinley's Vance Valdez last night.
Monico runs, passes Moanalua to victory
Everything about Jordan Monico sparkled last night -- save, perhaps, his stretched and dirt-stained jersey.
Moanalua's bruising 6-foot, 226-pound quarterback put on a complete offensive display to help Na Menehune pull away from McKinley, 35-7, and earn their first Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East division victory of the season (2-3-1, 1-3 OIA Red) on the Tigers' homecoming night.
Monico accounted for all five of Na Menehune's touchdowns and finished with 231 yards of total offense.
The win helped Moanalua's chances of advancing to the OIA playoffs over winless McKinley (0-6, 0-4).
Monico went 6-for-7 in the first half with 111 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the air -- a departure from his normal workmanlike quarterback keepers.
Moanalua's chances to move up in the Red East were severely hampered with a less-than-healthy Monico earlier in the season. He had both a left hamstring pull and right knee sprain from the offseason, but last night was the first time he considered himself recuperated, and it showed.
"He's been working through it like a warrior for us," coach Arnold Martinez said. "On about the second series I said, 'Jordan, are you back?' And he says, 'I'm back.' He worked it all out and showed up big for us here."
Said Monico, "Today I was feeling good again, and showed I can throw, too. Stay in the pocket, make reads. I'm not just a running quarterback."
McKinley played Moanalua to a 7-7 draw for the majority of the first half, but things fell apart rapidly in a disastrous final minute.
Monico found Emanuel Vierra for an 11-yard touchdown strike with 42 seconds left. On the ensuing kickoff, McKinley fumbled the return and Moanalua recovered the ball at the Tigers' 24. Two plays later, Monico faked a keeper, backed off, and lobbed a perfect ball to a wide-open Pono Tiave for a 21-7 advantage at the break.
Monico tacked on 2- and 1-yard quarterback sneak scores in the second half to help the visitors pull away. Moanalua also came up with a big stuff of Will Starks on fourth down at the 1-yard line, and Toby Kim intercepted quarterback Earvin Sione at the 1 to preserve the second-half shutout.
To confound matters, McKinley lost starting linebacker Kalani Wong with a dislocated knee on the second-half kickoff. A series of personal fouls ensued from that point on.
Although both teams shared a pregame prayer at midfield before kickoff, the two head coaches mutually agreed that the players were better off proceeding straight to their buses after the game.
"We gotta work on some character issues on the field right now," McKinley coach Bobby Grey said. "I'm embarrassed (for) a couple individuals that ruin it for my team, who are working hard to become better people. I respect Coach Martinez."
Grey was Moanalua's offensive coordinator under Martinez three seasons ago.
OIA Red West
Campbell 21, Radford 14
The Sabers beat the Rams in their final home game, led by Chris Fuga and Juliano Stevenson, who returned an interception and a fumble, respectively, for TDs. Jonathan Atangan scored twice in the first half for the Rams, but they were then shut out in the second half by the Sabers defense.
Waipahu 56, Kalani 0
The Marauders scored eight times in the first half, led by Troy Matautia and Keo Palimoo, who each had two rushing TDs for the night. The Marauders defense held the Falcons to minus-62 rushing yards and 18 passing.