HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Seariders running back Justin Kauwalu broke away from Kapolei's Lyle Brackenridge at Waianae yesterday.
Waianae runs over Kapolei
Down to an emergency quarterback, the Waianae Seariders prescribed the perfect cure.
Teamwork, emphasized more than ever by Searider coaches over a bye-induced two-week respite, powered No. 8 Waianae to a 28-7 win over ninth-ranked Kapolei last night.
A frenzied senior night crowd of about 2,000 saw Waianae clinch second place in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West. At 4-2 in league play, the Seariders (6-2 overall) will have a first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs. They did it with B.J. Jelf in his first varsity start at quarterback.
Jelf, a running back, made the switch this week because starter R.J. Tacgere-Bailey was sidelined by the flu. In addition, Waianae was without speedy quarterback-wide receiver Ben McQuown, away in Arizona for a baseball tournament.
"They asked me to take some snaps and I was ready for it," said Jelf, who ran for Waianae's first two touchdowns against a tough, but tiring Kapolei defense. "Our line did awesome. They were the key. Our coaches were talking about team work will take us all the way."
Waianae rushed 47 times for 250 yards.
"They were tough up front, more physical than us, and that's what it comes down to," Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. "Our defense was on the field too long. It was an old-school football game."
Kapolei, 3-3 in league play, has qualified for the playoffs.
Waianae was in danger of falling into that third-place quagmire, but got plenty of production from the offensive line and its backfield. Justin Kauwalu gained 97 yards on 17 carries, and Jelf ran for 75 yards on 11 attempts, including a number of designed quarterback draws.
"We came out with a whole new offensive scheme," said Jelf, who also threw for 91 yards. "The shotgun, the bunch sets."
Hernandez, he noted, is an uncle on his mother's side.
"It was fun to beat him," Jelf said.
Though he threw two interceptions, Jelf did not fumble and was surprisingly flawless in his execution under center. Waianae's offensive line came through on its second series of the game. The Seariders drove 63 yards in nine plays, including a 19-yard play-action pass from Jelf to fullback Jonathan Abell.
On fourth down out of the shotgun, Jelf ran left and scored easily from 8 yards out to give Waianae a 7-0 lead with 1:58 left in the opening quarter.
Kapolei eventually caught on to Jelf's strengths, cornering him on the shotgun keepers. However, a muffed punt by Kapolei gave the Seariders first down at the Kapolei 7-yard line with 23 seconds left in the half.
Jelf ran right on the next play and was stopped at the 4-yard line, but failed to get out of bounds as the clock ticked down. With no timeouts left, Jelf got the next snap off in time, but his pass to Glenn Wain fell incomplete as the clock expired, and Waianae came up empty.
Waianae's air-tight defense, however, was a major factor with five sacks in the first half. Kapolei managed just 26 total yards before intermission.
Kapolei's best scoring opportunity came early in the third quarter. The 'Canes drove to the Waianae 25-yard line, but Mason Koa's pass into the end zone was picked off by Bronson Panui.
"That interception was key," Seariders coach Daniel Matsumoto said.
Jelf scored his next touchdown, a 9-yard scramble on the right side, to give Waianae a 13-0 lead with 11:21 left in the game. Jelf's 43-yard strike to Wain fueled the drive.
A 39-yard punt return by Bryson Kekahuna sparked Waianae's next touchdown. Abell scored up the gut on a 17-yard run as Waianae took a commanding 21-0 lead with 7:53 remaining.
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