Manley under control with game on the line
The Man-child grew up last night.
In a matter of 1 minute and 34 seconds, Andrew Manley's legend in Wahiawa swelled exponentially as the sophomore quarterback guided Leilehua on a drive that culminated with an improbable state championship.
Manley -- called up from the junior varsity during the OIA playoffs -- showed the poise of a veteran on the decisive drive in the Mules' dramatic 20-16 win over Saint Louis last night at Aloha Stadium.
After the Mules took over at their own 37 with 2:10 left and the Crusaders up by three, Manley completed three passes and converted a key fourth down with a 3-yard run. He capped the drive by lofting a 15-yard strike to receiver Edieson Dumlao for the winning score with 36 seconds left on the clock -- a play that will live in Leilehua lore long after he finishes a just-blossoming high school career.
"No words can describe it," Manley said. "You can only dream about this. I'll remember this for the rest of my life."
Manley struggled early and finished with 18 completions in 42 attempts for 181 yards with two interceptions and the winning touchdown pass.
Understandably jittery at the start, Manley's passes often sailed in the first half as he connected on just four of 14 throws for 23 yards.
"(At halftime) we made sure our receivers ran the right routes and I had to bring my throws down," Manley said. "I had to calm myself down."
Still, the Mules led early as the defense came up with three turnovers in the first half. Kahaku Kama recovered a fumble by Saint Louis quarterback Micah Mamiya on the game's first play and Allan Macam returned an interception 28 yards for the first defensive touchdown in a Division I state championship game since it was instituted in 1999.
The top-ranked Crusaders battled back to take a 9-6 lead into halftime and stretched to 16-6 entering the final period.
The Mules closed the gap on a 1-yard run by Bronson Pausa with 6:13 left and the defense came up with a stop at midfield with 2:10 left.
It was then that Manley turned to a lesson from his JV days of not-so-long ago.
"One time when I was on JV I threw an interception on the first play (of a late drive)," he said. "So I just said to myself, 'just complete the ball, take your time, get the first downs, stop the clock and we're going to win this game, baby.' "
A roughing-the-passer penalty followed by a pass-interference call moved the Mules into Crusader territory. Facing fourth and 1, Manley took it up the middle for a 3-yard gain to keep the Mules kicking.
"He was very cool; that was a good job by Andrew," Dumlao said. "He fought back."
After a 6-yard completion to Macam, Manley completed the throw to Dumlao running down the right side of the end zone.
"I saw him do a little stutter-streak and I just threw it to him. I trusted Edieson," Manley said.