McKinley quarterback Abel Werner threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns last night in a 35-0 win over Waianae.

McKinley picks up
a big win

The Tigers shut down the Seariders
35-0 to earn a spot in the state tournament

By Nick Abramo

McKinley stormed through the Oahu Interscholastic Association quarterfinals last night and qualified for the state football tournament by demolishing Waianae 35-0 at Aloha Stadium.

The Tigers (7-3) broke open a close first half with three interceptions and 20 points in the final three minutes to take a 27-0 lead at the break.

Defensive backs Elliot Twiggs and Daniel Desoto and linebacker Tony Mareko did the damage for the Tigers. Twiggs' pickoff led to Isaiah Iaea's 62-yard touchdown catch-and-run from quarterback Abel Werner for a 13-0 lead.

Desoto intercepted Seariders quarterback Addison Popa and returned it 85 yards for the next score, and with McKinley ahead 19-0, the rout was on.

Mareko's pick of Waianae backup Solomon Alfapada led to Werner's 13-yard scoring toss to Joshua Bumanglag and the huge 27-point bulge.

"I expected this game to go to the fourth quarter with both teams grinding," McKinley coach David Tanuvasa said. "We were very fortunate to make those defensive plays, get the turnovers and keep the Waianae offense off their game."

Waianae's Chad Rodrigues rushed for 79 yards against McKinley last night in a 35-0 loss. It will be the first time since 1990 that Waianae or Kahuku won't win at least a share of the OIA title.

The offensive woes continued for the Seariders (6-3) in the second half, as McKinley's Dixon Lauofo and Desoto stepped in front of Alfapada aerials for two more interceptions, while Mareko recovered a Waianae fumble. The Tigers won the game's turnover battle 6-3.

"McKinley played great defensively," Waianae coach Daniel Matsumoto said. "They scored on those turnovers and played a well-balanced game and just beat us." Matsumoto glanced up at the final score on the Jumbotron for emphasis and said, "They're the toughest team we've faced all year. They shut us down."

Werner was his efficient, dependable self for the Tigers, completing 14 of 26 passes for 197 yards and four touchdowns. He shook off two early interceptions, which, fortunately for McKinley, led to two straight Waianae punts.

"I blame myself for those two early mistakes," Werner said. "But I asked the coaches to bear with me. I told them I would settle down and I was able to do it."

Receiver Isaiah Iaea, who caught two of Werner's TD passes, added: "He continues to make the passes we need. He's never got his head down and that's why he succeeds. This team is very good when we band together. That's when we click."

The running of Michael Vasconcellos (67 yards on 16 carries) also helped wear down the Seariders' defense.

Waianae's Chad Rodrigues tried to shake a tackle by McKinley's Tony Mareko last night.

For the first time since Farrington in 1990, neither Kahuku nor Waianae will win at least a share of the OIA championship. The Seariders last won the title in 1997.

"We'll be rooting for McKinley now, so we can see another OIA team win the state championship," said Waianae's Chad Rodrigues, who rushed for 79 yards on 17 carries. "They're tough with big and good athletes. We've got nothing against them."

McKinley is heading to its first state tournament, but other matters are on the Tigers' minds.

The Tigers will play the winner of last night's late game between Kailua and Mililani in next week's semifinals.

"Our one and only goal is to win the OIA championship," Werner said. "It's in our hands, and we'll keep on playing our game. We're not planning on doing anything differently just because we've qualified for the states."

Tanuvasa isn't looking far ahead, either. "Big Kailua is right there. Big blue," he said, pointing to the Surfriders warming up for the late game. "They're the toughest team in the tournament now."

At Aloha Stadium
McKinley (7-3) 0 27 0 8 -- 35
Waianae (6-3) 0 0 0 0 -- 0

McK -- Michael Vasconcellos 17 pass from Abel Werner (John Mai kick)
McK -- Isaiah Iaea 62 pass from Werner (kick failed)
McK -- Daniel Desoto 85 interception return (pass failed)
McK -- Joshua Bumanglag 13 pass from Werner (Bumanglag pass from Werner)
McK -- Iaea 7 pass from Werner (Bumanglag run)

RUSHING -- McKinley: Vasconcellos 16-67, Werner 5-31, Iama Lauvao 1-4, Iaea 1-(-12), Bumanglag 1-(-2). Waianae: Joe Lave 7-12, Chad Rodrigues 17-79, Addison Popa 6-24, Uilau Faliuga 5-24, Jared Laa 1-8.

PASSING -- McKinley: Werner 14-26-2-197. Waianae: Popa 7-13-2-57, Faliuga 0-11-3-0, Kalani Hoopii 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING -- McKinley: Iaea 3-83, Bumanglag 5-47, Lauvao 3-21, Vasconcellos 1-17, Anapuni Coleman 2-29. Waianae: Lave 1-12, Nathaniel Russell 1-6, Rodrigues 2-35, Roman I 3-4.

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