Whether by air, by land, or with the leg, Waipahu's Austen Benito simply could not be stopped.
The Marauder quarterback ran for three touchdowns, passed for another, and kicked every extra point as Waipahu (3-1 Oahu Interscholastic Association White, 3-2 overall) used a smooth triple-option attack to defeat the Cougars (1-3, 1-4) 42-26 last night at Kaiser stadium.
Krypton Taito added 115 rushing yards and a touchdown as the Cougars had no answer for the triple option.
"That's the beauty of it," Waipahu head coach Sean Saturnio said. "You don't know who's going to end up with the ball."
It was evident the Cougars had no clue who was going to get the ball as 4 minutes into the game, Benito put Waipahu on the board first with a 3-yard touchdown run after the Cougars fumbled on their first offensive play of the game.
Waipahu then stretched the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter as Benito scrambled to his right and found Stan Abasial streaking down the middle for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Ryan Winfree had a 90-yard punt return touchdown called back after a holding call, but Benito capped a 10-play, 77-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to put the Marauders up three touchdowns and looking to run away with the victory.
But Cougars quarterback Shannon Wise ignited a Cougar charge as he took a draw and zig-zagged down the field for an 82-yard touchdown run to put the Cougars on the board.
"Even when we got up big, with how explosive their offense is, we couldn't let down," Saturnio said.
After another Benito touchdown run, the Cougars engineered a 72-yard drive in the last three minutes of the first half with Isaac Saffrey barreling into the end zone from 1 yard out to cut the Waipahu lead to 28-14 heading into halftime.
After forcing the Cougars to punt on their opening possession of the third quarter, the Marauders once again used a healthy diet of the triple option to march down the field as Stan Abasial capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to push the Waipahu lead back up to 21.
The Cougars would quickly strike back as Wise scrambled into the open field and hurdled a defender en route to a 33-yard touchdown run, his second of the night. After a Marauders punt, the Cougars struck again as Wise found Matt Ching for a 33-yard touchdown, but a second missed extra point kept the Marauders up nine.
Taito added a 15-yard touchdown run with 4 minutes left to seal the Marauder victory.