Kahuku captures OIA crown
By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin Kahuku's Andreas Manumaleuna heads to the end zone while being chased by Waianae's Arona Malu, left, and Brian DeMello.
Manumaleuna stars in the Red Raiders' 20-0 victory over the Waianae Seariders
It was a night for ducks, or running backs with that kind of balance on slippery surfaces.
So, it as a night for Andreas "Dre" Manumaleuna.
The 5-foot-7, 228-pound senior, who admits he was once so overweight he couldn't play Pop Warner, rumbled for 125 yards and the only touchdown Kahuku needed last night as the nationally ranked Red Raiders dethroned two-time defending champion Waianae, 20-0, for the Oahu Interscholastic Association championship.
It was the fifth league title for the Red Raiders since 1989.
Kahuku will meet either 12-time defending champion St. Louis or Kamehameha in the Prep Bowl on Nov. 27 at Aloha Stadium. Those teams finish the Interscholastic League of Honolulu regular season tonight.
A crowd of 24,971 saw the OIA title game and a pregame concert by 'N Sync.
On a night when other players were feeling their feet go out from under them on the second step, Manumaleuna was like a four-wheel vehicle taking a mountain trail by storm.
"I'm not proud of being 5-7 -- I wish I was 6 feet," said Manumaleuna.
But it was the stocky senior's low center of gravity that allowed him to maneuver and bust tackles in a driving rain which persisted throughout the evening.
"He's built low to the ground and that's the kind of runner you need for this kind of weather," said Waianae head coach Leo Taaca. "He had good stable footing so he could run the trap real well."
Manumaleuna's contribution was all the more important because Talamoni Talamoni, Kahuku's premier rusher, went down early. He suffered a twisted right knee on the second play of Kahuku's first drive of the game and was helped off the field. He never played another down.
"Without Talamoni, Dre was the workhorse for us." said Livai.
Manumaleuna carried the ball three times for 33 yards on the opening 75-yard Red Raiders drive that culminated in his 5-yard scoring run 412 minutes into the game.
Kahuku head coach Siuaki Livai remembers how differently he felt about Manumaleuna when he showed up for junior varsity football looking like a bowling ball.
"I looked at him and I thought he was in the wrong place," he said.
"First they tried me the O line, then they put me the D line," said Manumaleuna. "If the two fullbacks, first and second string, didn't get hurt, I wouldn't be out here today."
He got to carry the ball but his weight went from 211 pounds then to 244 yards last year.
Nonetheless, Livai said Manumaleuna won his confidence with his determined style of running.
"It was the yards after first contact," said Livai. "Anybody can run in the open field, but the difference is how much he gets after the first tackler. Dre can go through so many."
After the Manumaleuna touchdown, Waianae was twice frustrated in the first half.
The Seariders had a touchdown by Peter Sarono called back on one drive, and a drive to the Kahuku 15 was stalled when linebacker Loa Marasco hit Seariders quarterback Sam Keaulii twice in a row for losses totalling 15 yards.
Kahuku got some insurance with 50 seconds left in the half as Wayne Fonoimoana threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to 6-3, 231-pound tight end William Sao.
Orlando Wong scored the Red Raiders' final touchdown when he recovered a fumble by Fonoimoana in the end zone.
The Red Raiders amassed 314 yards of total offense -- 272 of that on the ground.
They rang up 18 first downs to only eight for Waianae.
"They're one of the better teams to ever come out of the islands," said Taaca. "They're a good football team in all phases of their game."
Playoff necessary: Contrary to an earlier report, first-round champion Kamehameha will not automatically win the league title, even if it beats St. Louis tonight.
Kamehameha and St. Louis had identical 4-1 records in the first round but the Warriors took the round based on a head-to-head forfeit by St. Louis.
If the teams wind up with identical records again by virtue of a Kamehameha win in head-to-head competition, there must be a playoff, which will be Friday night at Aloha Stadium.
Waianae 0 0 0 0-- 0
Kahuku 7 7 0 6--20
Kah: Andreas Manumaleuna 5 run (Joseph Ashmore kick) Kah: William Sao 11 pass from Wayne Fonoimoana (Ashmore kick) Kah: Orlando Wong recovered fumble in the end zone (kick failed)
Rushing--Waianae: Duane Miller 14-90, Peter Sarono 1-(-2), Junior Tiolu 2-21, Eric Fonoti 1-(-8), Lambert Keaweehu 10-17. Kahuku: Talamoni Talamoni 1-15, Kala Latuselu 18-67, Douglas Nawahine 7-46, Fonoimoana 7-13, Wong 4-18, Manumaleuna 17-125, Kaipo Fiatoa 2-9, Vai Funaki 1-(-1).
Passing--Waianae: Sam Keaulii 3-11-1 for -10 yards, Winston Keliikipi 1-1-0 for 26 yards. Kahuku: Fonoimoana 2-6-1 for 42 yards.
Receiving--Waianae: Peter Sarono 1-26, Miller 2-(-12), Chad Blue 1-2. Kahuku: Sao 2-42.