Red Raiders roll through Waianae
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
Kahuku quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava (6) scrambles around Waianae defensive lineman Selu Cook (54).
Enoch Nawahine rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half, as No. 2 Kahuku overpowered No. 8 Waianae 37-0 on Friday night at Raymond Torii Field.
It was the first matchup between the two storied programs at Waianae’s home field since 1975. The visiting Red Raiders left quite an impression in all three phases. Kahuku’s defense limited Waianae to minus-5 rushing yards and 15 yards in total offense to record its second win in OIA Division I play without a loss.
Highly recruited defensive end Samson Reed had one of his team’s four sacks.
“We’re really coming together. We still have to fix mistakes and penalties,” said Reed, referring to his team’s 19 yellow flags for 160 penalty yards. “It’s about being disciplined.”
Waianae dropped to 0-2 in league play (0-3 overall), with all losses coming against Top 10 teams. With starting quarterback Justin Tacgere unable to play due to an ankle injury, All-State running back Rico Rosario took every snap. Rosario’s natural talent showed early, as he kept the Seariders’ initial drive alive with three first downs — two on the ground and one with a 15-yard strike — giving fans a new look at their 5-foot-9, 200-pound senior.
“He’s a great runner. We knew he was going to run, so we played the run,” Reed said.
Eventually, the Red Raiders defense locked in on Rosario, who has a strong arm, but was just off the mark on several deep throws to receivers. Rosario had spies on him all night, including hard-hitting Miki Ah You, who also ran a punt back for a touchdown. Rosario finished with minus-9 yards on the ground on 15 carries. He was 2-for-14 for 20 yards with a pick and was sacked four times by a relentless front seven.
“I thought it was a good idea at first. I kind of wish I was running the ball (as a running back),” said Rosario, who may get more snaps next week if Tacgere isn’t ready. “We’ll get back to work on Monday.”
An interception by Tausili Fiatoa in the middle of a scrum at the line of scrimmage gave Kahuku its first big opportunity late in the first quarter. The visitors drove 35 yards in seven plays, punching the ball into the end zone on Nawahine’s 1-yard burst with 11:56 to go in the second quarter.
The pressure on Waianae’s offense was immense. After Samson Kapule-Si’ilata sacked Rosario on the next series, Kahuku needed just four plays to reach paydirt again. The Red Raiders ran away from Waianae’s star linebacker/defensive end Kana‘i Mauga every time, and Nawahine tore off runs of 14, 11 and then 34 yards for a touchdown to give his team a 14-0 lead with 9:05 remaining in the first half.
“We had some alignment issues, some flow issues. Once we took care of that, we did a better job,” Waianae defensive coordinator Ryan Lancaster said. “If everyone can do their job, I think we’ll be fine.”
Duke Heffernan’s 28-yard field goal with two seconds to go lifted Kahuku to a 17-point lead at intermission.
Kahuku opened the second half with a deliberate 15-play, 85-yard march to the end zone. Sol-Jay Maiava overcame a sack to find Peter John Mataira streaking down the hashmark for a 28-yard scoring play. Kahuku led 23-0 with 6:11 to go in the third.
Ah You then sprinted to the sideline on a punt return to corral the bouncing ball and zoom 53 yards to the goal line. Waianae coaches were livid that no roughing penalty was assessed when Tate Ebel was hit after the punt, but the snap already had hit the ground, which removed the protection Ebel received as a punter. Kahuku led 30-0 with 1:40 left in the third.
The final TD came with 6:46 remaining. Maiava found Joseph Purcell near the sideline for an 8-yard TD strike.