Waianae’s defense makes life tough for No. 2 Kahuku
Kahuku's Nalu Emerson tried to stiff arm Waianae linebacker Angus Ramaila, who still managed to make the tackle in Friday's game. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Guess who the leading rusher was in Kahuku’s 49-13 football victory over Waianae on Friday night?
Some shifty or bull-like running back from Kahuku?
It was Waianae’s Kaai Tambaoan-Kaeo, who carried the ball 15 times for 86 yards.
As a matter of fact, the two offenses were relatively equal. The Red Raiders (3-0, 1-0 OIA Open) outgained the Seariders (0-3, 0-1 Open) 173 to 133 in total yards from scrimmage.
The problem for Waianae’s offense, as it often is, was the rabid Kahuku defense. The Red Raiders may have yielded those 133 yards, but that already includes minus-115 yards due to six sacks and four other tackles for loss and two Seariders’ punt snaps that went awry.
But you can turn the table around and notice that the Waianae defense caused a ton of problems for the Kahuku offense, too. The score was just 2-0 after one quarter and 16-0 at the half.
And here is an eye-opener: Kahuku had just 13 yards rushing. Let that one sink in for a while. This is a team that is used to pounding through people.
Four straight times, Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho said the word about Waianae afterward … “Tough. Tough, tough, tough. They are basically cut from the same rock we are.”
He wasn’t just saying it to be nice. He meant it and he knows it.
Fortunately for the Red Raiders, their defense scored five times to take any wind Waianae may have had out of its sails. Linebacker Aaron Fonoimoana-Vaomu scored two TDs, once by picking up KJ Macatiag‘s blocked punt in the end zone and another by recovering a bad punt snap in the end zone.
The Red Raiders also had a safety, when Tuia Tupuola sacked Seariders punter Zefften Thompson-Avilla in the end zone. And Kaonohi Kaniho and Ace Kaufusi returned interceptions for TDs.
After the game, there was not one downcast face during Waianae’s team meeting on the field. It was all upbeat.
“These kids played their heart out,” Seariders coach Walter Young said. “I’ll take the blame and we’ll get better. Win or lose, I’m always proud of them.”
Shaydon Lopes came off the bench when Justin Tacgere hurt his shoulder and threw two TD passes to get Waianae on the board.
Lopes suffered an injury late in the game. Just as he let go his 40-yard TD pass to Daniel Wetter, he was flattened by the Red Raiders’ Tyson Pualoa.
Tausili Fiatoa was a menace for the Kahuku defense, with two sacks and two tackles for loss. Fonoimoana-Vaomu and his brother, Alex Fonoimoana-Vaumu, and Zion Ah You also had sacks for the Red Raiders.
The Red Raiders host Kapolei on Friday. Waianae is at home against Campbell next Saturday.