Posted: October 14, 2011 - 11:56pm
Waianae rolls Kaiser, 35-16, to advance to quarterfinals
WAIANAE - It was about shoring up depth for Waianae.
After starting QB Kekoa Kaluhiokalani gave his team a somewhat commanding 28-3 lead at the half, the Seariders gave backup Koali Opunui took some crucial snaps by playing the entire second half and the Seariders rolled Kaiser, 35-16, in an opening-round game of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red tournament Friday at Raymond Torii Field.
The Seariders (4-5) will play No. 2 Kahuku (7-1) at Carelton E. Weimer Athletic Field Friday in one quarterfinal. It is a rematch of a nonleague of an Aug. 12 nonleague game won by Kahuku, 26-0, at Kahuku. The winners advance to the semifinals, while the losers end their season.
"That's going to be a rough one for us," Waianae coach Dan Matsumoto said. "We took a walloping from them, so we really gotta prepare for them."
The Cougars (2-7), who won their final regular season game against Roosevelt to make the playoffs, end their season. They were plagued by three interceptions and a fumble that Waianae recycled into a TD.
"It comes with first-time ever in the playoffs, nerves," Kaiser coach William Lobendahn said. "It's my fault for not preparing them enough for this challenge."
Waianae got on the board with three first-half rushing TDs. Slot Jason Towne scored on a 45-yard run in tight first quarter. Quarterback Kekoa Kaluhiokalani scored on an 8-yard option keeper and RB Jaylen Mitchell blew through for a 58-yard TD in the second quarter to make it 21-0. Defensive lineman Kennedy Tulimasealii then landed on a loose ball in the end zone after a high snap from punt formation at the Kaiser 20 to make it 28-0.
The Cougars then got a booming 47-yard field goal by Jason Khamvongsa on an untimed down to end the half, pulling the Cougars to 28-3. His original attempt was from 64 (which was short), but several penalties against Waianae and one against Kaiser eventually led to the 47-yard try.
"He averages 60 (yards) at practice," Lobendahn said. "He's a great soccer player. That's his sport."
The Seariders could've had another TD, but RB Leighton Panui's 48-yard TD run was nullified by a penalty, one of 15 against the Seariders totaling 137 yards. There were a number of false starts and several illegal formations (six players on the line).
"Kind of hard to believe those kinds of things would happen at this stage of the season," Matsumoto said.
The Seariders opened the second half with Koali Opunui at quarterback. Nothing was wrong with Kaluhiokalani, who was 1 of 3 for 10 yards and rushed the ball five times for 12 yards.
"We just wanted to give some time to Koa," Matsumoto said. "(Kekoa) was all right."
Waianae scored midway through the third quarter on Mitchell's 15-yard run to make it 35-3.
The Cougars didn't go down without a fight, scoring twice in the fourth quarter.
Facing fourth-and-3 from the Cougars' 45, defensive lineman/punter Lopeti Fonokalafi lined up in punt formation, the line shifted a bit and the punter lined up in shotgun and fired a 55-yard TD pass to Fitou Fishiahi to pull Kaiser to 35-9, as Khamvongsa's PAT was partially blocked.
"Peti is a great athlete and has the strongest arm on the team," Lobendahn said. "We practice that play everyday and it worked for us."
But his value is on the line, where he had one sack.
Later in the game, Leimana Chong-Gum returned a fumble 20 yards for the final score to make it 35-16.
Although his team was eliminated, Lobendahn said playoff experience will be a springboard for next season.
"I just heard through an e-mail through USA Today, we were ranked No. 1 with the hardest schedule in Hawaii with one of the youngest and smallest teams," Lobendahn said. "Knowing that and making it to the playoffs, yes, with one win, it just shows these kids really want it. I just have to do a better job of coaching because these kids fight first quarter to fourth quarter."