Posted: October 6, 2012 - 11:15pm
No. 6 Leilehua escapes with 36-34 win over No. 8 Waianae
WAHIAWA - Justin Jenks may be listed at just 5-foot, 6 inches, but he stood tall Saturday night.
In the face of an unrelenting Waianae pass rush - led by standout defensive lineman Kennedy Tulimasealii - the junior quarterback passed for 164 yards on 23-of-37 passing with three touchdowns to lead Leilehua to a 36-34 win over the Seariders in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West Conference regular-season finale for both teams.
A crowd of about 2,000 at Hugh Yoshida Stadium saw the Mules, ranked sixth in this week's ScoringLive/OC16 Power Rankings, improve to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the Red West. With the win, Leilehua claimed the Red West's no. 2 seed in the upcoming 12-team OIA Red Tournament. Eighth-ranked Waianae, which fell to 4-4 and 3-3, will be the fourth seed out of the Red West and will play Red East no. 5 seed Kailua in a first-round game.
Leilehua, along with Red West champion Mililani, earned first-round byes.
"It's really helpful for us because we get that bye," Jenks said. "A lot of work has been put into our team this year and it's a real blessing for us (to be one of those two teams)."
Jenks was under duress all night while trying to elude the powerful Tulimasealii, who finished with four sacks, one forced fumble and at least three batted passes.
"Our offensive line did a really great job out there - they definitely had their hands full with him," Jenks said of Tulimasealii. "He's a really great player and he's going to be a really great player in college."
Waianae, which rushed for 152 yards and passed for another 147, struggled to overcome 14 penalties for 156 yards, including at least five personal foul flags. Leilehua was penalized 16 times for 129 yards.
"We need to keep our emotions in check and play within ourselves," Seariders coach Dan Matsumoto said. "We just committed too many penalties on our side."
The game started off on a bad note for the Seariders, who fumbled the opening kickoff. Roger Taman recovered for the Mules, who needed 10 plays to cap their scoring drive with a 1-yard Ikaika Piceno touchdown run.
Jemery Willes scored on 1- and 2-yard touchdown runs on both of Waianae's first two offensive possessions to give his team its first lead midway through the second quarter. However, Leilehua tied it at 14 on its ensuing drive with a 13-yard Jenks' touchdown pass to Shai Pulawa.
"I just ran a seam route and I was open in the back of the end zone," said Pulawa, who helped to fill the void left by the absence of receiver Josh Jenks. Josh Jenks did not play due to an injury from last week's win over Waipahu.
"They needed me, so they put me in and I'm glad to help," said Pulawa, who finished with five catches for 37 yards.
Alakai Kealoha put the Seariders back on top with his 50-yard touchdown run with five minutes and one second left in the first half, but the Mules got two quick scores before the intermission to seize the lead for good.
Jenks hit Tristin Kamaka for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 2:41 left on the clock and after Sione Haunga fell on the ensuing onside kickoff to give the Leilehua offense the ball back at the Waianae 32-yard line, Jenks found Conrad Supnet for a 16-yard scoring strike five plays later. Beti Alex's two-point conversion pass was good to Keannu Kamakaiwi to give the Mules a 29-20 lead at halftime.
Willes scored his third rushing touchdown of the game on a 1-yard plunge early in the third quarter, but Robert McCarthy's 5-yard fumble return for a touchdown three plays into the fourth quarter extended Leilehua's lead to 36-27.
Waianae pulled to within 36-34 with 4:04 to play following an 80-yard touchdown pass from Kekoa Kaluhiokalani to Pookela Nakamoto and the ensuing PAT by Jacoby Cid.
Leilehua was forced to punt away on its next drive and Waianae drove to the Mules' 23-yard line before attempting a potential game-winning field goal. However, the 40-yard attempt by Jacoby Cid fell short and Leilehua ran out the clock.
Kaluhiokalani finished 8-of-13 passing for 147 yards with one interception and Cid made four of five PAT attempts for Waianae.
Ikaika Piceno ran for a team-high 69 yards on 11 attempts and Alex made all four of his extra-point kicks for Leilehua.
October 6, 2012
Shai Pulawa, 13 yard touchdown pass from Justin Jenks.
Pookela Nakamoto, 80 yard touchdown pass from Kekoa Kaluhiokalani.
> more video highlights
Waianae RB Jemery Willes gets airborne near the goal line against Leilehua. Brien Ing | SL
Leilehua WR Conrad Supnet attempts to make a mid-air grab of a pass against Waianae. Sylvia Lee | Special to SL
Leilehua DL Robert McCarthy scooped up a Waianae fumble and ran it back 5 yards for the go-ahead score. Sylvia Lee | Special to SL
Leilehua WR Keoni Piceno looks for room after the catch as Waianae's Jordan Hussey defends. Sean Nakamura | SL
Waianae DL Kennedy Tuilseamalii was a force on defense, registering 4 sacks and a forced fumble against Leilehua. Sylvia Lee | Special to SL