Waipahu defended its home field on homecoming while spoiling the return of a former Marauder.
Marauders running back Victor Moananu rushed for 177 yards on 31 hard-driving carries and the Waipahu defense provided the sealing score in a 26-12 OIA White victory over previously undefeated Pearl City last night.
The Waipahu coaches prepared for the showdown by playing down the hype entering what promised to be an emotional contest on both sides.
"We approached it a little bit differently in the sense that we wanted to make it not bigger than it was," Waipahu coach Sean Saturnio said. "Over the years in our experience when you get kids too wound up, they don’t perform as well. We just said this game is no different than any game we’ve played all year."
As they have for much of the season, the Marauders rode Moananu for much of their offense, but also got contributions throughout the roster to improve to 5-1 in conference and set up a pivotal meeting with first place Kaimuki (6-0) next week.
"Our offensive line played well, and props to our defense because that was a very high-octane offense," Saturnio said.
Waipahu quarterback Mark Bumanglag passed for a touchdown and ran for another, and Christian Gonzaga gave the Marauders some breathing room with a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"I have to give it to my team for giving me blocks on that touchdown," said Gonzaga, one of the Waipahu seniors honored after their final homecoming game.
The outcome left the Chargers (6-1, 5-1 OIA White) and coach Kai Kamaka, a Waipahu graduate, looking to regroup heading into next week’s matchup with Kalaheo.
"I told the kids when the clock strikes zero, it’s done," Kamaka said. "Now we have to go back and get ready for Kalaheo.
"I had some jitters and goosebumps coming back. I definitely would like to have gotten a win, but we just have to go back and see what we did wrong."
Waipahu’s special teams produced the game’s first big play when Tafatolu Naea blocked a punt to set up the Marauder offense at the Pearl City 30. Two plays later, Waipahu receiver Brysen Kaseli chased down a throw from Bumanglag down the left side for a 28-yard touchdown.
The Marauders extended the lead with a 13-play, 80-yard drive, converting on fourth down twice along the way. Moananu rumbled 38 yards to give Waipahu a first down at the Pearl City 12, and Bumanglag scored on a 3-yard keeper on fourth down.
Pearl City responded immediately when sophomore quarterback Brock Texiera connected with Diacorri Briscoe for a 73-yard touchdown pass to cut the Waipahu lead to 12-6 going into halftime.
The Marauders opened the second half with an interception by Aaron Cox, and the offense converted the turnover into a 12-play drive capped by a 5-yard run by Devin Kaneshiro, who stepped in when Moananu was sidelined by a bruised thigh.
"Our defense stepped up," Moananu said. We were telling the D we need a big play, and they came through."
|Pearl City (6-1, 5-1)||0||6||6||0||—||12|
|Waipahu (5-1, 5-1)||6||6||6||8||—||26|
Waip–Brysen Kaseli 28 pass from Mark Bumanglag (kick failed)
Waip–Bumanglag 3 run (run failed)
PC–Diacorri Briscoe 73 pass from Brock Texiera (kick failed)
Waip–Devin Kaneshiro 5 run (kick failed)
PC–Ronson Barret 41 interception return (pass failed)
Waip–Christian Gonzaga 24 interception return (Victor Moananu run)
RUSHING–PC: Dustin Bayata 8-30, Cyrus Coen 7-26, Ray Cooper 4-6, Shawnson Batungbacal 1-2. Waip: Moananu 31-177, Bumanglag 10-47, Tydro Ate-Taito 4-10, Kaneshiro 4-14, Drake Yoshioka 1-0.
PASSING–PC: Texiera 6-16-3-148, Bayata 1-5-0-26. Waip: Bumanglag 2-7-0-41, Yoshioka 2-5-1-41.
RECEIVING–PC: Briscoe 3-131, Tanner Tokunaga 2-14, Dustin Bayata 1-23, Coen 1-6. Waip: Justice Amadeo 2-42, Kaseli 1-28, Sailele Tulafale 1-12.
Junior varsity–Pearl City 22, Waipahu 14