A near-perfect game was only fitting for Chester Sua in the midst of Kaimuki’s perfect run.
Sua capped a four-touchdown effort by picking off the final pass of the game, a Hail Mary from Drake Yoshioka, in the end zone, as Kaimuki rallied past Waipahu 27-21 last night in a pivotal showdown at the Marauders’ field.
The interception came moments after Sua scored on an 11-yard run with 41 seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs the lead. Sua rushed for 75 tough yards on 20 carries and helped anchor the secondary.
The win lifted Kaimuki to 6-0 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference (7-1 overall), clinching first place and home-field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
"We’ll be humble and keep on working hard," said Sua, who played safety and running back. "There’s no guarantees. We just gotta work hard."
Waipahu could have wrecked Kaimuki’s plans. A win by the Marauders would have pushed them into first place with a head-to-head edge on Kaimuki. Instead, Waipahu fell to 4-2 in league play (5-2 overall).
Sua, who has given an oral commitment to Washington State, cautioned against getting too excited this early.
"We had to stop the running back," Sua said of Waipahu’s prolific senior Victor Moananu. "They ran hard, but our defense never gave up.
Kaimuki’s crew of ironmen — just 34 players suited up — withstood fatigue and the onslaught of Waipahu’s physical rushing attack. Moananu finished with 157 yards on 28 carries, but the visitors limited him to just 23 yards in his final six carries.
"Our line stuck to it. They really worked hard," Kaimuki coach Clint Onigama said. "Guys were hungry. Guys were ready to play."
Among them was junior quarterback Nahoa Spencer, who replaced starter Dallas Reis at quarterback for Kaimuki in the second half and energized the offense. He rushed for 45 yards on three runs and passed for 113 yards.
"He gave us a big spark," Onigama said.
Sua electrified a crowd of about 1,000 by returning the opening kickoff 86 yards to pay dirt. Kaimuki’s offense sputtered, though, and could muster only a missed 23-yard field-goal try by Keoki Kaiahua the rest of the half.
Waipahu’s flexion sets took aim at the Bulldogs right up the gut. Moananu’s only touchdown, a 4-yard blast, capped a 17-play, 75-yard march and tied the game at 7 with 9:20 remaining in the second quarter.
A fumble recovery by linebacker Kilwafwa Aliksa on a fumble by Sua — his one miscue of the night — gave the Marauders a short field. Showing a wishbone for one snap, they drove 51 yards in eight plays.
A 34-yard bomb from Mark Bumanglag to Brysen Kapeli set up a 2-yard scoring run around right end by Bumanglag. Waipahu led 14-7 with 2:34 to go in the first half.
Kapeli missed on a 39-yard field-goal try before the half, but a Kaimuki roughing-the-kicker call gave him one more shot. With a high snap, he missed on a 28-yarder on the final play of the half.
In the second half, Spencer directed a nine-play, 70-yard drive, hitting all four of his passes along the way. Sua scored from 3 yards out as the Bulldogs tied it at 14-all midway through the third quarter.
Waipahu regained momentum with a 15-play, 85-yard drive, all on the ground. Bumanglag’s 1-yard keeper gave the Marauders a 21-14 lead with 3 seconds left in the third.
Spencer’s nimble footwork in the pocket averted a few sacks in the final quarter. He found Sua for a 30-yard pass play on the sideline as Kaimuki drove for another touchdown. Sua scored on a 1-yard run to tie the game at 21-all with 7:28 remaining.
The Bulldogs got the ball back after a Waipahu punt with help from Cory Martin, whose 25-yard return gave his team the ball at their 40-yard line. Spencer connected with Kevin Tofiga and Mason Kualii-Moe for key gains, scrambled another 15 yards for a first down, and Sua scored on a rugged 11-yard run up the middle to cap the comeback for Kaimuki.
|Kaimuki (7-1, 6-0)||7||0||7||13||—||27|
|Waipahu (5-2, 4-2)||0||14||7||0||—||21|
Kaim–Chester Sua 86 run (Keoki Kaiahua kick)
Waip–Victor Moananu 4 run (Brysen Kapeli kick)
Waip–Mark Bumanglag 2 run (Kapeli kick)
Kaim–Sua 3 run (Kaiahua kick)
Waip–Bumanglag 1 run (Kapeli kick)
Kaim–Sua 1 run (Kaiahua kick)
Kaim–Sua 11 run (kick failed)
RUSHING–Kaim: Sua 20-75, Nainoa Spencer 3-45, Tre Paredes 1-9. Waip: Moananu 28-157, Bumanglag 16-31, Greg Alip 2-38, Drake Yoshioka 2-36, Devin Kaneshiro 5-11, Colin Andres-Paguirigan 1-6, Tydro Ate-Taito 1-6, Mason Corpuz-Slade 1-(miuns 7).
PASSING–Kaim: Dallas Reis 3-9-1-58, Spencer 7-9-0-113. Waip: Bumanglag 3-6-0-52, Yoshioka 2-6-1-29.
RECEIVING–Kai: Wiseman Demei 1-8, Sua 1-30, Kevin Tofiga 4-65, Johnnie Tuitele 2-36, Mason Kualii-Moe 2-32. Waip: Moananu 2-18, Ate-Taito 1-19, Kapeli 1-34, Justice Amadeo 1-10.
Junior Varsity–Waipahu 16, Kaimuki 14