Opportunity keeps knocking at Waianae’s door.
The Seariders keep answering.
Waianae, given a gift of state-tournament life thanks to Kahuku’s disqualification last week, rolled to a commanding halftime lead and trounced visiting Kealakehe 34-16 last night.
Waianae (5-7) will meet rival Mililani at 4 p.m. Friday at Aloha Stadium in the semifinal round of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I State Football Championships.
A crowd of about 1,000, including a few hundred Waveriders faithful, saw Waianae take command from the start, thanks to a bulldozing wing-T offense and the deft mastery of quarterback Puletua Wilson.
The senior passed for 214 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He finished with 246 yards on 9-for-12 passing without a pick, while Waianae’s defense stymied Kealakehe’s normally prolific offense.
"If we come out playing the way we can play, it should be like this every week," said Wilson, who praised his offensive line. "We never stop communicating out there. We work with what they give us."
Tyler Yates was 22-for-41 and finished with 212 yards for Kealakehe (10-2), but Waianae was especially effective on third and fourth downs against the shifty southpaw. The loss kept the Big Island Interscholastic Federation winless in D-I state-tourney competition.
"We played the hype. We just played Waverider football. I trust my ‘D.’ There’s just times we kind of fell apart," said safety Peni Vea, whose defensive play and kick returns provided some highlights for the Waveriders.
Kealakehe saw a version of the wing-T used by Honokaa.
"They’re more physical here," said Vea, a senior who has a scholarship offer from Idaho.
Waianae coach Danny Matsumoto was annoyed by a sloppy second half, when reserves took the field, but saw some gems before intermission.
"We had ball control and we got two fumble recoveries. Our offense did a great job," said Matsumoto, who praised offensive coordinator Anthony Sandobal. "He called a great game. Credit the offensive line. Pule’s a great leader with them. He’s the one that makes our offense work. He had some pretty good check-offs."
Waianae rushed for 150 yards on 30 carries, including a game-high 67 yards by Jaylen Mitchell.
Kealakehe’s Psalm Wooching, who had 122 rushing yards in last week’s win over Keaau, managed just 21 yards on 12 carries.
Every break went Waianae’s way in the first half.
Wilson was deadly accurate, completing eight of his nine attempts. His first big pass play, a 47-yarder to Hookena Kamana, opened up the middle and allowed Bronson Panui to score on an 18-yard blast up the middle.
Waianae led 6-0 with 1:22 left in the opening quarter.
Kealakehe, operating mostly out of a shotgun set, went to an I formation to drive to the Waianae 13-yard line. However, linebacker Chavez Kauwalu stripped the ball from running back John Kamoku and recovered to end the visitors’ threat.
That sparked a six-play, 85-yard march. Wilson connected with Mitchell on 41- and 31-yard pass plays before he found tight end Malei Suiaunoa on a 6-yard play-action touchdown pass, making it 12-0 with 6:46 remaining in the second quarter.
Another Kealakehe miscue proved untimely again. A bad shotgun snap to Yates was recovered by Waianae defensive back Alan Ibanes at the Kealakehe 31-yard line. Wilson immediately fired a bomb to Keola Bradley for another Waianae touchdown. Wilson’s run on the PAT made it 20-0 with 5:57 to go in the half.
Wai–Bronson Panui 18 run (kick failed)
Wai–Malei Suiaunoa 6 pass from Puletua Wilson (pass failed)
Wai–Keola Bradley 31 pass from Wilson (Wilson run)
Wai–Hookena Kamana 43 pass from Wilson (Panui pass from Wilson)
Kea–Tyler Yates FG 41
Kea–Jacob Ontiveros 35 pass from Yates (Yates kick)
Wai–Wilson 1 run (kick failed)
Kea–Psalm Wooching 1 run (run failed)
RUSHING–Kealakehe: Wooching 12-21, John Kamoku 7-19, Jacob Ontiveros 2-13, Manase Hungalu 1-0, Yates 9-(minus-1), team 1-(minus-5). Waianae: Mitchell 7-67, Wilson 8-47, B. Panui 6-39, Jason Towne 1-3, Kanekapila Hussey 2-2, Bradley 4-(minus-1), Leighton Panui 1-(minus-1), Devon Seabrooks 1-(minus-6).
PASSING–Kealakehe: Yates 22-41-0-212, Ontiveros 1-1-0-9. Waianae: Wilson 9-12-0-246.
RECEIVING–Kealakehe: Ontiveros 7-82, Jordan Debus 6-41, Wooching 3-37, Dylan Navarro 2-27, Hudson Sauer 2-16, Kamoku 2-9, Hungalu 1-9. Waianae: Kamana 3-99, Saiaunoa 2-38, Brian Paul Manuel 2-37, Mitchell 1-41, Bradley 1-31.
Leilehua 35, Baldwin 26
At War Memorial Stadium
Lei–Jeremiah Andrade 29 pass from Kenan Sadanaga (Timothy Momiyama kick)
Lei–Fred Padrones 10 pass from Sadanaga (Momiyama kick)
Bald–Ro Wilson 26 pass from Keelan Ewaliko (CeeJay Santos kick)
Lei–Padrones 29 pass from Sadanaga (Momiyama kick)
Bald–Wilson 59 punt return (Santos kick)
Lei–Andrade 20 pass from Sadanaga (Momiyama kick)
Bald–Ramsey Pacubas 1 run (kick failed)
Lei–Allen Racette 33 pass from Sadanaga (Momiyama kick)
Bald–Ewaliko 6 run (kick failed)
RUSHING–Leilehua: Austin Schmidt 11-30, Andrade 1-6, Matai Tuaato 2-0, Andrade 1-0, Sadanaga 2-(minus 1), Stan Mersburgh 1-(minus 1), team 2-(minus 8). Baldwin: Ewaliko 21-32, Brad Naeole 7-14, Vetekina Malafu 2-5, Pacubas 3-3.
PASSING–Leilehua: Sadanaga 32-51-2-474, Andrade 1-1-0-7. Baldwin: Ewaliko 11-22-3-143, Sheldon Leong 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING–Leilehua: Andrade 10-198, Padrones 9-130, Darrien Shealy 5-56, Racette 4-67, Elijah Barro 2-27, Schmidt 2-5, Mersburgh 1-(minus 2). Baldwin: Leong 4-21, Wilson 4-80, Santos 2-23, Kaiana Camvel 1-19.