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Waianae goes to the ground to take down Campbell

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Waianae had trouble holding on to the ball in the first half of Friday’s game against Campbell.

After the break, the Seariders maintained control of the ball, then took command of the contest in a 28-14 OIA Red West win over the 10th-ranked Sabers.

The Seariders offense turned the ball over four times in the first half, with one leading directly to a Campbell touchdown. Trailing 14-7 at halftime, Waianae rode a punishing ground game to score 21 unanswered points and evened its record at 2-2 in the division and 3-3 overall.

“Pretty much that was the bottom line. We just needed to take care of the ball and we were lucky to be down just by seven,” Waianae head coach Danny Matsumoto said. “We felt we could move the ball, so we just needed to hang on to the ball.”

Waianae’s running back tandem of Jeremy Willes and Alakai Kealoha combined to rush for 258 yards and accounted for all of the Seariders’ scoring.

Willes ran for 140 yards on 31 carries — 23 of those attempts coming in the second half — and scored three touchdowns. Kealoha finished with 118 yards on 19 carries and caught a game-tying touchdown pass in the third quarter.

“We’ve been practicing basically what we did tonight,” said Willes, who was quick to credit the Seariders offensive line for opening the way for the backs.

Although the game was played on Campbell’s field, Waianae was the designated home team and wore its dark jerseys for the first time this season.

Waianae ran 37 plays in the second half, and kept the ball on the ground on 35 of those. Quarterback Kekoa Kaluhiokalani’s first throw of the third quarter was a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kealoha that tied the game at 14.

Kaluhiokalani spent most of the half deftly operating a triple-option attack and Willes then capped a 13-play drive with a 6-yard TD to give the Seariders the lead with 9:07 left in the game.

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