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Waianae Meets St. Louis on November 26

Waianae In HHSAA Division I Championship Game

(Tue) November 23, 2010

Edward Jackson (OIA Contributing Writer)

Waianae has risen. Early in the football season the Seariders were in last place in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West Division standings, having lost its opening league game in addition to two non-league losses. Then the team came alive in a road game against Mililani on September 4th.

“We got off to a slow start, but this is a long season. Hopefully we can stay injury-free and keep our players focused on performing at their best both on the field and in the classroom,” Waianae coach Dan Matsumoto said.

“The football competition in Hawaii is tough. But Waianae is known as a team that will be there at the end of the season,” Matsumoto added.

The 42-28 victory over Mililani gave Waianae the confidence that they truly could compete against the better football teams in Hawaii. At the time Mililani was undefeated with victories over OIA White Division champion Kaimuki and defending Division II state champion Iolani.

The Seariders proceeded to win three of its next five regular season league games to barely make it into the OIA playoffs. In this tourney Waianae suffered two losses.

Next, fate then played a role in Waianae journey into the HHSAA state championships.

With the opportunity to play for the state title, Waianae took full advantage. The team secured a 34-16 win over Kealakehe of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation in the first round game of the state tourney over to advance into the semifinals

Next up for Waianae in the state tourney was Mililani, the team which the Seariders beat to lock up its first victory of the season.

Mililani, the OIA Red Division champion, had won the second matchup against Waianae 38-28 in the semifinals of the OIA playoffs on October 29th and appeared to be peaking behind the passing combination of quarterback Trent McKinney and receiver Hassan Richardson. In that game, McKinney passed to Richardson for 162 yards and four touchdowns.

In the state semifinals game, Waianae wasted little time getting an early lead similar to the two prior games. However, unlike the OIA semifinals game Waianae was able to hold on to that lead the whole game and not allow Mililani to rebound.  Waianae’s offense completely overwhelmed Mililani with a brilliant rushing performance and a defensive stop in the final seconds.  The victory was a great achievement for Waianae proving that no matter how bad a situation may seem it doesn’t mean that you have to give.

Living by the example of determination, Waianae now has the opportunity to win its first state title when they battle Saint Louis of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu for the Division I title.

The offense is led by Puletua Wilson (88 of 156 for 1429 passing yards and 15 TDs) in addition to the the running back duo of Jaylen Mitchell (598 rushing yards) and Bryson Panui (583 rushing yards).

Defensively, Waianae is led by Chavez Kauwalu and Kaeo Alana. Both players say that keeping the opponent out of the end zone is a challenge that the team is striving to achieve.  “Our goal is to keep any team from scoring on us,” Kauwalu said. “That way we will always have a chance to win. Once we get our timing then we will be very competitive.”

Alana added, “No matter what happens in the beginning of the season, we’re still aiming to win. It won’t be easy, but we have the talent to do well.”


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