Posted: September 28, 2012 - 10:13am
Leilehua nudges past Waipahu, 27-26, in overtime
Leilehua wide receiver Keoni Piceno tries to elude Waipahu's Ezekiel Taylor. Sylvia Lee | Special to SL
WAHIAWA - There's no shortage in drama when it comes to football in the O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red West.
Leilehua rallied from a 14-10 halftime deficit then stopped Waipahu's potential game-winning 2-point conversion run in overtime in a 27-26 win Friday night at Hugh Yoshida Stadium in yet another made-for-prime-time finish for OC 16.
Sophomore running back Ikaika Piceno scored the go-ahead touchdown on a six-yard run and Beti Alex booted the PAT to give Leilehua 27-20 lead.
"We worked really hard at practice," Piceno said. "We just put it in and gave it our all."
On Waipahu's half of OT, QB Kaimi Paredes scored on a sneak from one yard on the seven-play series. With no hesitation, the Marauders decided it was going for the win. Leilehua called timeout to regroup and stopped 5-foot-9, 240-pound Terrance Lauti, a defensive lineman lining up as a fullback, well shy of the end zone to end the game.
Beti Alex's 20-yard field goal with two minutes, 20 seconds in regulation tie the game at 20. The score came after Malik Morton forced Paredes to fumble near midfield and the ball was returned to the Waipahu 46. where the Mules set up their scoring drive.
"Our defense, all year long, they help put us in a position to win the game," Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said. "Falling behind early, they had to hold it down for us. We're down 20 to 10 with 11 minutes left on the clock. We tell our kids, 'Don't worry about the scoreboard.' Let's talk about finish because last week we had one of these and this time, let's finish strong and we did it."
The Mules (5-2 overall, 3-2 Red West), seventh in the ScoringLive/OC 16 Power Rankings, who saw their hopes of a division crown fade a week ago after a heart-breaking 35-34 OT loss to Campbell on OC 16, are back in the hunt again after the Sabers were upset by Kapolei, 35-34. If Waipahu (2-5, 2-3) beats Mililani (6-1, 4-1) next week and the Mules beat Waianae (4-3, 3-2), Leilehua would be tie for the division lead with the Trojans at 4-2, but would gain the top seed because of its win against Mililani.
"It's huge," Tokuda said of rebounding from Campbell game. "You're looking at the confidence factor. You're looking at just the morale going into the playoffs. We wanted to make sure we took care of this game and the next."
If Mililani beats Waipahu, the winner of Waianae-Leilehua will be the division's second seed for the 12-team OIA tournament. The top two seeds from each division draw first-round byes.
Justin Jenks was 26 of 40 for 182 yards with two TDs and Keoni Piceno had 11 receptions for 104 yards for the Mules.
"He might not be like the other quarterbacks we've had," Tokuda said of Jenks. "He manages the game well. He knows what is expected and he's an even keel guy. He doesn't get too excited, he doesn't get worried. He just goes out there, executes and puts us in a position to win."
Running back Isaiah Alama had 81 yards on eight carries, the bulk on a 62-yard TD run, while Dylan Pakau had six catches for 91 yards and a TD for the Marauders.
Following Alex's game-tying field goal, each team had a series to break the deadlock before regulation time was over.
In OT, the teams go through a coin toss again. Waipahu won the toss and elected to play defense first. Each team has a a series starting from the defense's 20.
The Mules needed just three plays to break the tie. After a 12-yard pass from Justin Jenks to Shai Pulawa, Ikaika Piceno rushed for two yards to the six before scoring on another run from the 6.
The Marauders were more meticulous, using seven running plays, converting on third and fourth downs, before Paredes sneaked in from the 1 to pull his team to within one. But the Mules' defense stuffed Lauti for no gain to end the game.
Waipahu coach Eric Keola said the power dive was effective against Leilehua earlier. But on the conversion, they had to do it without Wesley Nagaseu, who was nursing a hamstring issue.
"It was working when we had Wes Nagaseu in there," Keola said. "But we didn't get enough push on the line."
Tristan Kamaka returned the opening kickoff 20 yards to the Mules 47. Leilehua used a gadget when receiver Kristian Wong-Ventura took a backward pass from the QB and fired to Keoni Piceno to the Marauders' 13 for a 40-yard gain. The Mules, though, settled for a 23-yard field goal from Alex to take a 3-0 lead with 9:53 in the first quarter. It was Leilehua's only lead during regulation.
The Mules threatened to score when they reached the Marauders' 14. But the Mules lost the ball when Josh Jenks fumbled after a four-yard catch from brother Justin. The Marauders took over from their 11 and used a 16-play drive that consumed 6:17 off the clock before Pakau caught a seven-yard TD pass from Kai Mercardo-Aiona. Jayson Gonzalves' PAT gave Waipahu a 7-3 lead at 10:25 in the second quarter. The drive included two of Waipahu's seven false start penalties in the game.
Waipahu increased its lead later in the quarter on a 62-yard TD run by Isaiah Alama with 5:26 left in the half to make it 14-3.
Leilehua pulled to 14-10 on a 12-yard TD pass from Justin Jenks to Kamaka with 32 seconds left in the half.
The Marauders had another time-consuming drive in the second half to double their lead to 20-10 when Paredes scored on a 10-yard run with 11:47 left in the game. The 13-play, 81-yard drive took 4:51 off the clock and was prolonged by a roughing the kicker penalty when Waipahu tried a 37-yard field goal attempt.
But the Mule scored on their ensuing series on a three-yard TD pass from Justin Jenks to Pulawa with 6:46 left.
On Waipahu's ensuing series, it lost the ball caused by Morton's hit on Paredes. That eventually led to Alex's game-tying field goal.
"That fumble really hurt us," Keola said. "We could've run out the clock there. We had three, four minutes (left) on the clock."
September 28, 2012
Leilehua makes a stop at the goal line on Waipahu's two-point attempt for the win in the overtime period. Sylvia Lee | Special to SL
Waipahu's Ikaika Alama scored on a 62-yard run against Leilehua. Sylvia Lee | Special to SL