Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
No. 1 Kahuku downs No. 4 Waianae, 28-0


Fri, Aug 26, 2016 @ Kahuku [ 7:30 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
Waianae (9-5-0) 0 0 0 00
Kahuku (11-2-0) 0 7 7 1428

KAHUKU — Make no mistake about it, Kahuku is still the team to beat in the Oahu Interscholastic Association.

The Red Raiders passed their biggest test of the season with flying colors Friday, putting on a dominating performance in a 28-0 win over previously-unbeaten Waianae before an overflow crowd of more than 4,500 fans — split into seas of red and blue — on a picturesque evening at Carlton Weimer Field.

Kahuku, the top-ranked team in the ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Division I Power Rankings, moved into sole possession of first place in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I Blue at 3-0.

It was the 16th consecutive win for the reigning state champions, dating back to the start of last season, and the 16th in a row over the Seariders.

"To God be the glory. Hats off to Waianae, they're a great team," Kahuku coach Vavae Tata said. "The ultimate goal at the end of the week was just to be 1-0 and we accomplished that and we'll look at the tape and get better, hopefully be on the ascent next week."

Kahuku kept the ball on the ground, running the ball 44 times for 242 yards, an average of 5.5 per carry. Only twice did a ball carrier lose yardage on a play from scrimmage.

Harmon Brown had game-highs of 17 carries for 85 yards with a touchdown and fellow senior running back Elvis Vakapuna ran 14 times for 68 yards and two other touchdowns. The Red Raiders rumbled for 19 first downs, 15 of them by rush.

The teams were engaged in a battle of field position for much of the first half.

Kahuku held the ball for nearly eight minutes on a 15-play drive to open the game, which ended with a missed 37-yard field goal attempt.

Waianae turned it over on downs at its own 45 with 5:47 left in the second quarter. The Red Raiders manufactured another long drive — this one spanning five minutes and two seconds and 41 yards on eight plays — culminating in a 10-yard scamper by Vakapuna to the right pylon of the end zone with 40 seconds until the half.

The second half was more of the same smash-mouth football from Big Red.

Vakapuna's 9-yard touchdown run off left tackle capped a 12-play, 66-yard drive that took 8:10 off the clock and made the score 14-0 following Stokes Nihipali-Botelho's extra point. The drive was extended by a 10-yard pass from Sol-Jay Maiava to Vakapuna on third-and-9.

"Once the o-line did their stuff, we found the holes and everything opened up. Our fullbacks did their jobs, too," Vakapuna said. "The blocking schemes really played a big part in this game. We just had to trust the process and things opened up."

The Red Raiders turned their best starting position — the Waianae 42-yard line — into their third score on Brown's 11-yard run to pay dirt with 9:05 left in the game. Brown moved the chains three plays earlier with his 2-yard run on fourth-and-1.

Three plays into Waianae's next drive, Ulu was stripped by a blitzing Kesi Ah-Hoy and linebacker Sioeli Naupoto recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Naupoto also finished with a team-high seven tackles.

"Coach just called one of my favorite plays that we have and I just looked to execute the play and that's what happened," said Ah-Hoy, a 6-foot, 203-pound senior safety/running back.

The Seariders, who did not cross midfield for the game, ran 23 less plays on offense than Kahuku did. They managed just 28 yards of total offense and averaged less than one yard per play. They entered the game averaging 228 rushing yards and 36 points per game.

"We just did our job and everybody stayed disciplined," Ah-Hoy said of the defensive effort. "Alignment, assignment and execution. That's what our coaches preached all this time for this week and that's what we did."

Running back Rico Rosario rushed nine times for 42 yards and linebacker Jaylen Gonzales registered a team-high seven tackles for the fourth-ranked Seariders, who fell to 3-1 overll and 2-1 in the OIA D1 Blue.

Kahuku, the 25th-ranked team in the country according to USA Today's Super 25, will host Campbell next Saturday.

Waianae, which was trying for its first win over the Red Raiders since 2000, hosts Kaiser Friday at Raymond Torii Field.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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