OIA Football
Au, defense help Moanalua wipe out Kailua


Fri, Sep 7, 2018 @ Moanalua [ 7:30 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
KAIL (2-8-0) 0 0 7 07
MOA (8-1-0) 0 21 14 742
Nick Au 300 yd 5 TD
Cole Weber 76 yd
Lawsen Lee 30 yd
Brian Allen Kamanu 23 yd 1 TD
Ezra Grace 151 yd 2 TD

SALT LAKE — Nick Au threw five touchdowns and the Moanalua defense recorded six interceptions to batter visiting Kailua, 42-7, in an Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I game at Na Menehune's field on Friday.

Na Menehune overcame a slow start and improved to 3-0 overall while the Surfriders dropped their fifth-straight game to fall to 0-5 overall in the standings.

Au went 25 of 35 for 300 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Ezra Grace caught 10 passes for 151 yards, hauled in two scores, and had two punt returns for 60 yards to help set-up scores.

Moanalua played its first game since Aug. 17, and the rust showed early on as its three first quarter offensive drives resulted in two punts and an interception.

"Jitters and emotions got the worst of us in the first quarter," Moanalua coach Savaii Eselu said.

Na Menehune forced eight total turnovers with six picks and two fumble recoveries. Three of those turnovers were turned into points.

"It was huge," Eselu said of the turnovers. "We preach it every single day to win the turnover battle. If you have the opportunity on defense, you take and you take it any way you can."

Trequan Henderson picked off two passes while Jordan Kimura, Keanu Kekawa, Aukai Grace and Rashod Tanner each recorded an interception. Tanner's interception went the distance for a 58-yard score in the fourth quarter.

"We give the credit to our defensive back coach. He told us in practice this is the game we could get a lot of interceptions and the whole we week we were trying to catch interceptions that get turnovers," Henderson said.

Moanalua redeemed Tupu Alualu's fumble recovery into points as Au threw a 7-yard touchdown to CJ Paleafei for the first score of the game.

"We were rusty in the beginning and after that, we got better and better," Au said. "First quarter we learned our mistakes and second quarter we just do what we had to do."

"Once we got into a groove of things and we realized how tenacious Kailua was playing, we could combat that and work around it," Eselu said.

Ezra Grace returned the punt 28 yards to the Kailua 36 and eight plays later, Au found him to cap the drive with an 11-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead.

"It was about building his confidence," Eselu said of Au. "He has a huge supporting cast of weapons. We wanted to build his confidence with the little stuff and then eventually build it up. He did a great job in that regard."

Na Menehune capitalized on Henderson's first interception and took a 21-0 halftime lead after converting a 50-yard hook-and-lateral play that went from Au to Ezra Grace to Jacob Copeland.

"Our game plan was to keep the tempo up and score," Au said.

The Surfriders took advantage of a very short punt and got the ball on the Moanalua 20 yard line. Brian Allen Kamanu (four carries, 23 yards) scored Kailua's only touchdown in the third quarter four plays later on a 10-yard run to trail, 21-7.

Ezra Grace's 32-yard punt return set-up Na Menehune in great field position at the Kailua 15 and Moanalua finished the scoring drive after Jordan Monico caught Au's pass from six yards out.

Moanalua recycled Henderson's second interception into points and Ezra Grace reeled in a 54-yard touchdown that finished a four-play scoring drive.

Moanalua faces off against Leilehua on Friday, Sept. 14, while Kailua is still seeking its first win of the season as it hosts Nanakuli on Sept. 15.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].




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