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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveNovember 10, 2018, 12:48am
Fri, Nov 9, 2018 @ Waipahu [ 7:30 pm ]
WAIPAHU — Alfred Failauga and Deacon Kapea took their games to another level after halftime Friday night.
Failauga carried the ball 38 times for 162 rushing yards and a touchdown and Kapea pulled down three second-half interceptions to help No. 10 Waipahu rally to a thrilling 20-19 win over No. 8 Iolani in a semifinal game of the First Hawaiian Bank Division I Football State Championships.
The Marauders (9-4) rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit before a crowd of about 1,200 fans at the Masa Yonamine Athletic Complex. They will play defending champion Hilo in the 4:30 p.m. final on Nov. 24 at Aloha Stadium.
Waipahu, the Oahu Interscholastic Association champion and No. 2 seed in the four-team field, has never won a state title. It lost to Iolani in its only championship game appearance in the 2011 Division II tournament by a score of 34-0.
Fourth-year coach Bryson Carvalho called the victory over the Raiders (8-3) — who have won eight D2 state titles and reached the D1 final in 2016 — a signature win for the program.
"This is as big as it gets, I think, right here," Carvalho said. "The kids worked hard and it was the best week of practice. We knew it wasn't going to be a blowout either way. We knew it was going to be a close game and we just had to hang on."
Iolani's last of three scores in a 16-point second quarter — Jonah Chong's 19-yard touchdown pass to Kaua Nishigaya — gave it a 19-7 lead at halftime, but Waipahu got some momentum going with its defense.
The Marauders forced three-and-outs on the Raiders' first two drives of the second half and then Failauga going things going on offense.
Waipahu kept the ball on the ground for all 11 plays of its ensuing drive, which culminated with a 1-yard Cody Marques touchdown run on third-and-goal. Failauga carried eight times for 42 yards on the drive, including the first six plays.
"We made excellent adjustments at halftime," Carvalho said. "We listened to the kids, I mean, we asked them, ‘what do you think will work?' and we followed what they believed and shoot, it ended up working."
Brycen Amorozo tacked on the extra point to cut the Iolani lead to 19-14 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
Two plays into Iolani's next possession, Chong had his pass — intended for Carter Kamana — tipped by linebacker Fiva Tulafale and intercepted by Kapea.
"I was in zone coverage back and then I saw Fiva coming across, locked up on (Kamana) and I just saw the ball in the air and I just jumped it and it was there for me," said Kapea, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound senior safety.
Kapea carved out a 31-yard return on the interception to get to the Iolani 1-yard line. However, the Marauders were flagged for two personal foul penalties after the play, which put the ball back on the Raiders' 44.
After a false start penalty, Marques threw a short completion to Saxon Tote on first down before Failauga carried on four consecutive plays, capped by his 16-yard touchdown run with 1:59 left in the third quarter. On the scoring play, Failauga took the handoff from Marques and bounced off a would-be tackler and into the end zone.
"We ended up kind of confusing (Iolani) a little bit up front," Carvalho said. "We pulled a little bit less than we usually do; we just kind of ran the ball straight down their throat and we mixed things up a little bit and I'm just so proud of our kids."
After the Failauga TD run gave the Marauders a 20-19 lead, they opted to attempt the two-point conversion, but Failauga was stopped short of the goal line.
Kapea's second interception of the game halted Iolani's next drive, but Waipahu was unable to turn it into points.
The Marauders had a chance to build on their slim lead midway through the fourth quarter, but Amorozo's 39-yard field goal attempt from the left hash missed wide right.
Iolani took over at its own 20-yard line with 5:41 left in the game. Chong moved the chains with a 3-yard scramble on 4th-and-1, but three plays later he was picked off by Kapea for a third time.
"I was just taking away the deep routes, staying back and then I saw the quarterback creeping up and running and then I saw a short pass being thrown and I jumped it," Kapea said.
It was the seventh, eighth and ninth interceptions of the season for Kapea.
"That kid is awesome," Carvalho said. "I mean, he's amazing, he's humble, he's hard working. I mean, he does everything you ask and more. I just can't say enough about him."
The Raiders got the ball back after a Waipahu turnover on downs at their own 25-yard line with 4:07 remaining. However, they eventually turned it over on downs themselves after Chong's fourth-down pass for Rayden Kaneshiro was overthrown and fell incomplete.
Waipahu regained possession with 2:50 left on the clock and was able to run out the clock after Failauga ripped off a 10-yard run to move the chains on 2nd-and-8.
"It was great just coming out with this win. It's a great opportunity. Not too many people get this opportunity to come out here and play on this home field and in a game like this," Failauga said.
It was the sixth time this season and the fifth straight game that Failauga has ran for 100 or more yards. His 38 carries were a season-high mark.
Failauga said when Carvalho sought the players' input at halftime, he took the opportunity to speak freely.
"Pretty much whatever mistakes we made we kind of opened it up for coach and we kind of told him and then eventually we just adjusted to whatever plays we needed to get down," said Failauga, who carried 24 times for 101 yards in the second half.
Marques threw for 163 yards on 15-of-23 passing with two interceptions. He threw a 40-yard TD pass to Matthew Fiesta just 46 seconds into the game to give the Marauders an early 7-0 lead.
However, Iolani answered by scoring the next 19 points. Mika Makekau knocked through a 22-yard field goal late in the first quarter and a 35-yard field goal early in the second to get her team within a point at 7-6.
The Raiders pulled ahead on Kaua Nishigaya's 2-yard TD run with 6:17 left in the first half and extended their lead to 19-7 on the Chong-to-Nishigaya TD pass late in the second quarter.
Chong finished 22-of-50 passing for 208 yards and Kamana caught nine passes for 90 yards in the loss. Nishigaya was held to a season-low 29 yards on 16 carries.
Iolani, which was averaging 315.8 yards and 35.3 points per game, was held to 226 yards of total offense, including just 18 rushing yards. It was 1 of 16 on third-down conversions.
"Coming into this game I just talked to the team and I told them that ‘this is our game. We came this far and we ain't going home yet,' " Kapea said.
Waipahu avenged a 41-point loss at Iolani on Aug. 11. It was missing 10 defensive starters in that game and suited up just 27 players in that contest.
"Everybody was doubting us, thinking we were gonna get blown away like the first game, but they didn't see a team like us, to be honest," said Kapea, who did not play against Iolani the first time. "Our team at first we only had 27 guys — but that's on our part — but we came to play tonight."
Waipahu rushed for 192 of its 355 yards of total offense, but drew 23 flags resulting in 244 yards in penalties.
Defensively, Kealii Barrett posted a team-high 9 1/2 tackles, Zachary Camanse recorded two of the Marauders' five sacks and Zeondre Benjamin came down with an interception, his sixth on the year.
Kyler Mento led Iolani on defense with a game-high 11 tackles. Shayden Molina added 9 1/2 tackles with a forced fumble, Lanakila Pei posted 8 1/2 stops with an interception and a fumble recovery and Jonah Miyazawa chipped in with eight tackles. Micah Shikada and Micah Camat each intercepted a pass in the loss.
Iolani had its five-game win streak snapped to end the season.
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