OIA Football
Stolten's FG lifts Waialua past McKinley in season opener


Sat, Oct 16, 2021 @ Roosevelt [ 6:00 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
WLUA(2-3-0) 0 3 9 315
MCK(0-5-0) 0 7 0 613

MAKIKI—Lasse Stolten hit a 26-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to rally Waialua past McKinley, 15-13, in an Oahu Interscholastic Association Division II opener for both teams at Roosevelt's Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium Saturday.

The Bulldogs get their first victory since Oct. 5, 2019 when it beat Kalani, 35-26. Gary Wirtz picks up his first win as head coach after taking over after Lincoln Barit retired after 35 years at the helm.

"It's one of those where it's surreal. Still trying to figure out what just happened. It was a hell of a game across the board. We had mistakes in the first half and fixed them and just kept our composure. We fought through some injuries that hurt us, but we kept it together, but by the time I get home, this will sink in," Wirtz said.

Ezekiel Sheridan finished with 118 yards on 22 carries and dragged multiple defenders to help set up Stolten for a 26-yard field goal with 1:25 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Brandon Ching    Purchase image

"Zeke is one of those guys and he's built tough and he's one of those kids that won't stop. He has an engine and runs on diesel," Wirtz said.

Stolten, who is from Germany, came to Waialua about three months ago, wanted to contribute anyway he could despite limited experience.

"I'm proud of this team and I want to make it for them. I'm proud of the team and the coaches," Stolten said. "My brother and father went to a football game in Cincinnati and they said to me to play."

"I was proud of him," Wirtz added. "I seen him in practice and knew he could handle the pressure. We put the pressure on him in practice."

McKinley (0-1) got the ball on their own 25, but James Zara broke up a pass on fourth down with 20 seconds left and Waialua was able to take a knee to run out the remainder of the clock.

The Tigers were seeking their first win since Sept. 7, 2019 and were looking to snap a five-game losing streak dating back to that year.

"We just want to get better. Get better every time we play and be there for each other and be accountable for how we prepare," first-year McKinley coach Kale Ane said.

Chrilen Jibewemal stripped the ball from Tyson Apau's hand and Aaron Rutledge recovered it on the Waialua 13. Beneiah Togafau's 2-yard rushing touchdown gave McKinley a 7-0 lead with 7:04 to go in the second quarter.

"I think we played hard, we're going to make mistakes and go through adversity. When we made mistakes, others were there to help them up and it was great to see. Competing for the first time in almost two years is a learning process and it was great to see that," Ane said.

Stolten kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired to get the Bulldogs on the scoreboard.

Waialua got a safety after a snap to Dustin Chow went out of the end zone on a punt attempt in the third quarter.

Chow threw for 209 yards on 18 of 45 attempts and one interception, Joab Cruz caught 11 of those passes for 99 yards and Preston Note added 88 yards on five catches.

"This is his first time. You forget how young they are and how inexperienced they are, but he's a great leader and a trigger guy so we go as he goes," Ane said of Chow.

The Bulldogs took the lead after Elisha Sheridan went untouched along the McKinley sideline for a 41-yard punt return and Stolten's kick made it, 12-7 with 38 seconds to go in the third.

A deep pass from Chow to Note set up Togafau's second 2-yard rushing touchdown, but Cruz's two-point run was stopped short of the goal line to give McKinley a 13-12 lead giving the ball back to the Bulldogs with enough time to reclaim the lead for good.

Waialua has a home game against Kaiser (1-0) on Oct. 23 while McKinley has a bye before facing Radford at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 30.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].

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