OIA Football
Na Alii dominates Marauders to punch title game ticket


  



Sat, Nov 27, 2021 @ Radford [ 4:00 pm ]


Final 1 2 3 4 T
WAIP(2-3-0) 7 0 0 07
AIEA(4-3-0) 0 19 19 038

MAKALAPA — A-Town is title game bound.

Aiea won its third straight game and secured its first league championship game appearance since 2009 with a pivotal 38-7 win over Waipahu Saturday evening at Radford's John E. Velasco Stadium.

Ezekiel Olie threw for 379 yards and five touchdowns in the win to help Na Alii improve their record to 3-1 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I standings. The victory also gave Aiea the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Marauders (2-2) with one game left in the regular season.

Regardless of next week's results, Aiea is guaranteed a second place finish in the regular season and will face division leader Moanalua (4-1) for the OIA crown in two weeks.

"I'm just really proud of my boys," said senior linebacker Thiessen Wright. "They put in that work because they know that we got what it takes. We just got to execute every single day and that's what we did today."

Wright was part of an Aiea defense that had complete control over Waipahu. Na Alii totaled seven sacks and broke up nine passes in the win, the team's first over the Marauders since 2006.

Aiea also forced three turnover on downs and recovered three fumbles, one of which led to a 9-yard score by senior defensive back Windsor Asing to give Aiea a 25-7 lead in the third quarter.

Aiea's Windsor Asing tries to get free from a Waipahu offensive lineman after forcing and recovering a fumble. Brian Bautista | SL    Purchase image

It was Waipahu's lowest scoring output of the season. The Marauders' lone TD came on their opening drive after Aiea fumbled on the first play from scrimmage.

Na Alii quickly responded.

A sack by Chaysen Lopez on third down derailed Waipahu's next drive and a strip sack by defensive tackle Sila Unutoa on the following series helped set up Aiea's first score, a 7-yard strike from Olie to Geronimo Ulgaran.

Waipahu went 3-and-out on its next four possessions after Aiea's first TD, swinging momentum into Na Alii's favor. It took some time, but Aiea was able to take a 12-7 lead on Olie's 30-yard pass to Jayden Chanel with 4:08 to play in the second quarter.

Wright said the bye week really helped the defense prepare against Waipahu, who uses a run-pass option offense. Aiea defensive coordinator Mika Liilii's scheme had the linebackers often in motion as they would either creep up towards the line of scrimmage or back off into coverage right before the snap to make the reads harder for Waipahu quarterback Joshua Manu.

"Honestly a lot of it was props to coach Mika," Wright said. "It was a lot of film watching, just getting together and plotting it out. That bye week really helped us figure out what to do."

Once Na Alii were able to take the lead to force Waipahu to pass more, the defensive line were able to incorporate more stunts in their blitz package. Defensive end Logan Rouse, who stands at 6-foot-5, led the way with three sacks.

"That man is just a beast," Wright said of Rouse. "He got that height, but he's got good technique and I'm really proud of him."

Aiea's Logan Rouse (right) puts pressure on a Waipahu punt in the first half. Brian Bautista | SL    Purchase image

Rouse also blocked a punt that Wright recovered inside the red zone. This set up 9-yard TD reception by Chanel that gave Aiea a 19-7 lead at the break.

Ulgaran and Chanel added long catch-and-run scores late in the third quarter for the final points of the game. Ulgaran led all receivers with 10 catches for 185 yards and two scores while Chanel finished with 158 yards and three TDs on four receptions.

"We started off slow, but they came back," said Aiea coach Wendell Say, who is the longest tenured coach in the OIA with 29 years under his belt. "It was important that we got the kid settled down, and that's when things changed."

Aiea will travel to Kailua (1-3) next Friday to close out the regular season while Waipahu hosts Roosevelt (2-3) on Saturday.





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