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Prep Football Preview Special
Michael Lasquero | ScoringLiveAugust 13, 2022, 9:59am
Fri, Aug 12, 2022 @ Leilehua [ 7:30 pm ]
WAHIAWA — Liatama Uiliata put his name on the map Friday night.
The Waipahu senior posted 10 receptions for 228 yards and scored on both sides of the ball to help the Marauders hold off Leilehua, 36-25, in a non-league game at Hugh Yoshida Stadium.
Uiliata also completed a 2-point conversion pass, was the receiver on another 2-point conversion and had two picks on defense while rotating in as a single-high free safety.
"If nobody knew Tama was our guy, after tonight, they know," Waipahu coach Bryson Carvalho said of Uiliata. "He's going to be an iron man the entire season. He's just a helluva of an athlete. We just want to make sure we make good use of him."
The Marauders (1-0) wasted no time letting that be known.
On their first play from scrimmage, quarterback Joshua Manu took a deep shot down the left sideline for Uiliata that was just slightly overthrown. Two plays later they connected on a streak on the right side of the field for a 70-yard score in front of the Waipahu sideline. Uiliata's pass to Faapaia Fualema on the conversion made it an 8-0 game one minute into the contest.
Leilehua (0-1-1) was able to drive down the field on its ensuing drive thanks to a handful of Waipahu penalties, but Uiliata showed out again with an interception in the right seam to prevent any points.
His second interception of the night was even better.
After Leilehua made it a 29-25 game on a 99-yard kickoff return by Camren Flemister in the fourth quarter and forced a Waipahu punt, Uiliata took the game into his own hands and put the exclamation point on his performance.
Reading a switch route combination by the Mules' receivers, Uiliata leaped in front of a pass in the right seam. He broke left, then stopped on a dime before reversing field and finding pay dirt for a 79-yard touchdown return for the final points of the game.
"That was a game breaker right there," said Uiliata. "It really was just the game plan by coach and we executed well. It feels good, preparing for this game and all the boys working day in and day out."
The first half belonged to the Marauders as they outgained Leilehua, 189 to 86. Braeden Togafau's 2-yard TD run, which was set up by a goal line interception from Zyon Faleiva, helped make it a 14-0 game heading into the break.
Then Leilehua woke up.
Playing in their last home game of the year due to field renovations, The Mules were able to find the end zone on its first possession of the second half. Dustin Chow took over at quarterback and was able to connect with Darien Hoeppner-Corales for a 21-yard score.
The Mules then recovered a mishandled ball on the ensuing kickoff to set up another scoring drive. Chow and Hoeppner-Corales hooked up again, this time for a 30-yard TD to cut into Waipahu's lead, 14-12, with 8:28 showing on the third quarter scoreboard.
Uiliata was able to come down with a 26-yard pass through interference to take the Marauders into the red zone on the following possession, but a fumble gave the ball back to the Mules. The home team recycled the turnover into points when Timothy Arnold took a triple-option pitch for a 37-yard TD to give Leilehua the lead, 19-14.
Wasting no time to answer, Uiliata took the ensuing kickoff 25 yards to the 45-yard line and then had a 39-yard catch-and-run to set up Manu's 7-yard TD pass to Tai Aipia-Barrett. Uiliata caught the 2-point conversion to retake the lead for Waipahu, 22-19, with 3:53 to play in the third quarter.
The Mules held Uiliata to just one reception in the final period of play, but that just meant other receivers started to make plays.
After an interception by Tyrus Niuatoa, Aipia-Barrett turned a short pass into a 43-yard gain to get the Marauders across midfield. The drive stalled for a bit before Manu found Saige Marienthal for a 19-yard gain on third-and-long. One play later, Manu hit Layden-Jace Rabago in the left seam for a 21-yard pass. Manu later capped the drive on a 1-yard sneak on fourth down.
"It's kind of a good thing that Tama is my go to because he might draw more eyes and that will give more opportunities for my other receivers to get receptions," said Manu, who completed 20 of 35 passes for 365 yards and two scores.
The Mules will have two weeks off before traveling to Kahuku to begin regular season play while the Marauders have one more preseason game on the road against Campbell next Saturday.
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