HHSAA Football
Waimea runs past Kaiser in opening round; Honokaa next


Sat, Nov 12, 2022 @ Hanapepe Stadium [ 1:00 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
Kaiser (6-5-0) 0 7 0 07
Waimea (9-2-0) 7 14 21 648
Zyden Vea 12 yd
Easton Yoshino 250 yd 1 TD
Aukai Emayo 230 yd 3 TD

HANAPEPE, Kauai — They used an old-school offense, but it was an effective one.

The Waimea Menehune dominated the trenches and rushed for 398 yards in their 48-7 rout of Kaiser Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the First Hawaiian Bank Division II Football State Championships at Hanapepe Stadium.

Senior running back Aukai Emayo benefitted from Waimea's under-center formations that had two tight ends and three backs in the backfield as he rushed for a three touchdowns and a season-high 230 yards on 26 carries.His longest run came on a 38-yard scamper that gave Waimea a 35-7 lead midway through the third quarter.

"Just feeling very excited and proud of my team, without them none of this would be possible," said Emayo.

Emayo also made sure to credit the offensive line and everyone involved in the blocking scheme. Key players up front include linemen Zack Vigilla, Dylan Bugayong, Christoffer Alicante, Jeremiah Harper, Kaizen "Bulla" Castillo alongside center Rylan Manuel and tight ends Ethan Moniz and Daniel Kaohelaulii-Kala.

"Our O-line just came out hard," said Emayo. "They practiced really hard during the week and that contributed to our game today."

Robbie Correa functioned as the quick dive man and added 46 yards and a 3-yard TD run late in the third quarter that enabled the running clock.

Kaili Arakaki did most of his damage as a wing back that took sweeps around left end that the Cougars had no answer for. His first run of the day was a 9-yard TD run that capped Waimea's opening drive and he had a 31-yard run to hep him finish with four carries for 44 yards and two scores.

Rhaziah Tacub-Taniguchi added 40 yards on three carries. He also caught the lone completed pass from quarterback from Zyden Vea, a 12-yard to the right flat on Waimea's opening drive.

Waimea was not limited to two tight end, three back sets however. The Menehune at times removed the tight ends in favor of two receiver split out wide. They even utilized a spread formation with Kameron Apilado behind center on their third possession of the game. Apilado ran two times on that drive for 21 yards to set up Emayo's first scoring run to give Waimea a 14-0 lead with nine minutes left in the first half.

Kaiser coach Tim Seaman was impressed with the Menehune's execution and offense.

"All credit to Waimea," he said. "Obviously they came out, they played hard. Up front physically, they did a great job, offensive line, defensive line. Their backs ran hard. Give their staff and their players a ton of credit and great effort by them.

"We don't see (their type of offense much), but that's to their credit. They knew that we were a little smaller up front. That's their strength and they executed that to a 'T'. That was a great job by them."

The Cougars' lone score of the day came after Emayo's first TD run. A big 47-yard pass completion from Easton Yoshino to Donovan Reis down the right sideline led to Reis' 3-yard TD reception at the 7:25 mark of the second quarter.

Yoshino finished the day completing 22 of 39 passes for 250 yards, but he was picked off twice. His first interception of the game came on the Cougars' first drive of the second half and was returned 58 yards the other way by Kenny Okeigar.

The Menehune, seeded third in the six-team tourney, advances to take on second-seeded Honokaa next Saturday in a 7:00 p.m. semifinal.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].

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