Photos by Andrew Lee (http://www.twitter.com/HISportsPic
)By Wes Nakama
After an 0-2 start to the O'ahu Interscholastic Association football season, Wai'anae suddenly is just a half-game out of first place in the Red Conference Western Division following Friday night's 35-20 victory over 'Aiea.
The Seariders improved to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the Red West, just a half-game behind first-place Mililani (5-1, 3-1). Na Ali'i fell to 3-3, 1-3.
Wai'anae wasted little time getting untracked Friday, as linebacker Brandon Johnston tipped and intercepted a pass on the second play from scrimmage and turned into a pick-six with a 12-yard return to the end zone. Jacoby Cid's extra point made it 7-0 just 53 seconds after kickoff.
The Seariders extended the lead to 14-0 near the end of the quarter, after Kekoa Kaluhiokalani threw a laser to Po'okela Noa Nakamoto on a 17-yard crossing pattern for the score.
It later became 21-0 after Jeremy Willes' 1-yard touchdown plunge on fourth-and-goal.
'Aiea cut it to 21-7 on Mana Ka'ahanui's 1-yard TD run and Jae Won Huh's PAT just 44 seconds before halftime, but Wai'anae pushed the lead again with Alaka'i Kealoha's 38-yard scoring scamper and another extra point by Cid to make it 28-7 with 1:03 remaining in the second quarter..
The Seariders sealed the deal in the fourth quarter on Emil Muraoka's 12-yard touchdown run.
A 50-yard pass from Shaenan Hernandez-Fonoti to Kamakana Apelu helped set up Samate Talia's 15-yard run to paydirt with 1:17 remaining in the game, and Na Ali'i recovered the ensuing onside kick. 'Aiea then closed it to 35-20 six plays later on Hernandez-Fonoti's 1-yard TD pass to Kalei Li'ili'i, but only nine seconds remained and Wai'anae recovered the ensuing onside kick.
Kennedy Tuimaseali'i, a 6-foot-2, 290-pound senior defensive tackle, was a force on defense for the Seariders, contributing with four sacks and a fumble recovery.
Apelu finished with seven catches for 109 yards for Na Ali'i. 'WAI'ANAE (4-3, 3-2) 14 7 7 7 -- 35
'AIEA (3-3, 1-3) 0 7 7 6 -- 20
Wai -- Brandon Johnston 12 interception return (Jacoby Cid kick)
Wai -- Po'okela Noa Nakamoto 17 pass from Kekoa Kaluhiokalani (Cid kick)
Wai -- Jeremy Willes 1 run (Cid kick)
'Aiea -- Mana Ka'ahanui 1 run (Jae Won Huh kick)
Wai -- Alaka'i Kealoha 38 run (Cid kick)
Wai -- Emil Muraoka 12 run (Cid kick)
'Aiea -- Samate Talia 15 run (Huh kick)
'Aiea -- Kalei Li'ili'i 1 pass from Shaenan Hernandez-Fonoti (kick failed)
RUSHING -- Wai'anae:
Kealoha 12-92; Willes 17-57; Kaluhiokalani 4-8; Mahavan Tau 2-7; Christian Dorwelo 1-2; Stanton Kama 1-7; Muraoka 1-12. 'Aiea:
Ka'ahanui 8-41; Talia 8-46; Hernandez-Fonoti 5-11; Elijah Tausaga 3-12; Isaiah Hernandez-Fonoti 5-(minus-25); Jalen Medeiros 1-(minus-3).PASSING -- Wai'anae:
Kaluhiokalani 5-9-0--65. 'Aiea:
S. Hernandez-Fonoti 8-15-2--96; I. Hernandz-Fonoti 10-20-2--46.
RECEIVING -- Wai'anae:
Noa Nakamoto 4-63; Kealoha 1-2. 'Aiea:
Kamakana Apelu 7-109; Li'ili'i 5-19; Medeiros 3-15; Talia 2-2; Jarrel Chaviera 1-(minus-1).