Kaiser, Waipahu to play for real
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Kaiser coach David Maeva and Waipahu coach Sean Saturnio have come a long way since they were football teammates at the University of Hawai'i. Then, everything was fun and games.
"In college, we used to play Nintendo (football and baseball games) against each other," Saturnio said. "Now, we're playing Nintendo with real people."
They'll be at the controls when their teams meet in an O'ahu Interscholastic Association White semifinal Saturday night at the Masa Yonamine Sports Complex in Waipahu. The winner not only advances to the White championship on Nov. 12, but secures a Division II state berth.
In a regular season meeting, the Marauders beat the Cougars, 42-26, at Kaiser.
Both offenses are led by quarterbacks who can frustrate defenses.
Waipahu's Austen Benito leads the state in scoring with 94 points (12 touchdowns, 18 PATs and two 2-point conversions). He complements running back Krypton Taito in the Marauders' option offense.
"Their quarterback and fullback are the core of their offense," Maeva said. "Benito is a great talent. I love watching him play."
The Cougars have the multi-dimensional Shannon Wise, who has accounted for 67 percent of his team's yardage (707 rushing, 1,147 passing and 35 receiving). And who knows how many yards he has set back other teams from his defensive end position.
"He's phenomenally talented," Saturnio said. "He's got good presence. He knows when to tuck (the ball) and go. He's got good size (6 feet 1, 180 pounds); you can't take him down solo. He's a Michael Vick-type who makes things happen."
After a 1-3 start, the Cougars won their last three games to earn the fourth playoff berth. The Marauders have won five in a row after a 24-23 loss to Radford.
The White teams were idle last week, so injuries are not significant factors. Taito cracked a bone in one of his left fingers but it should not affect his ability to hold the ball, Saturnio said.
Kaiser is 5-6 in postseason, but hasn't won postseason game since the 1980 OIA East championship against Kalaheo. Kaiser's last OIA title was 1979, when it also won the Prep Bowl ... Waipahu is 8-10 in postseason. The Marauders haven't won an OIA title since 1971. The quarterback of that team was the late Edward Benito, father of Marauders QB Austen Benito. Benito has a tattoo with the inscription "Dad Benito #10" on his right shoulder. Benito wears No. 10, just as his father did ... Sean Saturnio and David Maeva were UH teammates in 1987. Maeva said Sega games were popular then. He and Saturnio played Tecmo Football and RBI Baseball. "Naturally, I was smoking in both," joked Maeva.
Radford at Campbell: The last time the two met, the Sabers dominated with a 45-0 win at Radford.
"I expect them to throw everything they've got at us," Campbell coach Tumoana Kenessey said. "It just that we were very fortunate the last time to get an early lead and that put them in a predicament. This will be totally different."
Radford coach Fred Salanoa attributed the blowout to mental errors.
"We just didn't execute," Salanoa said. "Not to take anything away from Campbell, they were the better team that night, but we hope our team shows up this Saturday."
The Sabers have the manpower to put teams in predicaments. They've rushed for 1,675 yards with most of the carries distributed among six different running backs, led by Gregg Frink (372 yards, 7 TDs) and Isiah Smith (327 yards, 3 TDs).
If that isn't enough, there is receiver/safety Isaac Laupola, a threat to score on offense and defense. One of the fastest players in the league, Laupola has 22 catches for 525 yards and eight TDs. Quarterback Shaye Asoau has been an efficient passer, completing 33 of 57 for 692 yards and 10 TDs with only one interception.
"We just can't focus on (Laupola) because they have a tremendous running game, too" Salanoa said.
Kenessey said left guard Liulotu Gaui (6-0, 270), left tackle Sterling Valentine (6-3, 270) and tight end Kepa Basham (6-0, 170) have been consistent blockers.
The Rams need help from defensive ends Russell Wantowski and Vasa Kuresa up front and defensive backs Trevor Maldon and Stephen Baughn. The four have been consistent performers, Salanoa said.
Radford's offense is led by running back Alex Daniels, whose 100 carries for 491 yards are more than twice the attempts and yardage of the next closest Rams' back. Sophomore receiver Kyle Blair has caught about two-thirds of quarterback Ryan Burciaga's 452 yards passing.
"They have some explosive guys," Kenessey said. "That No. 84 (Blair) is clutch."
Campbell is 6-8-1 in postseason since 1988. (It tied Castle in a 1998 first-round game, but the Knights advanced by a tiebreaker.) ... Shaye Asoau, who had a subluxation of his left shoulder (non-throwing side) against Waipahu, is expected to only play quarterback against Radford. The injury occurred while he was playing linebacker ... Radford is 5-10 in postseason since 1975. The Rams haven't won a postseason game since their 1981 O'ahu Prep Bowl victory against Saint Louis.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at email@example.com or 525-8042.