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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, November 4, 2006

Stout defense helps Seariders roll to 7-6 victory over Mililani

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By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Wai'anae's Chris Santiago-Yoshioka wraps up Mililani quarterback Rustin Funakoshi in the first quarter. Funakoshi's 16-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter was the Trojans' only touchdown in the game. The Seariders won, 7-6, to advance to the O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red championship game.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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The ball literally bounced Wai'anae's way last night.

A fortuitous roll on a 47-yard punt to the Mililani 4 aided in the No. 5 Seariders' only score in a 7-6 O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red semifinal win before 6,447 at Aloha Stadium.

The Seariders (7-3) advance to Friday's championship against three-time defending champion Kahuku (8-2). It is Wai'anae's first title game appearance since 1990, when it lost to Kahuku, 32-13. Both teams are assured Division I state berths.

Wai'anae is 15-6 in titles games and Kahuku is 12-5. This will be eighth meeting between the schools with the Red Raiders having won the last four meetings after the Seariders won the first three.

The co-No. 8 Trojans (7-3) will play Leilehua for third place next Saturday for the OIA's third and final Division I state berth.

"We had some nice rolls on the turf," Wai'anae coach Danny Matsumoto said of the punt that pinned the Trojans.

Starting at the 4, Mililani lost two yards on its possession. Jordan Torres then punted 32 yards to the Mililani 34 with 9:05 left in the game. All Wai'anae needed was five plays before running back David Ferreira scored on a 7-yard run over left guard to tie the score. William Duseigneur, who missed a 22-yard field goal earlier in the game, made the 20-yard PAT kick easily to put Wai'anae ahead, 7-6.

The Seariders also had figurative rolls go their way, too.

Despite turning the ball over four times, losing two of four fumbles and getting intercepted twice, the giveaways did not cost them, mostly because their defense didn't give in except for once.

"Their defense is tough," Mililani coach James Millwood said. "They're physical and quick. They took a lot away from us. When we had our chances, we didn't take advantage of them."

Matsumoto didn't fault his team for the turnovers, choosing to praise Mililani. "They caused the turnovers, so you have to give credit to them. They took the ball away from us."

Another fortuitous moment came later in the fourth quarter, when Wai'anae faced fourth-and-9 at its 42 and punted. But it got the ball back when Mililani was called for illegal participation, a 15-yard infraction that was enough for a first down and allowed the Seariders to keep possession for the rest of the game.

"We all played our hardest and it just didn't go our way, I guess," Trojans' linebacker Josh Andrews said. "It came down to the extra point. It's killers. It doesn't get any worse than that."

The Seariders know they bit a big bullet.

"We were lucky to come out with this win," quarterback Ben McQuown said. "But we pulled it out in the end. The penalty on the punt helped us out."

After a scoreless first half, the Trojans broke through following defensive back Cody Kilthau's second interception off McQuown at the Mililani 6. A 5-yard face-mask penalty against the Seariders on the play put the ball at the Trojans' 11. Mililani scored after 12 plays on a 16-yard pass from Rustin Funakoshi to Colin Lund with 4:28 left in the third quarter.

However, a high snap from center on the PAT attempt threw off place-kicker Lund and the kick was blocked. Millwood said his starting snapper was not in the game because officials told him the player's pants were too short, so the back-up snapper was used.

Despite three first-half turnovers two fumble recoveries by linebacker David Rivers and an interception by Kilthau the Trojans were stymied by the Seariders' defense, which never allowed Mililani to get past Wai'anae's 40. And the only time the Trojans' offense was in Wai'anae territory was after one of the fumbles at the Wai'anae 41.

On their first series, the Seariders got to the Trojans' 26, before Preston Cummings fumbled at the Trojans' 25. But Wai'anae's defense forced Mililani to eventually punt.

In the second quarter, the Seariders reached the Mililani 14, only to be halted by Kilthau's diving interception near the sideline at the Mililani 18. Again, the Trojans were forced to punt.

Wai'anae went from its 25 to the Mililani 6, where Duseigneur's 22-yard field-goal attempt fell short with 1:44 left in the half.

MILILANI (7-3) 0 0 6 06

WAI'ANAE (7-3) 0 0 0 77

Mili Colin Lund 16 pass from Rustin Funakoshi (kick failed)

Wain David Ferreira 7 run (William Duseigneur kick) RUSHING Mililani: Rustin Funakoshi 4-(minus 8), Jordan Torres 14-73, Tojo Ishida 1-(minus 4), Kala Perbera 3-5, Isaiah Lawelawe 6-19. Wai'anae: Ben McQuown 7-94, Danny Kekoanui 16-55, Joe Abell 11-74, Preston Cummings 1-1, David Ferreira 8-33, Team 1-(minus 4).

PASSING Mililani: Funakoshi 6-16-063, Torres 0-1-00. Wai'anae: McQuown 8-15-296.

RECEIVING Mililani: Curtis Murakami 1-5, J.R. Rosal 1-17, Colin Lund 2-29, Torres 1-0, Scott Burns 1-12. Wai'anae: Abell 2-26, Don Medeiros 1-23, Kekoanui 3-35, Cranston Newman 1-6, Tyson Ranada 1-6.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.