Waipahu topples KS-Hawai'i to reach DII semifinals, 27-12
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
KEA'AU, Hawai'i —With a strong defense and even stronger faith in each other, the Waipahu football team won its first-round state tournament game.
Waipahu defeated Kamehameha-Hawai'i, 27-12, in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Division II Championships last night at Kamehameha-Hawai'i.
Waipahu advances to the semifinals against top-seeded Kaua'i at Vidinha Stadium on Kaua'i next Friday at 7:30 p.m.
"When you have a bunch of people playing for a cause higher than themselves, great things can happen," Waipahu coach Sean Saturnio said. "Most of the players are just regular Joes who have a deep passion for the game.
"I'd like to give credit to Kamehameha. It's a wonderful program with classy kids."
Waipahu's defense stifled the Warriors. Kamehameha junior running back Kolten Wong was second statewide with 1,538 yards rushing and his 108 points. Quarterback Nick Miyasato was among the leaders in the state with 1,383 passing yards and 17 touchdowns.
"We saw a movie last night called, 'Facing the Giants,' and there was a line in there about defense having 'a stone wall,' " Saturnio said. "And that's what we wanted to do. Defense played lights out."
Last night, Wong had 13 carries for 38 yards and Miyasato was 6 of 14 for 82.
Waipahu's total offense was 410 yards, including 312 on the ground, compared to 120 by Kamehameha. Keo Palimo'o led Waipahu with 118 rushing yards on 22 carries.
Waipahu senior slotback Matt Soueira scored twice in the second quarter after a scoreless first quarter.
"It feels great," Soueira said. "The whole team works so hard. It shows how much discipline pays off. I wasn't surprised (at our start). I know how we can be when we click."
He scored his first TD on a 6-yard run down the left side with 8:58 remaining. His second came on a 51-yard pass from quarterback Gil Fernandez as Soueira outraced his defender down the right flank with 6:22 left before intermission.
"We were able to move the ball well early," Saturnio said.
Senior Aaron Paahana made good on his first point-after attempt, but his second kick failed for the 13-0 lead.
The Warriors went three-and-out on their first four drives, and had their fifth drive end on a fumble by Miyasato. The Marauders were successful at getting to Miyasato in the first half, recording six sacks in that period, and eight overall.
Kamehameha coach Ulima Afoa said the Warriors were unaccustomed to the pressure and were "beat a couple of times physically."
"(Miyasato) held on to the ball a little too long. He wasn't comfortable in there," Afoa said. "They did a good job keeping the pressure on him. He's only a sophomore."
The Warriors made it a game in the third quarter, scoring 12 points within 1 minute, 7 seconds.
Their first was on a 36-yard field goal by Kamaka Tauati with 9:16 left in the the quarter. The second came seven seconds later on a safety when Fernandez was tackled by Mea Wong in the end zone on Waipahu's first play of the ensuing drive.
Kamehameha closed to 13-12 with 8:09 left in the quarter when Miyasato hit Hogan Rosehill with a 42-yard touchdown pass and Tauati kicked the extra point.
"We couldn't sustain that," Afoa said.
"I think Kamehameha came out fired up," Soueira said. "They took advantage of our mistakes."
Waipahu answered with a 5-yard run by Keo Palimo'o, and the extra-point attempt by Paahana put the Marauders up 20-12.
Waipahu's only score of the fourth quarter was all it needed to seal the victory. A 5-yard run by Fernandez, and the PAT by Paahana gave Waipahu a 27-12 lead with 3:33 remaining.
"I wasn't worried. I have faith in everybody," Soueira said.
WAIPAHU 0 13 7 7—27
KAMEHAMEHA-HAWAI'I 0 0 12 0—12
WAIP—Matt Soueira 6 run (Aaron Paahana kick)
WAIP—Soueira 51 pass from Gil Fernandez (kick failed)
KSH—FG Kamaka Tauati 36
KSH—Safety, Fernandez tackled in end zone
KSH—Hogan Rosehill 42 pass from Nick Miyasato. (Tauati kick)
WAIP—Keo Palimo'o 5 run (Paahana kick)
WAIP—Fernandez 5 run (Paahana kick)
RUSHING—Waipahu: Palimo'o 22-118, Dayton Duff-Domingo 6-59, Fernandez 8-40, Tauave Vili 6-40, Soueira 3-24, Jesse Doctolero 4-12, Troy Matautia 2-10, Tyler Martin 3-9. Kamehameha: Kolten Wong 13-38, M. Wong 2-0.
PASSING—Waipahu: Fernandez 4-5-0—98. Kamehameha: Miyasato 6-14-0—82, K. Wong 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING—Waipahu: Soueira 1-51, Duff-Domingo 2-42, Steven Berndt 1-5. Kamehameha: Rosehill 2-44, Alnas 2-25, M. Wong 1-8, K. Wong 1-5.
Reach Leila Wai at email@example.com.