Waianae outlasts Moanalua
Rico Rosario rushed for 124 yards as No. 4 Waianae outlasted Moanalua 47-31 on Friday night at Raymond Torii Field.
Rosario also scored on a 77-yard screen pass late in the first quarter.
A home crowd of about 1,000 saw the Seariders establish control at the line of scrimmage to overcome 51 pass attempts by Moanalua quarterback Alaka‘i Yuen. Waianae improved to 2-0 in OIA Division I play (3-0 overall), while Moanalua dropped to 0-2 (1-2 overall).
“I’m proud of these kids. They fought all the way and it was a great team effort on offense, defense and special teams,” Waianae coach Walter Young said.
Waianae rushed for 314 yards out of a mix of wing-T and I-formation sets. Javen Towne (72 yards, one TD) and Kade Ambrosio (55 yards, TD) were fresh every time the call and the ball came their way. That made the task much simpler for playmaking quarterback Jaren Ulu, who threw the ball just 12 times.
For Yuen, who was 26-for51 and 218 yards, it was an up-and-down night against one of the OIA’s most formidable defenses. He threw three TD passes — two to Ryan Ramones and one to Brandon Bender — but was intercepted twice.
“We have a lot to work on, still. We have to keep on fighting. There were times we got down on ourselves,” Yuen said. “Waianae’s defense was smart and tough. I could hear them communicating.”
Yuen started the game hot with 8-for-10 passing in the opening drive. His 3-yard corner pass to Ramones gave the visitors a 6-0 lead with 8:25 left in the first quarter.
The Seariders scored on their second series. Ambrosio’s 20-yard run on a counter play capped a sixplay, 81-yard drive. The PAT gave Waianae a 7-6 lead with 3:50 to go in the first.
From there, Waianae’s pass rush altered Moanalua’s momentum. Yuen couldn’t get enough time to pass the ball and Na Menehune went to a double-tight end, wingback set for a stretch with just two route runners.
After sacking Yuen on a key fourth-down play, Waianae extended the lead to 13-6 on the next snap, a 77-yard screen pass from Ulu to Rosario with 50 seconds left in the first quarter.
Moanalua battled back and cut the lead to one point. Bronson Louis-Merry returned a fumble by Ambrosio 41 yards to paydirt, and it was 13-12 with 11:34 to play in the second quarter.
From there, Rosario scored on a 32-yard run for a 20-12 lead, but Moanalua stayed close. Yuen started hitting his targets again, then dashed to the left pylon for a 3-yard TD run to bring Na Menehune within 20-18 with 8:25 left in the wild second quarter.
Waianae, however, had control at the point of impact. Towne bursted up the gut for a 33-yard scoring run and the Seariders led 34-18 with 4:52 left in the half.
A fumble by Kanai Mauga on the second-half kickoff gave Moanalua opportunity, but Yuen threw three incompletions, then fumbled the punt snap near midfield.
Moanalua got the ball back, however, and Yuen led Moanalua downfield, hitting Bender for a 4-yard TD pass. That made it 34-25 with 4:07 to go.
Waianae didn’t score for a second possession in a row, but the punt pinned Moanalua at its 1-yard line. The Seariders later scored on a 13-yard TD pass from Ulu to Jorell Pontes-Borje for a 40-25 lead with 11:42 to go in the fourth quarter.
Waianae added a 62-yard interception return by Tony Cabral, who went from the right sideline to the left, then cut back against the grain for the pick-6.
Yuen connected with Ramones for a 25-yard TD pass late in the game, but it wasn’t enough.
Waianae’s Rico Rosario, above, broke free for a touchdown against Moanalua in a game Friday at Waianae. Rosario rushed for 124 yards. At left, Moanalua’s Ryan Ramones rose up for a touchdown catch against Searider Dayton Weber.