Wa­ianae out­lasts Moanalua

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - SPORTS - By Paul Honda phonda@starad­ver­tiser.com

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.

PHO­TOS BY GE­ORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARAD­VER­TISER.COM

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.

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