High school football: Waiakea surprises Waialua 16-6

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Coach Kalei Young talked beforehand about how important it was for Waiakea’s football team to play as one and stick together.

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Coach Kalei Young talked beforehand about how important it was for Waiakea’s football team to play as one and stick together.

It sounded like the usual coach-talk, but there was a twist. The Warriors’ defensive chemistry came together in the form of a jail-breaking pass rush.

Hunter Parks and his defensive teammates flushed quarterback Tevesi Toia from the pocket time and again Saturday, chasing him left and right and stonewalling defending OIA Division II champion Waialua for 16-6 nonconference-opening victory at Ken Yamase Memorial Stadium.

“We proved everybody wrong,” Parks said. “I’m pretty sure nobody thought we were going to win today, so we came together and we put in all the work.”

Ryden Quitoriano accounted for all of the Warriors’ points, hauling in two touchdown receptions from Ka’iolana Kon, including a 62-yarder, in a game that marked Young’s coaching debut after a single season as Moku Pita’s assistant.

“I learned a lot about these guys today,” Young said. “What I love about them is they play respectfully and with family values and discipline.

“I know a lot of times it’s a cliche thing that coaches say, but I believe whole-heartedly that you can’t execute unless you learn to stick together as a team.”

Coming off a three-win season in BIIF Division I, Parks said the biggest difference this year is “on-the-field leadership.”

Blitzing from his inside linebacker positron in Waiakea’s 3-3-5 defense, Parks finally corralled the elusive Toia for a second-quarter sack and defensive end Able Pacatang dropped Toia in the third quarter after the Warriors took a 13-6 lead. A handful of Waiakea players met at the quarterback for a sack to thwart a fourth-quarter drive.

With Joseph Pacani holding down the other defensive end spot and Reese Mondina and Peter Matsuura joining Parks at inside linebacker, Waiakea didn’t yield a score during the final three quarters, allowing just 30 yards rushing and 264 overall while forcing Toia and Kyler Dicion to combine for 18-of-51 passing.

“I thought the line was going to be able to stop me, but every time I blitzed I was able to get through, and that really stopped me,” Parks said.

With the Warriors repeatedly looking throw the deep ball, both teams essentially abandoned the running game.

Waiakea lost the turnover battle (3-2), but Noah Eblacas’ interception in the end zone kept Waiakea’s deficit at 6-0 in the second-quarter, sparking Kon and the offense.

Kon’s would-be 70-yard touchdown pass to Magnus Namohala-Roloos was lost to a penalty, but he went back to Namohala-Roloos for 24 yards and then found Quitoriano for a 36-yard touchdown strike to cap a four-play, 70-yard drive.

Kon, a converted defensive end, completed 10 of his 29 passes for 202 yards, and Young liked the way the junior managed his presnap reads.

“We always want to take those matchups when we have them,” Young said. “When we see one-on-ones, we get excited to give those kids those 50-50 balls.

“They’ve been showing they can bring them down.”

Kon often arched the ball for Namohala-Roloos, who caught three passes for 68 yards, but it was Quitoriano who got behind the defense on the left side early in the third quarter for the go-ahead score.

One game doesn’t make a BIIF Division I Offensive Player of the Year campaign make, but Quitoriano’s multidimensional performance mirrored those last season of Hilo’s Kalei Tolentino-Perry, the reigning POY.

Quitoriano nailed a 32-yard field goal to ice the game in the fourth quarter, and he also boomed punts of 45 and 51 yards.

“He’s versatile for us and strong-minded,” Young said. “He’s not the fastest receiver, but he knows how to use his body to find passing lanes.

“He has a lot of confidence. They are confident in each other.”

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Waialua 6 0 0 0 – 6

Waiakea 0 7 6 3– 16

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