KAILUA-KONA — Kealakehe’s senior night turned into Koarii Atkinson-Sioloa’s night in a hurry at Waverider Stadium.
Quarterback Jorden Himalaya and the Waverider defense didn’t do too bad in co-star roles either.
Atkinson-Sioloa — a recently converted defensive back turned wide receiver — caught five passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday night, helping lead the Waveriders to a 28-14 win over Honokaa.
While Atkinson-Sioloa was the touchdown machine, Himalaya spread his 19 completions around to eight different pass-catchers, wrapping up the night with 256 yards and five touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Dragons never quite took flight on offense. Quarterback Malu Kanekoa managed 108 yards on 13-of-29 passing and he had a late touchdown pass and even later interception.
Honokaa tried to keep it grounded with Klayton Gascon, but he couldn’t find consistent running lanes against Kealakehe’s stout front seven that keyed off his movements. Gascon finished with 71 yards on 19 carries.
Honokaa won the race to light up the scoreboard first, capitalizing on a blocked punt that was recovered by Kulea Salazar at the Waveriders’ 1-yard line. Two plays later, Gascon sprinted to the left corner of the end zone for the early 7-0 edge.
Kealakehe didn’t take long for its rebuttal. Himalaya returned from a short injury-induced absence to connect with Atkinson-Sioloa on a 35-yard pass down the sideline and a two-point conversion gave the ‘Riders the lead.
They never looked back.
After a 3-and-out by Honokaa, Kealakehe’s Zane Martin tipped a punt to provide good field position for the ‘Riders. The QB-WR combo added a 41-yard score where Atkinson-Sioloa left multiple Dragons in the dust on a highlight reel catch-and-run as an encore.
Himalaya and Atkinson-Sioloa completed the hat trick early in the third quarter, with the senior duo converting a fourth down into a touchdown to make it 21-7.
Himalaya maintained his long-distance relationship with his wide receivers to help pad the lead, finding a streaking Kaden Baptista down the home sideline for a 54-yard score, pushing the margin to 28-7.
Honokaa inched a bit closer with just under five minutes left in the game, pulling within two scores after Kanekoa connected with a wide-open Kalewa Oneil. It was by far the most efficient drive of the night for the Dragons, with Kanekoa connecting on five consecutive passes to move the team downfield.
It was not enough, however, as Himalaya’s fifth touchdown pass of the night with 1:21 left in the game and an interception by Keahi Ching sealed the deal for the Waveriders.