Waimea survives Kaua‘i

LIHU‘E — The Waimea Menehune offense did its part, but with Kaua‘i heating up in the fourth quarter it was time for the defense to finish the game.

The Menehune defense stopped the Kaua‘i Red Raiders on a fourth down attempt in the redzone to clinch a 14-7 win over the Red Raiders Saturday afternoon at Vidinha Stadium.

The Menehune jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the second quarter after quarterback Alika Emayo hit Keoni Ana for a 14 yard touchdown pass on fourth down. Emayo ran successfully for the two-point conversion.

Waimea scored again in the third quarter with a 5-yard touchdown run from Dennis Rull. A failed two-point conversion left the score at 14-0.

After struggling in the first half, the Red Raider offense finally came alive with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. Red Raider quarterback Trey Aguano, who had only completed 4 of 16 passes at the time, led the Raiders on a three play, 49-yard touchdown drive with two minutes left to play. Agauno capped the play with a 16-yard pass to Mason Manera to pull the Raiders within seven points.

The Red Raiders failed to recover an onside kick attempt after the score, but managed to force the Menehune to punt after Waimea elected to throw the ball twice on their final drive — stopping the clock — instead of running.

The Menehune punted and the Raiders took over on the Waimea 49 yard line with 1:39 to play in the game and one time-out left.

Aguano took the first play out of bounds to stop the clock after a 5-yard scramble, then followed with a 30-yard completion to Triston Bukoski to bring the Raiders into the Redzone.

But just as the Raiders were getting hot, the Menehune defense flexed. The Menhune pushed the Raiders to fourth down, and swatted a last ditch Aguano pass in the end zone away to force the turnover. The Menehune then downed the ball and ran out the clock for the win.

Despite the win, Waimea head coach Keali‘i Aguiar declined to comment after the game.

Emayo finished the game for the Menehune with 55 yards passing on 5-10 completions. He had one interception. Backup quarterback Niko Delos Reyes, who came in to play for Emayo after an undisclosed injury, threw for 36 yards and two interceptions.

For the Red Raiders, Aguano finished with 109 passing yards — the majority of those in the fourth quarter — on 9-25 completions. He had one interception on the game.

As successful as the Red Raider offense was in the final quarter, it was its ineffectiveness in the first three quarters that hindered the team.

“If we wait to get things going in the fourth quarter you’re not going to win,” Kaua‘i head coach Corey Aguano said. “We came out too flat. You come out flat and you’re playing catch up.”

The Raiders didn’t help themselves with penalties. The Red Raiders were flagged  12 times for 112 yards. The Menehune only had 40 yards of penalties.

“They plagued us the whole game,” Coach Aguano said. “We move the ball and get a penalty. Penalty, penalty, penalty.”

The Red Raiders were also on the short end of a controversial call in the fourth quarter. On Kaua‘i’s possession before its first score of the game, the Red Raider offense found themselves in a fourth down situation. On fourth and about four, Trey Aguano scrambled toward the sidelines. It appeared Aguano entered the sidelines well ahead of the first down marker, but when the referees spotted the ball, they marked him about a yard short, giving the ball to Waimea.

“I thought he got it easily,”  Coach Aguano said. “The refs are out here working hard and they make the calls. But that baffled me. I don’t know what to say about that.”

The win gives Waimea a 2-1 record in KIF play. The Menehune will face the Kapa‘a Warriors on Saturday in Hanapepe. The loss drops the Red Raiders to 0-2 in KIF play. The Raiders have only completed two official games, with last week’s match against Kapa‘a being suspended in the fourth quarter due to darkness.

In JV action, the Menehune beat the Raiders 18-14.

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