Aug. 25—Iosefa Letuli connected with Jeremiah White on touchdown passes of 20 and 57 yards in the first half as Kaimuki overwhelmed Waialua 36-20 on Thursday night at Skippa Diaz Stadium.
The Bulldogs improved to 1-1 in OIA Division II play (1-2 overall). Waialua dropped to 1-1 (1-2 overall). Letuli also rushed eight times for 25 yards on read-option plays up the middle, using his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame to grind out key first downs.
"It was a close game (early). Everyone was getting too excited, celebrating too early (after big plays). Everybody fixed that. We know we're better than that," Letuli said.
Letuli completed 10 of his 14 pass attempts for 183 yards without a pick.
"It's funny because Sefa is open to those kinds of things. He'll do anything for the team. We asked him about it and he said, 'Anything to get this team a win,'" Kaimuki coach Reid Yoshizawa said.
Gusts and rain peppered the field occasionally.
"We really trust our run game," White, a two-way player, said. "We trust our teammates, the guy next to us."
White hauled in five passes for 72 yards, while Ezekiel Kuiee-Matias turned a catch over the middle into a 90-yard TD in the second half. Kaimuki's defense came up with three interceptions to take command of the game in the second quarter.
"The biggest thing is a lot of them want to play defense. They play the offensive side because they're asked to. Defense is about pride and effort, attitude, reading your right keys," Yoshizawa said. "Lukela Hicks has been coming up big lately. (Kanoa) Nahinu is like a firecracker. He always wants to blitz, but I tell him, you've got to play some pass coverage. Love the kids. Great effort."
Waialua running back Makoakai Fiero had a gritty performance with 22 carries for 132 yards and a TD late in the game. Kaimuki, however, took control of the game at the line of scrimmage.
"They were killing us with that power play. We tried to play a little more tight. We had nothing to lose. We're the guys 0-2, go out there, keep punishing, play our game," Yoshizawa said.
Letuli, a senior, found White alone in the back of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown strike.
Waialua was able to run the ball at will in the first quarter, but was not able to sustain momentum. Running back Makoakai Fiero rushed for 57 yards on 10 carries before intermission, and Emery Abilla's 26-yard TD pass to Jayvie Arellano tied the game at 6-all with 4:38 left in the first quarter.
Letuli's 4-yard TD run on fourth down gave the Bulldogs the lead for good, 13-6, late in the opening quarter.
Kaimuki's long, deliberate scoring drives were crucial. Zechariah Kuratsu-Cook's 1-yard TD blast opened the lead to 20-6 with 56 seconds left before intermission.
After a diving interception by Hicks, Letuli found White for a quick sideline catch. The 6-foot, 170-pound senior shed the defensive back and raced 57 yards for his second TD and a 26-6 Kaimuki lead. White's PAT kick opened the lead to 26-6 with 20 seconds to go in the first half.
Kaimuki extended the lead to 36-6 and was never threatened in the second half.
At Skippa Diaz Stadium
Waialua (1-2, 1-1) 6 0 0 14 — 20
Kaimuki (1-2, 1-1) 13 13 7 3 — 36
KAI—Jeremiah White 20 pass from Iosepa Letuli (run railed)
WAI—Jayvie Arellano 26 pass from Emery Abilla (kick failed)
KAI—Letuli 4 run (White kick)
KAI—Zechariah Kuratsu-Cook 1 run (White kick)
KAI—White 57 pass from Letuli (pass failed)
KAI—Ezekiel Kuiee-Matias 90 pass from Letuli (White kick)
KAI—White FG 22
WAI—Rayden Wilson 14 run (Wilson run)
WAI—Makoakai Fiero 6 run (run failed)
RUSHING—Wai: Fiero 22-132, Abilla 1-(-9), Wilson 5-38, Kalani Oga 1-3, Jace Apau 2-6, Jack Amancio 2-16. Kai: Zechariah Kuratsu-Cook 11-58, Iosefa Letuli 8-25, White 2-15, Iosua Letuli 5-18, Lukela Hicks 6-24, team 3-(-16), Gabriel Logan 1-(-9), Kanoa Nahinu 1-3, Amugan Iehai 2-2,
PASSING—Wai: Abilla 3-10-2-44, Amancio 3-6-0-22. Kai: Iosefa Letuli 10-14-0-183.
RECEIVING—Wai: Apau 1-8, Dayton Gaboya 1-3, Arellano 2-36, Ricardo Brincker 1-7, Germaine Bagasol 1-12. Kai: White 5-72, Iosua Letuli 2-15, Kulee-Matias 2-88, Peter Paulolo 1-8.