Sunday, November 27, 2022
By: Nick O’Connor
In front of a sea of blue, at John Kauinana Stadium in Mililani, Waimea defeated King Kekaulike 45-6 to claim the first Division II Championship title in school history.
One may have thought that the Menehune fans only had to travel from Waimea on the north shore of Oahu, not an outer island. That is how much their presence was felt.
“They are always there to support us, keep us hyped, keep the noise going, and always there for us,” said Kameron Apilado about the fan support.
Perhaps having that home crowd atmosphere helped Apilado find a zone. As Apilado was the leading rusher for the Menehune and finished the game with 11 carries, 228 yards, and two touchdowns.
Waimea brought the championship trophy back home in a unique fashion. All of their offensive production came via the rush as they tallied up 443 yards of total offense.
The fans of the Menehune had plenty to cheer about starting from the opening drive and Waimea opened up with a 10-play drive that resulted in a field goal off the leg of Haweo Akeo with 4:17 in the first quarter.
The defense was able to put the first touchdown on the scoreboard on the very next drive from the Na Alii Mykah Brun was able to pick up a loose fumble and take it to the house. That quickly brought the score to 10-0 in favor of the Menehune.
“That kinda took the pressure off of our offense and had our defense play a little looser and faster,” said Waimea’s head coach Kyle Linoz as he referred to the 1 quarter defensive touchdown.
Maui’s King Kekaulike found their lone score during a long drive that featured a 15-play drive and multiple fourth down conversions. Ahe Sumicay found Kalelepono Wong in the back of the endzone as he scramble around the backfield and flung the ball across the field for a 31-yard touchdown pass. After a missed PAT the score was 10-6 in the second quarter.
The Menehue would go on to score 35 unanswered points as their whole team win with defense and the run game prevailed.
Two of the five touchdown runs came courtesy of senior Aukai Emayo as he finished the game with 15 touches and 83 yards. Another touchdown was added on by Kaili Arakaki as he finished the game with 8 carries and 53 yards.
Waimea’s defense held the Na Alii to 189 yards of total offense. Kaizen Castillo led the defense with 9 total tackles. Zephan Niheu-Kamaka and Johnny Pimental were each able to force fumbles for the Menehune defense.
Photos by: Lori McKeown
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