Kahuku claims ’98 OIA football championship

[Story by Mike Foley, photo by Barry Markowitz, originally published in Kaleo, November 19, 1998]

Kahuku’s D-men didn’t let pouring rain stop them from keeping
Waianae scoreless during the OIA title match at Aloha Stadium

Kahuku High School’s unstoppable, nationally-ranked varsity Red Raiders finished out a perfect 1998 12–0 football season during a downpour at Aloha Stadium Nov. 14th by thrashing Waianae by 20-0 to claim their rightful place as Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) champions for the fifth time since 1989.

A crowd of almost 30,000 braved the weather to watch Kahuku’s shut-out victory over the Waianae Seariders, giving the Red Raiders a 12-0 season re-cord and the bid to take on defending Prep Bowl champions St. Louis on Nov. 27th.

Before the game Coach Livai Siuaki told Oceanic Cablevision commentator Tiny Tedani he was worried about the rain “because Kahuku plays control ball.” Indeed, the steady rain turned field hash marks into extra-slippery hazards — bringing down runners on both sides without being tackled, made the ball hard to handle, raising a rash of fumbles — one of which Kahuku recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.

The sloppy field conditions also turned into a flood of fouls on both sides of the ball. At one point in the fourth quarter, for example, Waianae racked up three five-yard penalties in a row for illegal procedures. Both teams also had touchdowns called back because of disappointing penalties.

But Coach Livai needn’t have worried. And, ironically, all that water may also have added a slippery edge to the powerful performance of senior Kahuku running back Andreas “Dre” Manumaleuna, 5′ 7″ and 228 pounds, who broke seven tackles on one play and five on another before being brought down. He bulled his way through the Searider defense 17 times for a total of 125 yards, including Kahuku’s first TD, and was named Most Valuable Player of the game.

Other game highlights:

• On his first carry of the game, senior running back Talamoni Talamoni got off a 15-yard rush only to re-prang his thigh injured the week before against the previously unbeaten Kailua Surfriders. Kahuku won that match 48-14.

• During its second quarter drive, Kahuku gained four first downs in a row behind the yard-grabbing runs of Manumaleuna and Doug Nawahine, who had a total of 46 yards for the game on seven carries.

• With just under a min-ute left in the first half, Red Raider QB Wayne Fonoimoana threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to William Sao, bringing the score to 14-0. Following Kahuku’s kickoff, defensive back Hyrum Peters intercepted a Waianae pass and was making good progress toward another TD before being driven out of bounds to end the half.

• Kahuku is the only team to hold Waianae scoreless in the first half. In fact, they did it twice this season.

• Kahuku tried an on-side kick to open the second half, but had to be content to recapture a fumble, which set up 31-yard Fonoimoana to Sao pass.

• Junior defensive back Leonard Peters ran down a Waianae receiver in the third quarter to put the brakes on perhaps the Seariders most serious scoring threat of the game.

• Running back Kala Latuselu lost out on his 67-yard touchdown run when the ball was called back for illegal procedures by the Red Raiders.

• A Fonoimoana fumble near the goal line set up Kahuku’s last touchdown when junior back Orlando “Magic” Wong recovered in the end zone.

All in all, an incredible game. The rain could not diminish the spirit of the fans or the strength of the team…who are now hungry for their shot against St. Louis in the Prep Bowl, Saturday, Nov. 27th at Aloha Stadium. Is this the year?

[NOTE: Unfortunately, after a tremendous fourth-quarter effort, Kahuku lost the Prep Bowl state championship the  following week in the Aloha Stadium to St. Louis, 28-20 — the Crusaders’ 13th consecutive state title.]

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