Waipahu starts fast, finishes strong against Farrington to go back-to-back in OIA Division I

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED NOV 4, 2023

MILILANI — The Waipahu Marauders scored often early and blitzed the Farrington Governors late, bringing home the program’s second consecutive OIA Division I title Friday night at Mililani High School, 48-26. 

Waipahu got the party started early, needing less than two minutes for QB Elijah Mendoza to connect with Chazen Rodillas-Vesido for a 16-yard score, failing on the two-point conversion to jump ahead 6-0. 

Farrington answered right back, taking their lone lead all night at the 5:08 mark of the 1st quarter after MJ Moreno found Chansen Smith for a 16-yard TD pass of his own and the PAT made it 7-6 in favor of the Govs. 

Waipahu WR Jayden Chanel helped the Marauders answer immediately after, taking the first play from scrimmage into the end zone for a 59-yard TD reception to reclaim the lead, 12-8, with 4:37 left in the 1st quarter. Following a stop from the defense, Waipahu went back to the well for second time in the quarter and found Chanel again for the 13-yard TD reception to make it a two-score lead for the defending OIA Division I champions with nine ticks left in the opening frame. 

Farrington responded with a quick score of their own, driving the field 90 seconds for a 1-yard Jacob Talamoa rushing TD to make it 20-14 with 10:38 left in the 1st half. 

The loaded Waipahu offense worked fast for an answer as Mendoza connected with electrifying receiver Eric Stephens for a long gain, setting up the Marauders at the Farrington 1 before RB Faafetai Failauga battering-rammed his way into the end zone to regain the multi-score Waipahu advantage at the 7:54 mark of the 2nd quarter. 

Just when all momentum appeared to be in Waipahu’s favor, Farrington’s defense came up with an interception with four and a half minutes left in the 1st half. The Govs capitalized two snaps later as Talamoa found the edge for the 16-yard score, his 2nd of the night, to make it a seven-point game before halftime. 

Farrington made sure to keep that momentum before heading into the locker rooms, making a goal line stand to hold Waipahu without points on the final drive of the half. 

A back-and-forth defensive 3rd quarter saw each team fail to score as Waipahu ended the frame with a defensive stand of their own, stonewalling Farrington RB Sitani Mikaele before breaking the plane to take over at the Marauders’ 1 with just over a minute left in the third. 

The defending OIA D1 champion Marauders extended the lead to 14 a little over a minute into the final quarter of play as Failauga rumbled down for the 10-yard TD run. Farrington wouldn’t go quietly, as Mikaele would not be denied again on the next drive as he powered his way across the goal line for a four-yard TD rush to cut the deficit to one score once again with 9:27 left. 

That was when Waipahu turned on the jets and flexed the multitude of scoring weapons that the offense employs, sapping three minutes of game clock on a scoring drive capped by a 21-yard Tai Aipia-Barrett TD catch to regain the two-score advantage. 

The Marauders’ defense put the finishing touches on Waipahu’s OIA Division I title defense minutes later as a 57-yard house call from Elijah Nahoopii put a cherry on top of the 48-26 win. 

Farrington’s Moreno finished the night 16-for-24 passing for 209 yards, tossing a TD and INT in the loss for the Govs’, who will take on ILH D1 champion Damien in the first round of the HHSAA Division I state playoffs next week. Sitani Mikaele racked up 94 yards on the ground across 26 carries and his 17th rushing TD of the season for Farrington. 

Waipahu totaled 452 yards of total offense in the win as Mendoza ended the night 17-for-29 passing the ball for 334 yards and four TDs, tossing two picks in the Marauders’ title defense. Failauga had 112 yards on the ground and two rushing TDs to lead the ground attack while Chanel had a big night, hauling in four catches for 123 yards and two more TD catches. The Marauders will get a 1st-round bye in the HHSAA Division I state playoffs and will host the winner of Damien-Farrington on Saturday, November 18 for a spot in the state championship game. 

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