Aiea vs. Moanalua – Game Recap


Ruben Chavez, Staff Writer

      Last Friday’s matchup between Aiea and Moanalua was one for the ages. With fans finally in the stands and both teams’ first OIA game in almost two years this was bound to be a highly anticipated contest. 

      The game kicked off at 7 pm under the lights. Shortly into the first quarter, Moanalua would throw a costly interception while attempting a trick play, resulting in a pick-six for Aiea. While down 7-0 early on in the first quarter, it didn’t take long for Moanalua to bounce back, driving down the field and finishing with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jayce Bareng to tie the game 7-7. Shortly afterwards, after another stop by the Menehune defense, Aiea had their punt blocked in the end zone resulting in a two-point safety for Moanalua giving them the lead 9-7. 

      Early into the second quarter, Moanalua topped off another touchdown drive with a screen pass to running back Kindred Park that was taken 18 yards to the house, extending Moanalua’s lead to 16-7. Towards the end of the first half, Aiea drove the ball and after some large Moanalua penalties they were able score another touchdown, closing in on the lead 16-14. After an unsuccessful Moanalua drive, Aiea had the ball with under two minutes and looked to score quickly before the half ended to take the lead. However, a big defensive play by Moanalua resulted in a fumble return by defensive end Ethan Salvani for a touchdown to push the lead to 22-14 at the half as Moanalua would fail the 2 point conversion due to a penalty. Halftime struck and fans were still left plenty entertained with an outstanding halftime performance by the Moanalua marching band. 

      Coming out of the half, Moanalua would once toss away another crucial interception that would be returned for a touchdown. This tied the game as Aiea would successfully convert the 2 point conversion making the score 22-22. There was quite the unexpected and simply absurd sequence of events in this second half as not only was there a play where the ball had bounced off the referee and was intercepted by an Aiea player, but on that same play the player who had intercepted the ball was chased down and he fumbled at the one yard line. The ball went out the back of the endzone and by rule it was a touchback and Moanalua would remain in possession which took a lot of explaining for the players and coaches of both teams to understand. 

There was also a play where a player was seen to have “fair caught” a punt, which by rule if he catches the ball the play is blown dead immediately. However, after catching the ball the player continued running and was able to return the ball all the way into the red zone. No penalty or re-spot was done by the referees and Aiea was given the ball at the spot where the player had been tackled, not where he had initially fair caught the ball. 

Regardless, Aiea was able to drive the ball and come away with a field goal early into the 4th quarter, giving them a 25-22 lead. After some unsuccessful drives by both teams, Aiea had the ball with under 5 minutes to go and looked to drain the clock. On third down Aiea attempted a pass which was then intercepted, giving Moanalua one last opportunity to score.

 After receiving this final chance, Moanalua was able to capitalize, throwing a touchdown pass to Keenan McCaddy in the back of the endzone to take the lead 28-25. Sadly, Moanalua was unable to convert the extra point, meaning that the game could be tied by just an Aiea field goal. With the ball in their hands and under 2 minutes to go, Aiea slowly drove the ball. Facing a 4th down with less than 50 seconds and a little over 25 yards from the endzone, Aiea decided to go for the big play and dialed up a pass to the end zone. The pass was overthrown and Aiea turned the ball over on downs, giving the ball to Moanalua and ending the game. Moanalua wins 28-25.  

It was an exciting, heart-pounding, magical night for not only the players and coaches, but also for all of those who could enjoy from the stands for the first time in years.