Invictus: Waipahu football pulls off comeback in 23-22 thriller over Pearl City, crowned OIA DII Champions

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A year ago, Waipahu head coach Bryson Carvalho and the rest of his Marauders football team came within one point of the OIA Division II title. Tonight, that loss was reconciled with a victory.

The final score? A 23-22 victory over Pearl City -- a one point victory.

"Amazing," Carvalho said after the game, at a loss for words. "Amazing. I mean, we came up a point short last year. Hearts out to Pearl City, I know exactly how they feel."

Waipahu (10-0) trailed 15-0 at one point, unable to get its offense going despite running the ball 23 times.

Pearl City (7-3) gained the lead early on with a bizarre fourth down conversion, where the team tried to kick a field goal which ended up being blocked, but then Zion Tupuola-Fetui picked up the loose ball and rushed for a first down.

From there Pearl City was able to find the end zone on a goal line surge from quarterback Isaiah Asinsin.

Another Asinsin scramble went 42 yards for a score, putting Pearly City in the driver's seat.

Down by two touchdowns, Carvalho put the ball in quarterback Braden Amorozo's hands, and he didn't disappoint.

"One of my expectations of Braden before the season started was you gotta be a quarterback who wants the ball and you gotta be able to do good things with it. And he did tonight, man. I put (the ball) in his hands and he threw that rock all over the field today."

Amorozo finished the game with 277 passing yards on 25-of-46 attempts, two touchdowns and two interceptions. While he did get picked off twice by Pearl City's defense, including a pick-six by Tupuola-Fetui, Amorozo shined brightest under the spotlight, particularly in the red zone.

Throwing two picture-perfect fades to receiver Isaac Yamashita, who skied above his defender on both occasions, Amorozo brought the Marauders back into game in the second half to keep their league title dreams alive.

A late rushing touchdown from the goal line by Alfred Failauga put the Marauders ahead with just two minutes remaining in the fourth, to the surprise of everyone in attendance.

"Of course you don't want it as close as that, but I'll take it man. That was just amazing. Super proud of the community, the kids; they work so hard. It's all worth it."

Now that Carvalho and Waipahu can move on from last season's bitter end with a big win over a rival, the team will direct its attention to next Friday's showdown against three-time Big Island Interscholastic Federation DII champion, Konawaena,in the first round of the state tournament.

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