Carrying the rock for the Waianae Seariders offense is nothing new for running back Rico Rosario.
Neither is finding an opening between the tackles to escape into the open field.
This past Saturday at Aloha Stadium, the Seariders leaned on Rosario and the running game, despite Campbell’s best efforts to swarm the line of scrimmage. The Sabers crowded Rosario once he touched the ball - there seemed to be no way out.
But those are the moments Rosario lives for.
“Coming into the second half, I just knew that my team needed something and I just had to step up and play my role and do what we have to do to score,” Rosario said after Saturday’s 29-21 overtime win against Campbell in the OIA DI third place game.
With a little over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Waianae head coach Walter Young put the ball in Rosario’s hands. The pressure was on for the senior running back to make something out of nothing.
After looking like he would be stopped just at the line of scrimmage, Rosario emerged from a hoard of arm tackles to break into the open field on a 27-yard scamper for a touchdown.
The Waianae fans in attendance may have been shocked that Rosario made it out of the backfield on the play, but Rosario had no doubt he would score once he got the ball.
After all, Rosario isn’t short on confidence.
“I’m the best,” Rosario said when asked what was going through his head on the play. “And nobody can stop me. It’s just in me. All the fans cheering, just knowing that I’m capable of doing these kinds of things ... all glory to God, though.”
Rosario racked up 69 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries Saturday night, leading his team to victory and a chance to take on Kahuku in the semifinals of the state tournament.
But for Young, who acknowledged Rosario’s impressive showing, is more concerned about getting his star tailback healthy to take on the Red Raiders in less than a week.
“He’s a little banged up and he was able to dig deep and go for us, so I mean that was a great thing for us. Hopefully, he can heal up so we look forward to that,” Young said. “Everyone’s vital; they’re all important. [Rico's] special. He’s a special kid, don’t get me wrong. I think they’re all very vital to our team. If we didn’t come together as a whole team, this win wouldn’t have been possible.”
The Seariders won’t have much time to celebrate making the final four of the state tournament as they prepare for the now three-time reigning OIA DI champion Red Raiders this Friday at Aloha Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m.
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