Saturday Night Doubleheader at War Memorial Stadium
By Rodney S. Yap
Three Maui Interscholastic League football teams will be in action today, including two involved in a doubleheader at War Memorial Stadium.
Last year’s state Division II runner-up Lahainaluna High School will make its season debut against Kapaa in a 4:30 p.m. kickoff. A junior varsity game between the two schools will also be held at War Memorial Stadium, beginning at noon.
Following the Lahainaluna-Kapaa game will be Maui High against Konawaena at 7 p.m. The Sabers are 1-0, while the Wildcats will be making their 2013 debut after posting a 12-win season (12-2) last year.
ESPN 550AM radio will broadcast both games live. The voice of the MIL, Barry Helle, will call the play-by-play.
Meanwhile, King Kekaulike makes its debut today on the Big Island in a controlled scrimmage starting at 1:30 p.m. at Kamehameha Hawaii.
First-year head coach Kyle Sanches has been battling low numbers at the Upcountry school. The team was prepared to cancel its trip — as a result of the combination of low numbers and academic casualties — and lose its $1,200 deposit with Hawaiian Airlines.
Fortunately for King Kekaulike, Kamehameha Hawaii agreed to switch the preseason game to a controlled scrimmage. Sanches said 32 players were expected to make the trip today as the team plans to fly in, play, and fly out, returning to Maui tonight at about 10:30 p.m.
Lahainaluna vs. Kapaa
The Lunas are ranked No. 10 in one preseason football poll after a 9-2 season in 2012 that included a 7-1 league record and six shutouts. Considered by many to be the second best small-school team in the state, Lahainaluna proved as much by pushing perennial Div. II state champion Iolani to the brink before succumbing 36-33.
Lahainaluna’s top returnees are Hercules Mata’afa, Kiko Kohler-Fonohema, Sione Filikitonga, Connor Mowat, Jared Rocha-Isalas, Bronson Kaina, Jeffery Ancog and Scott-Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa.
Last week, Washington State became the fifth Division I college to offer defensive end Mata’afa (6-foot-3, 215 lbs.) a scholarship. The other schools are Oregon State, San Diego State, UNLV, and New Mexico State.
The Warriors of Kapaa are coming off a 56-12 rout of Nanakuli on the Garden Isle last week.
Head coach Kellii Morgado is 22-20-1 overall since taking over in 2008. Morgado, who is fond of the spread formation on offense, is 9-2 against non-league foes. Nanakuli was Kapaa’s sixth straight preseason win dating back to 2009.
Kapaa was on the Valley Isle a year ago, concluding a home-and-home series at Kamehameha Maui where the Kauai school won 27-13.
Maui High vs. Konawaena
The Wildcats defeated the Sabers 38-17 at Yates Field last year, rolling up 102 yards rushing and 294 yards passing. However, quarterback Kahoalii Karratti, who threw four touchdowns against the Sabers and ran for another, transferred to Kaiser High School over the summer.
Konawaena’s top rushers are junior Koa Basque and senior Dishon Cho. The team’s top returning receivers are senior Chase Takaki and junior Kevin Medeiros. Senior Evyn Yamaguchi is one of the team’s top returning linebackers.
The Sabers are led by seniors Mario Fernandez, Andre Pierman, Jared Kapisi and Brysen Kokubun. Junior Tyson Takabayashi quarterbacks the offense, while junior linebackers Moana Vainikolo and Lucas Ibanez help solidify the defense.
Maui High crushed Saint Francis 51-0 last week in the season opener for both teams.