Menehunes set to defend KIF crown

Waimea – For some people, the gap between that about which they are

passionate and work parallels the Waimea Canyon: wide and deep.

Waimea Head

Football Coach Jon Koboyashi is not a a member of that category. He is a

specialized motivation teacher at the high school. The gap between the gridiron

and classroom is virtually nonexistent.

“Football has taught me a lot of

positive traits in my life,” said Koboyashi, who spent his prep years as a

Menehune. “Working with kids who don’t want to be in school takes a lot of

motivation on my part.

“I do my best to bridge the gap between my coaching

and teaching.”

Success has certainly been his. His Menehunes have taken

home the Kaui’i Interscholastic Federation championship the past eight years

running. Defense of the team’s 1999 conquest – it finished the season among the

top four schools in the state – begins tonight at Hanapepe Park at 7:35 p.m.

when Waimea battles Oahu’s Punahou.

“I’m excited for the season to kick

off,” Koboyashi said. “Punahou has a lot of great athletes and a great coaching

staff.

“With a little luck, we might be able to get by them.”

Koboyashi

said the visitors run the single wing, a very “old fashioned brand of

smash-mouth football.” The offense puts a lot of bodies at the point of attack.

Look, Koboyashi said, for an “offense that’s difficult to defend. You know

what’s coming, but it’s hard to stop it.”

It is a theory that differs

considerably from Waimea’s own, according to the coach.

“We’re, of course,

staying with old Waimea-style football. We’re going to run on you, and power

the ball.

“But when you think you’ve got us stopped, we’re going to pop a

play-acton pass and keep you on your toes.”

Which is something Waimea has

been doing to foes for two decades now. Koboyashi said the Menehunes’ have

enjoyed unparalleled success – the school has lost just three KIF contests in

eight years – because the prevailing attitude of players and coaches is blue

collar.

“We have had players and coaches who have been just willing to come

out here and bust their tales. Both kids and coaches are here in the summer.

“You see the kids in the weightroom, and seriously intent on making

themselves better.”

Punahou should provide a nice challenge for the

Menehunes. The visitors bring a full complement of players; 68 grace the roster

to just 33 for Waimea. Additionally, Punahou sports a junior, Dane Uperesa, who

weighs-in at 315 pounds, nearly 30 pounds heavier than the Menehunes’ scale

tipper, Fred Aki.

Aki, in fact, represents a bit of the atypical for the

Menehunes, Koboyashi said.

“We don’t normally have much size at all,” the

coach said. “We normally go with 150- or 170-pound boys on the line. So this is

kind of nice for us.”

Waimea will also have to contend with a bit of fame

that will strut the opponent’s sideline. Punahou Head Coach C. Kale Ane and

Offensive Coordinator Charles Ane, his father, each enjoyed stints in the

NFL.

Kale Ane played for the Kansas City Chiefs following his college

career and, as of 1998, was listed as a scout in the Cincinnati Bengals’ media

guide. The senior Ane suited up for the Detroit Lions in 1953.

“They’ve

(Punahou) got some knowledge on the sideline,” Koboyashi said. “There’s no

question about that.”

Kapa’a vs. Lahainaluna

The Warriors get their

season underway with a preseason contest at Vidinha Stadium at 2 p.m. Saturday

afternoon Look for results in the Sunday edition of The Garden

Island.

Kaua’i vs. Hawaii Prep

The Red Raiders tee off on the Big

Island Saturday evening.

The KIF regular season begins Sept. 8 when Kapa’a

meets Waimea at Vidinha Stadium at 7:35 p.m.

Sports Editor Jason

Gallic can be reached at 245-3681 ext. 251

The Skinny

n

Waimea vs. Punahou, 7:35 p.m., Hanapepe Park

n Kapa’a vs.

Lahainaluna, 2 p.m., Vidinha Stadium

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