The KIF Cometh

Tough preseason schedule likely to boost Menehunes

Tonight

n

Waimea at Konawaena, 7:35 p.m.

By JASON GALLIC

TGI Sports

Editor

Should Waimea High School pass through the KIF as champions, as it

has done for the past eight years running, what it gained this preseason will

prove invaluable.

In two weeks, the Menehunes will have battled “two of the

top 10 schools in the state,” according to Head Coach Jon

Koboyashi.

Tonight at 7:30, Waimea visits the Big Island’s Konawaena,

two-time defending champions of the BIIF. Last week, the Menehunes held off

Honolulu’s Punahou, members of the city’s private-school league. Konawaena fell

to Maui High School, ranked No. 9 in the state, Aug. 25.

“We’ve just kind

of gotten the luck of the draw,” Koboyashi said. “Schedules are made two to

three years in advance, so it’s just good fortune that both of these schools

faring so well.”

True, only in part. Waimea’s preseason foes have been good

for some time. Surely, Koboyashi wanted to challenge his team.

“We have

some injuries this week, so if we can get through the Kona team,” the coach

said, “we’ll have to feel pretty good about ourselves.”

Most glaring on the

injury list is starting tailback Jessie Sablan. He suffered an ankle injury

midway through the win over Punahou, and will sit out of this week’s

contest.

Asked if his starter was sitting because he was unable to play or

for safety reasons, Koboyashi replied, “it’s a safety thing.”

That word,

safety, is threatening to become a theme this week for Waimea. Highest on the

list of concerns for Koboyashi was last week’s performance in the defensive

backfield.

“Punahou was really able to exploit us back there,” the coach

said. “We have to figure that at this rate, our opponents are going to try and

throw on us.”

The Menehunes hope to shore up the defense and implement a

bit of a passing game on offense.

“We want to be able to go to the air,”

Koboyashi said. “That’ll open up our ground game.”

Last week, Menehunes

quarterback Nikko Naumu attempted just two passes, completing

neither.

Kapa’a at Honoka’a

Photos by Dennis Fujimoto,

Staff

Waimea backfield gem, Joshua May, carries the ball last week in the

Menehunes’ 20-13 victory over visiting Punahou. Waimea faces Konawaena on the

Big Island Friday night. Kapa’a junior Tyler Wakuta (below) carries the ball in

the Warriors’ loss last Saturday.

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