There’s no saving the best for last in the Kaua’i Interscholastic
Federation football season this year.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
When Vindinha Stadium comes alive Friday night at 7:30 p.m. to host the
KIF opener between Waimea and Kapa’a, even the seas may settle with
Despite the Warriors’ 0-6 league finish in 1999, the new
millennium’s first campaign brings a new coach and fresh attitude to Kapa’a’s
On the flipside, little has changed on Waimea’s side of the
ball. The Menehunes still want to run over foes like wild horses, and simply
outwork their opponents.
“I always told myself that things would get
better,” Waimea coach Jon Koboyashi said, “always thought that, after eight
years, my nerves and excitement would (subside).
“But it hasn’t. I haven’t
slept well for the last week.”
How could he? He and the Menehunes hit the
field with the intent of repeating as KIF champs for the ninth time in a row.
Koboyashi has won the title in each of his years at the Waimea helm.
a different story at Kapa’a, where the Warriors have experienced some tumult
over the past couple of years. In place now sits first-year head coach Gordon
Muramaru, pulled up from the the jayvee ranks where he guided the Warriors’
junior team to a 6-0 mark. Many players from Muramaru’s 1999 squad have
accompanied him to the varsity level.
“That crop they had on the jayvee
level last year,” Koboyashi said, “they beat up the Waimea jayvee pretty
Of course, the Menehunes have retained a sizeable portion of their
KIF championship team of last season. They won’t, however, benefit Friday night
from the services of senior-tailback Jessie Sablan. Noted as the best player on
the island by many, including Kaua’i High School coach Keli’i Morgado, Sablan
will sit out with an ankle injury, according to Koboyashi.
“He may be out
for the first round,” the coach said. A round would signify facing Kapa’a and
Kaua’i one time each. “We’re hoping that’s not the case, though.”
coach’s prediction, Sablan wouldn’t return to action until Waimea’s Sept. 29
match-up against Kapa’a.
Not that the Warriors will take Sablan’s absence
“We’re ready for play,” Muramaru said. “We’ve hit each other
enough. It’s time for us to play.”
Muramaru said his players’ focus is
good. That includes starting quarterback Dustin Mundon. Just a sophomore, the
5-9, 160 pounder, Muramaru said, is ready for his first varsity
“He’s got a good bloodline,” the coach said. “The Mundons are known
for their athletic ability, so he’ll be ready.”
As will the crew from
Koboyashi said he has been stressing “brain work” for the last
couple of days. The coaching staff has taken some of the edge off the practice
field and moved it into the classroom.
“We’ve been reviewing films and
going over our scouting reports,” Koboyashi said. “We’re looking for tendencies
and other advantages we can pick up.”
Through that scouting, Koboyashi said
he and his troops have picked up some valuable tips.
“We’re really going to
have to be wary of their No. 20 (Dahson Gonzales),” Koboyashi said. “He’s
probably as good or better than Jessie at the position.
“He’s got great
feat, and he’s just as big as Jessie.”
High praise for Gonzales, a junior
Of course, it is the Menehunes’ backfield again stirring the
biggest pot for 2000. Even without Sablan, Waimea brings newcomer Josh May to
the field. The 5-10, 200-pound back proved himself in the preseason, and,
Koboyashi said, should fill Sablan’s absence nicely.
“Our offensive line
has done a really nice job, too,” Koboyashi said. “I think our young men will
be up for the challenge (of playing without Sablan).
“We played Kona
And Waimea prevailed 23-0. That, a week after defeating
Punahou 20-13 at Hanapepe Stadium.
Kapa’a fell to Lahainaluna 20-7 in its
preseason opener, then went on the road to defeat Honoka’a 27-7 the following
“We’re looking for a full house,” Muramaru said. “It should be packed
at the stadium.
With both teams’ fans.
“We always get great support
from our fans,” Koboyashi said. “The Waimea contingent gets to our games. We
really appreciate that.”
It’s time for high school football again. The
nerves say so.