Future Bright for Kapa’a

QB Mundon, coaching staff are reasons why

The lasting image is of

quarterback Dustin Mundon, steady eyes pointed at his own sideline as he headed

toward the Kapa’a coaching staff.

The Warriors’ signal-caller had just

tossed a pin-pointed fade into the outstretched arms of senior Kalani Miyashiro

to record the first points of the KIF season against Waimea.

But most

striking was Mundon’s gait and those eyes. There was no exaltation from the

sophomore; no touchdown dance or taunting. Rather, there was a simple aura of

confidence and assurance. Mundon’s certainty that he will visit the end zone at

the Menehunes’ expense another time or two in the years to come was quite

clear.

True, Waimea won Friday night’s game 20-7, upping its overall record

to 7-0, and its KIF mark to 5-0 while sealing its ninth consecutive league

crown. But the Warriors, led by Mundon, showed no fear, showed that football on

Kaua’i could be quite interesting in the next year or two.

The fact is,

though Waimea will again be loaded with talent in 2001, Kapa’a, assuming all of

its players are healthy and eligible, will be a true threat. Mundon will be a

refined junior with three games against Waimea under his belt. Tailback Dahson

Gonzales, who led the Warriors with 61 yards on 18 carries Friday night, should

be a strong, focused senior. And many of the Kapa’a linemen also are scheduled

to return.

What the Warriors lose, however, will not be easy to replace.

Miyashiro’s departure will register as the most decisive casualty. The

co-captain has been an all-around asset for Kapa’a and head coach Gordon

Muramaru. Friday he caught seven balls for 57 yards and ran for 24 more. The

biggest hole he stands to leave, however, is on defense, where the linebacker

has been chewing up opponents all season.

But there’s something special

about Mundon, who has amassed 304 yards on 34 completions this year.

Some

level of poise and unflappability that obviously instills confidence in players

and coaches, and gives fans the sense that, though the boy can’t drive, he can

lead a football team. When he mishandles the center snap, and watches another

loose ball turn into a turnover, nobody yells, and his confidence certainly

does not waver. Rather, he just paces back to the sideline, gets some

instruction and awaits another crack at the defense.

At the beginning of

the season, Muramaru told me the Mundon name is one rich in athletic history on

this island, that “Dustin hails from a good bloodline and will be fine.” The

more you watch him, the more you understand.

Kapa’a’s first game against

Waimea, a 37-0 loss on September 8, looked like a mismatch, and made it seem as

though the rest of the KIF schedule might just as well be trashed. But the

Warriors jelled, and on September 29, they pushed Waimea, despite falling 14-0

in the end. Friday night, the better team was not clear cut. The Warriors

penetrated the Menehunes’ defense, showed that an effective passing team can

experience success against a unit that has yielded just 20 points all season.

And, more importantly, that it can happen right here in the KIF.

Many of

the Warriors did raise a well-deserved ruckus after the Friday night touchdown.

There was cheering and towel waving, moonwalking and butt-slapping. The joy was

evident, and despite losing its scoreless streak, may even have served the

Menehunes well. It fired them up, and surely will plant a seed of recharge as

Waimea begins thinking about the state playoffs scheduled for mid-November.

And so perhaps Kapa’a’s touchdown was good for the island, for what it may

do for the team from the west side, and what it certainly will do for the team

from the northeast.

There will be more of them for Mundon and company next

season. Though you’ll never know by looking at him.

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