KAPA’A – Every crack, cleave, nook, and cranny.
Kapa’a Head Football Coach Wes Kaui has been down this path several times and has seen all of its obstacles: the stumps, the stones, the trees along the way. In his 20 years as coach – 11 of them of football – Kaui can almost say he’s seen it all.
But this year, in his first season as skipper of the Kapa’a Warrior squad, Kaui’s path has been paved, wiped clean, and entirely recast.
Twenty-seven seniors have graduated, only 10 varsity Warriors have returned. His players are new. His coaching staff is new. He is new, and Kapa’a’s administrators are new to him.
For a program that went 2-4 (regular season) in 2001, Kaui isn’t worried about the small pebbles that line Kapa’a’s path to success. With the way things have been going since summer camp began in April, he says success has already been reached despite the future’s otherwise unfamiliar terrain.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but I feel the season has already been a success,” said Kaui, whose resume includes Pop Warner and the semi-pro Kaua’i Cowboys. “I know we’re in a tough position – many seniors graduated and our coaching staff is new – but the kids are extremely positive and the administration has been entirely supportive. That’s the way I want this program to be.”
Kaui says the parents of his players have done a great job in raising their young adults. They are poised to play, responsible, and they work hard, he maintains. And he hopes this attitude will spill into Vidinha Stadium on Friday, when the Kapa’a Warriors host Maui’s King Kekaulike at 7:30 p.m.
“We need to minimize mistakes on Friday,” said Kaui, who noted the team committed 14 fumbles in its annual Green and White game. “If we can play mistake-free football, we’re on our way.”
Kaui will hand the reigns to three-year varsity veteran and quarterback Dustin Mundon. The captain of the 2002 Warrior team, Mundon will be depended upon to run Kapa’a’s offense, which will employ an I-formation similar to what has been used in prior years.
On defense, senior linebacker Andrew Baltazar will be a focal point. He will lead the Warriors against King Kekaulike’s double-slot offense on Friday.
Kaui learned the Maui team has improved since last year, which he admits is a bit disheartening since Kapa’a lost to the team in preseason 2001.
But the Warrior’s new head coach won’t let his team get down at any point in 2002.
“We will lose together, we will win together,” Kaui said. “It’s really all about attitude. As long as we stay positive, winning will take care of itself.”