LIHUE – Injuries hurt most teams, but they can be devastating to an undersized Kaua’i Red Raider roster.
The “disabled list” plagued the Raiders’ 2001 season and was equally destructive in their 14-7 preseason loss to Maui.
“I definitely think there would have been a different outcome if we had our starters out there,” said Kaua’i High head football coach Kelii Morgado.
With just 29 players on Kaua’i’s roster, how could he be wrong?
The injury to starting quarterback Kekoa Crowell was an obvious blow to the Red Raider offense. Crowell, a sophomore who led a successful campaign with the Raider jayvee team last season, strained a muscle in his leg during practice and sat out the game against Maui. Morgado said Crowell will be healthy and ready for the Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation opener against Waimea at Hanapepe Stadium September 13.
Also, injuries to Ikaika Valmoja and Weston Victorino, each trading time at the linebacker and running back positions for the Raiders, left gaps both on offense and defense in the loss to Maui.
All Red Raiders, including several linemen who sat out the preseason game, are currently healthy and prepared for opening day, said Morgado.
Do early injuries place uncertainty on the Red Raider 2002 season? Sure. But Morgado isn’t entirely disappointed they happened before the start of the regular season.
“I’m glad we were able to give some of our substitutes game experience before the season gets underway,” said Morgado. “If injuries are to happen this year, I need them to be ready.”
Morgado is spending the three weeks between the Maui game and the KIF opener fine-tuning the Raider offense and working on special teams.
Two costly special teams fumbles proved to be the difference in the loss to Maui. The Sabres capitalized on each fumble with 14 points, which proved to be the difference in the preseason bout.
Raider back-up quarterback Lei Maglinti completed 7 of 23 passes for 100 yards. The Raiders amassed just 19 yards on the ground.
The Raider defense fared well against Maui, causing five turnovers and recording six sacks.
Correction: In Saturday’s story, “Kamehameha loss sends Waimea back to practice field,” Tyson Fernandez scored the only Menehune touchdown rather than Travis Fernandez.
Kapa’a Warriors 2-0
Waimea Menehunes 1-1
Kaua’i Red Raiders 0-1
Kapa’a 26, Kekaulike 14
Waimea 25, Hilo 0
Maui 14, Kaua’i 7
Kamehameha 42, Waimea 7
Kapa’a 21, Honokaa 14
Kapa’a @ Kamehameha