WAIMEA – It’s safe to say spirits have risen in the Waimea Menehune locker room.
Question marks from their 42-7 preseason loss to Kamehameha have been answered – in some ways – by the Menehunes 30-24 win over the Kaua’i Red Raiders in the Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation opener.
“Our guys were down after that loss and they definitely felt better after last week,” said Waimea head coach Jon Kobayashi. “I think we are starting to come together.”
The Menehunes racked up 314 yards of offense. Running back Jordon Dizon ran for 229 yards and 4 touchdowns and quarterback Jon Palacio completed 5 of 11 passes for 113 yards. On defense, the Menehunes allowed 172 yards passing but recorded five interceptions and one fumble. They allowed little from the Red Raider rushing game, although Kaua’i quarterback Kekoa Crowell found the end-zone twice on breakaway runs in the third and fourth quarters.
“We had a good opportunity to play our younger guys in the second half, and the Raiders gained a lot of ground in those periods,” said Kobayashi. “So there is still a lot of room for improvement. There are still things we need to work on.”
If the Menehunes still feel down from its lingering loss to Kamehameha – which bumped them from fourth to ninth in the State in the Advertiser and HSN polls – they can look for further gratification tonight, when they face the Kapa’a Warriors at Vidinha Stadium (7 p.m. varsity, 5:30 p.m. jayvee).
After all, the Menehunes aren’t concerned with what might happen if they reach the HHSAA State championships. Their primary goal is to win the KIF.
“Our goal for the season is to achieve Ohana on the team and, of course, win the KIF,” Kobayashi said in an earlier interview.
Have the Menehunes achieved Ohana?
“We are definitely working as a group better and I think we are progressing in that direction,” he said.
Kobayashi will be looking forward to playing an offense similar to Waimea’s style in tonight’s game. He says that, like Waimea, Kapa’a plays a “smash-mouth” type of football.
“It’s all going to come down to whoever is better up front and more physical,” said Kobayashi. “Our goal is to just keep up with them and play our game.”