HANAPEPE – It’s hard to get rid of that championship feeling at Hanapepe Stadium, even after 11 years.
Running back Jordon Dizon rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Waimea Menehunes to a 20-7 win over the Kaua’i Red Raiders and an 11th consecutive Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation title Friday night in Hanapepe.
The Menehune gained a total of 225 yards of offense – 190 yards rushing – to capture the KIF title with their fifth league win and on their homecoming day.
But the Raider defense didn’t make it easy.
Dizon coughed up two fumbles in the opening minutes and the Menehunes were intercepted twice by a Raider defense which was resilient throughout. The Menehune also committed nine penalties for 71 yards.
The Raiders had a total of 169 yards – 34 yards rushing. Raider QB Kekoa Crowell completed 6 of 24 passes for 135 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception.
Kaua’i remained in contention until the waning moments of the fourth quarter, after a 36-yard Crowell completion to Ikaika Bernard put the Raiders on the goal line. But Waimea’s Austin Alquiza and Dizon each sacked Crowell for big losses and the Raiders missed the ensuing field goal to offset an otherwise productive drive.
On the Raiders’ final drive with just over one minute remaining, Waimea’s Austin Arthur came up with two pivotal sacks to jeopordize the Raiders’ chances of a comeback. Dizon ran in his second TD from 4-yards out to seal the victory for Waimea.
The Raiders capitalized on Dizon’s second fumble in the first quarter with a 6 play, 37-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard TD pass from Crowell to Garen Itamura.
The Menehunes would respond with an 87-yard drive capped by a 1-yard rushing TD by Dizon.
Waimea’s offense struggled the remainder of the half.
Austin Alquiza was picked off by Raider DB Levi Fajardo mid-second quarter, and although the Menehune defense would force Kaua’i to punt, they couldn’t gain any ground for the remainder of the half, and the score was deadlocked 7-7.
The Raiders suffered from the turnover bug in the second half. Mervin Pasion intercepted a Raider pass and Tyson Fernandez raced a fumble 42-yards for a touchdown to give the Menehunes a 14-7 lead.
The Raiders returned the favor in the fourth quarter with an interception by Kaupili Akau, which led to the 36-yard pass from Crowell to Bernard to put the Raiders on the one-yard line.
But the Menehune defense took charge with sacks by Dizon and Alquiza, and the ensuing missed field goal jeopordized the Raider’s chances at gaining ground on the deficit.
Arthur ended the Raiders hopes of a comeback with two sacks of his own, and Dizon ensured an 11th consecutive KIF title for Waimea with a 4-yard TD run with under one minute remaining in the fourth quarter.