LIHUE – The Waimea Menehune have already won the Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation title, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing at stake tonight when the Kaua’i Red Raiders host the Kapa’a Warriors at Vidinha Stadium (5 p.m. jayvee, 7:30 p.m. varsity).
The Raiders (2-3), who will host the Warriors (0-5) on their homecoming day, have proven to the league thus far they have been, and will be, contenders for the KIF championship. Although they have not yet beaten the Menehune, they were the only team to make the KIF champs sweat this year. Too many turnovers and a failure to stop the Menehune ground attack hindered the Raiders’ chances at an upset in 2002.
Regardless, the Raiders are responsible for the recent thinning of disparity in the KIF, which hasn’t seen a competitive season in years. And if they close out the year with a win over Kapa’a, they not only seal a .500 season, but some momentum heading into 2003, when they will again attempt to turn the tide in Kaua’i football.
For the Kapa’a Warriors, any win can be considered an upset.
Two preseason wins over off-island teams turned into five regular season losses, leaving question marks on a program revamped with a new coaching staff and few returning players.
Do the Warriors’ preseason successes and regular season woes reveal a heightened quality of football on Kaua’i? Probably. But alterations in game plans and player positioning from game-to-game during the regular season rendered the Warriors lost without an identity.
Tonight will be the last chance for Kapa’a to find one. If they can pull off a win, they will not only avoid a winless regular season, but will gag naysayers who haven’t agreed with the way the Warrior coaching staff has steered the program this season. If they lose or leave Lihue with the feeling they could have played better football, it will be a long bus trip back to Kapa’a.