Waimea faces a team with a bitter edge

Only the 49ers’ Jose Cortez, who missed a potential game-winning field goal in San Francisco’s 20-17 overtime loss to San Diego, can say he had a more frustrating weekend than the Kailua Surfriders.

But then again, Cortez doesn’t have to fly 80 people from Oahu to Kaua’i, and although he might lose his job, the kicker didn’t lose a championship that was his to win.

When Farrington ousted defending champion Kahuku and Mckinley upset Waianae in the OIA quarterfinals, Kailua saw its path to a league title turn to gold.

It was simple. Castle would find their way through Farrington, and Kailua would take it from the Knights in the OIA title game.

How quickly certainty can crumble.

Kailua fell 25-0 to the Knights. They could have opened the 2002 Chevron State Football quarterfinals at Aloha Stadium, in front of their fans and just a bus trip from the Kailua High School campus. Now they have to stand in line at the airport, purchase 80 round-trip tickets, ship thousands of pounds of helmets and pads to Lihue and hope the Waimea Menehune don’t stage that worn out “David and Goliath” story again.

Of course, the loss might have saved the Surfriders’ postseason.

Kailua is more irate than a feminist applying for membership at Augusta National. They’re not dejected, they’re angry. The thoughts that went through Surfrider coach Darren Johnson head last weekend wouldn’t be repeated in an Eminem album.

This anger can’t sit right with the Menehune.

The story of “man against machine,” of “small school versus big school” and of “the little engine that could” will no longer make headlines. On Friday, words like revenge, retribution and vindication will be used to preview a showdown the Surfriders lost 20-18 in 1999.

It’s not about how Kailua is no longer understimating Waimea. They don’t care about that anymore. They are coming to Vidinha Stadium to face their own demons. The demons that caused a number of turnovers in the OIA title game. The demons that held their offense to just over 60 total yards.

There’s little doubt this idea has crossed the mind of every member of the Menehune football program. They know Kailua is coming to Kaua’i on Friday with a bitter egde – a striving anger and an aura of desperate self-approval.

But in Waimea, these things really don’t matter. That’s not the Menehune style. Bring the attitude. Bring the hammer. Carry the grudge and let it fester.

The Menehune will just as quickly hand their opponent a tissue, turn to their fans and say with relaxed confidence, “No worry, we get em.”

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