HANAPEPE — They were so close.
The Warriors’ football team was just a yard away from getting to within a point of Waimea midway through the fourth quarter at the Hanapepe Ball Field on Friday night.
Trailing 13-6 midway through the final period, the Kapa‘a offense used the running of Frank Rivera and Devin Machado to drive to the 1-yard line of the Menehunes.
But on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Kapa‘a quarterback Kalima Leong fumbled and the Menehunes’ Chris Baltazar recovered to stymie the rally.
Waimea then drove the ball 99 yards thanks in large part to the running of Austin Arthur and Po‘okela Chang-Wo for an insurance touchdown with 1:30 left to outlast the Warriors 21-6.
The Menehunes won their opening KIF game of the season without the services of star running back Jordon Dizon who only played one series after suffering an apparent left-ankle injury in the first quarter.
Dizon received ice treatments throughout the first half but was never able to get back into the contest.
Waimea and the Warriors played a tight, defensive battle in the opening 24 minutes of action.
The Menehunes struck first on their opening possession in which the club drove 71 yards on nine plays. Arthur rumbled in from nine yards out to culminate the march which gave the Warriors a 7-0 edge.
The Warriors did little offensively in the first half until the 3:51 mark of the second quarter.
Leong scrambled to his right before launching a pass into the wide open arms of Kaylan Dolor who scampered 78 yards for a touchdown to bring the Warriors to within a point at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Menehunes extended their margin to seven points after Chang Wo scored from 15 yards out to give Waimea a 13-6 edge.
The Menehunes started the drive from the Warriors’ 15-yard line after a short punt from Kapa‘a.
The Warriors’ offense was held in check for the for most of the second half until their late drive in the final period.
For the game, Arthur rushed for 107 yards on 20 carries while Chang-Wo provided a huge spark for the Menehunes with 100 yards on 11 carries including a 50-yard run on Waimea’s 99-yard scoring march in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors totaled 128 yards on 39 carries with Machado accounting for 65 yards on the ground. The Menehunes travel to Vidinha Stadium on Friday to play the Red Raiders beginning at 5 p.m. with the JV battle.