Kaua’i defends championship

HANAPEPE — Football fans got their money’s worth, Friday night at Hanapepe Stadium.

With the KIF title on the line, Waimea’s Kenny Estes kicked three field goals, including a 50-yarder in the third quarter that is believed to be a KIF record, but the effort fell short as a muffed punt return by Menehune Alan-Michael Gaspar late in the second quarter kept the KIF title in Raiderland, 22-18.

Both teams exchanged numbers on the scoreboards on their first possessions as Estes drew first blood with a field goal to cap the Menehune’s kickoff drive.

Kaua’i answered back on the ensuing kickoff drive, working behind the running of Jonathan Rellin to pull the Raiders into the scorebooks following runs of 20-, and 17-yards. Frank Speetjens’ PAT boot gave Kaua’i the 7-3 edge that stood until early in the second quarter when the Menehune scored on a second effort after Estes’ 52-yard run down the rightside was called back on an inadvertent whistle.

The Menehune QB, Kalen Flemming took the ball in on a one-yard keeper with Estes’ PAT boot giving Waimea the 10-7 nod.

But, a critical Menehune error swung the tide, again as Kaua’i’s Lucky Andres recovered a muffed punt return with nine seconds in the half leading to a Tron Rule to Jett Jasper hit for the 14-10 bulge.

Waimea got a break after the buzzer when roughing-the-passer and offsides penalties against Kaua’i put the ball within field goal range for Estes’ boot on an untimed down for a 14-13 Kaua’i lead.

Estes broke the KIF field goal record with a 50-yarder late in the third for a 16-14 Waimea lead only to have Kaua’i answer in the final quarter as Pono Matthews took the ball in on a 1-yard charge.

The Raiders put the game out of reach on a 2-point PAT run by Brendan Young with 9:21 left.

Waimea added a safety, and the Raiders’ defense held the Menehune outside the goal for four downs to retain the KIF championship.

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