There’s a first time for everything and the Lihu’e Patriots pee wee Pop Warner football team experienced something that’s never been done before in Hawai’i, by winning a Pop Warner national title.
“We continued to work hard through-out the season. They were the ones (players) that brought us here. The key word yesterday was execution. We were lucky to win that first game,” head coach Mario Longboy said.
Taren Tani, who led the way for Lihu’e on the offensive end, mentioned that the feeling is like nothing else he’s felt before.
“It hasn’t sunken in just yet, but it’s awesome. It felt really good. I wasn’t really that nervous, I was more excited than nervous. I felt good because we won a national title,” Tani said.
Tani scored twice in the national championship game, once on a quarterback sneak and another on a halfback option.
Lihu’e made another statement that defense really makes the difference. The Patriots allowed just six points on their way to the title.
Top defender Travis Koga noted that practicing hard was a big key for the team.
“It feels good. We practiced really hard. I want to thank my blockers and all the fans and parents,” Koga said.
So what’s next for Lihu’e?
“We’re going to Disney World,” Koga said.
The Patriots arrive home from Orlando on Sunday at 6:45 p.m. at Lihu’e Airport via Hawaiian Airlines.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or firstname.lastname@example.org