Kaua‘i readies for gridiron opening

There was no aroma of perspiration and tired bodies, Saturday.

Instead, the aroma of huli huli chicken tugged at the olfactory senses of motorists traveling on Kuhio Highway, enhanced by the wafting white smoke rising above the trees.

For those who succumbed, the reward was one of the few chicken which were available for walk-ins at the sale hosted by the Kaua‘i High School football program in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Football players, coaches and parent volunteers turned out as early as 5 a.m. to prepare about 1,700 pieces of chicken for the sale coordinated through Miguel’s Flippin’ Ono Chicken.

Marc Miguel, the owner of the huli huli chicken specialty company, was a former coach for the Red Raider football program and worked alongside the school’s current coach, Dereck Borrero.

“We need the funds for new equipment as well as to replace equipment that’s falling apart,” said Ron Victorino, president of the Kaua‘i High School Football Boosters Club. “We’re lucky our two pre-season games are at home this year. Otherwise, we would have to worry about travel expenses as well.”

While the corps of volunteers and players toiled in the rapidly warming morning, others took time out to participate in the final games of the Kaua‘i Police Activities League flag football program at Vidinha Stadium.

Borrero said Kaua‘i High School had two teams in the K-PAL Enforcers division which restricts players to a pass-only format and restricted defensive moves to ensure the safety of the players.

The two Kaua‘i teams join three teams from Kapa‘a under coach Luther Yam in the age group covering players 17 and under.

Borrero said earlier in the summer, all three high schools gathered for a Nike Combine, described as an opportunity for top high school players who aspire to play on the next level to see where they stand with their peers and get unbiased testing numbers by respected professionals in the industry.

Some of the skills the high school players were tested in include the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, a 20-yard shuttle, and the power ball throw, an aspect which was just added by Nike for this year.

“This was a great program,” Borrero said. “We’re going to try and make it an annual event.”

Victorino said Kaua‘i’s first football game will take place Aug. 23 against Hilo at Vidinha Stadium. This will be followed by a week’s rest for the Kaua‘i Farm Bureau Fair where the football boosters will be hosting one of the food booths.

“The kids work. The parents work. It’s not just playing football,” Victorino said.

The Red Raiders close its pre-season schedule on Sept. 5 when it hosts Serrar High School, a team from California.

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