Some people may need some reminding that tonight’s game is about football and the players on the field, and not about the coaches. But that’s not to say attention won’t be paid to it.
Tonight, powerhouse Kaua‘i High School visits Kapa‘a High School in a game that puts head coach Derek Borrero against his former colleague Keli‘i Morgado. Borrero, who was a long-time member of Morgado’s coaching staff at junior varsity, took over the successful program at Kaua‘i after Morgado’s contract was not renewed by the school.
Much controversy played out in the community — Morgado sued the school and some players even threatened to quit playing. Drama continued through to the beginning of last season when Borrero’s squad lost its opening game to Waimea.
For the most part, it died down and Borrero delivered another Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation title for the Red Raiders and another state championship berth.
Much of it returned, however, after Morgado, who still teaches history at Kaua‘i, applied for and got the open coaching position at Kapa‘a. Morgado brought with him a few members of his former coaching staff from Kaua‘i and added some of his alumni.
Tonight’s game will be the first of three meetings betwween the two this season. Kapa‘a lost its opener to Waimea High School. Kaua‘i won theirs.
The Warriors totaled only 39 yards of offense against the Menehune. The Raiders had 248.
“Definitely people are thinking about this game. It’s the most anticipated game since the decision to hire coach Morgado at Kapa‘a,” said Borrero. “For us at Kaua‘i High, we are treating this game and are preparing this game like we prepare for every game. We’re trying not to be distracted.”
Under the coaching of Morgado, Kaua‘i won four consecutive KIF titles and was ranked No. 1 in Division II. The Red Raiders shared history with King Kekaulike of Maui by being the first Neighbor Island schools to play in a state championship.
Now he is trying to rebuild a program which has had a losing record for last the 17 years.
Borrero himself is trying to make his mark at Kaua‘i and will try to lead his squad back to a championship game at Aloha Stadium.
“People will make whatever drama they make out of (the situation),” Morgado said. “I’m trying to coach the young men of Kapa‘a to be successful. There’s been enough drama stirred up by administration, parents and the public. I don’t want to contribute to any more drama.”
If anything, Morgado has been making strides with the program. This is Kapa‘a’s third coach in as many years and the players are more disciplined now than they ever were before.
Morgado said he’s received compliments from teachers and colleagues saying the players have become better students.
And despite what the Warriors have recorded on paper in stats, they seem to be picking up on Morgado’s run-and-shoot offense.
His and Borrero’s version of it will be displayed tonight. Kapa‘a’s Ekolu Yam will be at the helm for the Warriors. Trey Shimabukuro is the go-to man for Kaua‘i.
“This game and season should be about high school football or the young men in green and red,” Morgado said.
JV 5 p.m.,
Varsity 7:30 p.m.
Kapa‘a Stadium Complex
• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or firstname.lastname@example.org