Raiders take on Rams in first round

The undefeated Kaua‘i High School Red Raiders haven’t lost a state playoff game at Vidinha Stadium in three years and they’re not about to start now.

The 8-0 Red Raiders take on the 8-3 Radford High School Rams at 7:30 pm tonight at Vidinha and second-year Kaua‘i head coach Derek Borrero said he’s “very confident” that his players are prepared to play.

“We’re very confident because of the success our team has had all season. They’ve proven to me and they’ve proven to the coaches that they’re ready and they’ve got the discipline.”

The Raiders run a high-powered offense that averaged 34.2 points per game, while maintaining an attack-stopping defense which only allowed 8.3 ppg. Despite that and the fact that Radford is coming off of a loss to fourth-ranked Campbell High School, tonight’s game will not be a cakewalk.

“(In watching their film) what stood out for Radford was they had the will to win. Even though they lost their last game to Campbell, they never gave up,” Borrero said. “They will play you to the full four quarters. We cannot put our guard down against them. We cannot make too many mistakes.”

With the projected rainy weather conditions — which may invoke memories of the 2005 Kaua‘i/Waipahu mudfest — Borrero said both team are bound to make mistakes, but it will be the team that executes well and limits the amount of mistakes, will win the ball game.

He said he is also confident that his offense is prepared for whatever Radford’s defense may throw their way, but showed some concern with Rams quarterbacks Mosiah Manuma and Doug Brown. This season, Manuma and Brown threw for a combined 18 touchdowns.

Kaua‘i’s Trey Shimabukuro has thrown for 23 and at times didn’t even play the full game.

Radford’s go-to receivers are Shawn Putnam-Curry who finished the regular season with six touchdowns and 11.3 yards per carry, and Brad Osburne who finished with eight TDs and 11.1 yards per carry.

Kaua‘i’s answer to that is the KIF Offensive Player of the year in Sheldon Sakai. Sakai also has eight TDs on the season, but averages 16 yards per carry.

The Red Raiders will also be getting help from five players who were brought up from junior varsity. Anderson Baloran will act as the backup to Shimabukuro and former backup Trent Allianic will serve as the team’s main kicker.

Last year, Kaua‘i had only one league loss before losing to the eventual state champions of ‘Iolani.

As of now, they’re the only unbeaten team in the state — in either division.

“We’re excited to defend our win-loss record. We’re pumped to go 9-0,” he said. “I’m not downplaying Radford at all. We’re concerned about their size and strength and they’re a 10-game team and we play six games. They play against Division I schools, but we are very confident in this team.”

The winner of tonight’s game will travel to Maui to face No. 2 Lahainaluna next week at the War Memorial Stadium.

• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com

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