HANAPEPE — Triston “Pono” Bukoski plucked a Waimea airball and ran it back 24 yards with six seconds in the game to ice a 33-25 Kaua‘i High School Junior Varsity victory, Saturday, at Hanapepe Stadium.
Bukoski, a 135-pound sophomore, earlier snagged a Kelson Andrade pass for 23 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, the Red Raiders’ second TD in its 14-6 lead after one quarter.
Andrade, at 5 feet, 5 inches, fluttered the airway, tossing for three touchdowns as well as fueling drives on aerial hits. The Bukoski touchdown came at the 3:08 mark, driven on an Andrade to Kanoa Iwasaki connection landing the ball on the Waimea 23-yard stripe.
Kanoa Iwasaki was Andrade’s favored target, the Red Raiders opening its first series on an Andrade-Kanoa Iwasaki hit for nine yards and a touchdown at the 7:43 mark, Alec King-Martin gracing the score with the point-after kick.
This was promptly answered by the Menehune whose first possession also resulted in a touchdown when Destin Miguel broke open for a 39-yard romp to the end zone.
“The (JV) boys are hungry,” said Lois Keamoai, the Waimea scholastics coordinator. “The varsity played two (pre-season) games already and the JV boys have yet to take the field.”
Kaua‘i JV had its pre-season against King Kekaulike, a game they had little problems winning.
Miguel, the 5’6” Menehune sophomore, continued the ground fireworks through the first half, finding the end zone a second time in the second quarter for a 30-yard score with just 33 seconds in the half.
This was a critical score for the JV Menehune, and after Brock Tacata graced the score with the PAT boot, Waimea took a 19-14 lead at the intermission.
But Kaua‘i answered back in an explosive fourth period when three scores, two from Kaua‘i lit up the scoreboards and afforded spectators the adrenaline rush of the game.
Kaua‘i coaches worked with Reggie McFadden throughout the game, and a push by the big 5’8” 140-pound sophomore set up Kaua‘i’s first score of the quarter, McFadden pushing the ball to a third-and-six on the Menehune 43.
From there, Andrade capped the drive, connecting with Kanoa Iwasaki for 37 yards at the 5:04 mark.
But the 2-point conversion with McFadden came up empty and Kaua‘i settled for a 20-19 bulge.
Hoku Aviguetero answered for Waimea on the ensuing drive, capping the push with a charge up the middle for an eight-yard score, the drive getting help from Kaua‘i when a personal foul moved the ball into the red zone.
The Menehune went to the air on the point-after play, Job Delos Reyes trying to hit Javan Torres, but coming up empty, settling for a 25-20 margin at the 2:33 mark.
The fireworks were not over, yet as the Red Raider coaching of McFadden finally bore fruit when the Andrade flanker pushed 13 yards for a score with just 57 seconds showing in the game.
Another failed point-after saw Kaua‘i sit on a 26-25 edge with the Menehune getting the kickoff with 57 ticks showing on the game clock.
Delos Reyes pulled in the deep kick and settled on the Waimea 17 yard line, followed by Petersen Lahip finiding Aviguetero on a short screen pass. Delos Reyes, alternating with Lahip in the signal-caller slot, rolled out on an option with 23 ticks showing, but could only come up to the 24 yard line before Bukoski put the cap on the game with his interception.
Waimea will pack its gear and head to Vidinha Stadium against the Kapa‘a Warriors, Saturday with the JV kicking off at 5 p.m.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.