HANAPEPE — The Kaua‘i High School Red Raiders were coming off of a bye week with a lot to prove. When the team last took to the field it was not a pretty sight as the Red Raiders were trounced by the Kapa‘a Warriors 43-14, which made Saturday evening’s game against the Waimea Menehune in Hanapepe all the more important. Kaua‘i did not disappoint as the offense went on to put up the most points it has all year in a 31-6 win over the Menehune.
The Red Raider defense came out with a vengeance and very aggressive right from the start of the game, getting Waimea to go three and out on its first possession, handing the ball off to quarterback Trey Aguano and the offense.
Kaua‘i’s offense proceeded to take the ball on a 52-yard drive, which culminated in Reggie McFadden 7-yard touchdown run leaving the Red Raiders up 7-0 with less than four minutes left to play in the first quarter.
The running game would prove important in the Red Raider offensive attack, as Kaua‘i was able to spread the carries around amongst six different runners including Aguano.
“We emphasize running the ball,” Head Coach Cory Aguano said. “We still can throw the ball. We are trying to emphasize more on running, more down hill and a lot of misdirection, and it worked today against Waimea.”
Kaua‘i would finish with 172-yards of total team rushing from McFadden, Aguano, Dreyke Smith-Butac, Uli‘i McFadden, Chanse Ramirez and Waika Alapai.
Waimea would lean on its defense to help get the team back in the game after falling behind 7-0. Kaelin Lopez would come up big for the Menehune intercepting an Aguano pass and returning it 45-yards before being brought down at the Red Raider 6 yard line.
The Menehune would turn the Lopez interception into a 3-yard touchdown run from running back Kyren Rapacon. Kicker Wyatt Taniguchi would go on to miss the extra point leaving the Menehune down 7-6 with about eight minutes to play in the second quarter.
Waimea was kept in check for the majority of the game with Rapacon earning 22-yards rushing on the ground and Isaac Fierro collecting 34 yards on six carries.
Unfortunately for Waimea, that would be the last points it would earn during the game, as the Red Raider defense would continue to swarm around the ball limiting the Menehune running backs while hitting them early and not allowing them to get beyond the linebackers very often.
“My hats off to them (defense),” Aguano said. “They stepped it up big time, they were really upset about last game and they came out with a totally different attitude over the break and it helped us too. We got a chance to heal, a chance to rest. We didn’t look so tired.”
Coming off of last week’s dominance on the ground against Kapa‘a, Aguano knew what the defense could be in for as they prepared the past two weeks for Waimea’s ground attack.
“That’s what we were worried about, them doing the 4 yards and a cloud of dust thing,” Aguano said. “They are really good at it, we were just fortunate enough to make the plays when we needed to.”
The Red Raider defense was anchored by line backer James Bukoski, who tallied a total of eight tackles on the night including a sack and a blocked punt. Bukoski was also active in coverage as he added a few pass deflections as well. Fellow line back Marcus Martinez also added five tackles and sack of his own.
Perhaps even more impressive than the line backing play for the Red Raiders was the play of its defensive line. They were able to stay on the offensive lineman closing up the gaps and allow the linebackers to come clean up the play.
The second quarter would be capped off by the Kaua‘i offense and a 11-play, 80-yard drive which ended on a 3-yard touchdown run by Alapai, leaving the score 14-6 heading into half time.
Kaua‘i would break the game open in the fourth quarter on another 11-play 81-yard drive. This time it was via the legs of Aguano, who as able to put the ball in the endzone on an 8-yard touchdown scamper putting the Red Raiders up 21-6. Aguano would finish with 49-yards rushing on the night.
On its very next possession the Red Raiders decided to take to the air on 59-yard reception from Aguano to wide receiver Pono Bukoski, which took the Raiders down to the Menehune 9-yard line with less than four minutes to play.
Uli‘i McFadden would cap off the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run putting Kaua‘i up 28-6. Uli‘i McFadden finished with 46-yards rushing on 10 carries.
Grant Basquez would finish the night connecting on a 37-yard field goal, which left the score at the 31-6 final.
With the win, Kaua‘i moves up to 2-1 on the season setting themselves for another showdown with the Kapa‘a Warriors (1-1) Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
The Menehune fall to 1-2 on the season and now head into its bye week as they begin to prepare for Kapa‘a on Oct. 6 at 3:00 p.m.