Warriors, Menehune look solid in preseason wins

It was a better start to the season for the Menehune than 2012, while the Warriors started out with a victory for the fifth consecutive year. Overall, it was a strong showing in the opening weekend for the two active Kauai high school football clubs as they continue through the preseason and move towards Kauai Interscholastic Federation action.

Kapaa High was the first team to take the field and had what appeared to be a major test on their hands in the Nanakuli Golden Hawks. While head coaches are never fully satisfied in their team’s execution — especially in season openers — Kelii Morgado had a lot to be pleased with in his team’s 56-12 win. A major positive to take away, as far as this team’s potential looking forward, was the play of its three quarterbacks. Fresno Masaniai, Turtle Kuhaulua and Rudy Agoot all got their reps and all showed their abilities in different phases of the game.

Morgado’s comments to The Garden Island sports writer Rick Killeen after the Warriors’ win were indicative of just how special that situation is.

“What a luxury — you are lucky if you get one effective quarterback,” Morgado told Killeen. “They all have their own skill set that they bring and they are all pretty good at it.”

A luxury, indeed. Having capable quarterbacks who can execute different things will allow Morgado the freedom to be creative and cultivate an offense with a variety of wrinkles.

When I spoke with University of Hawaii head coach Norm Chow during the UH Warriors’ practice and scrimmage at Vidinha Stadium, he stressed the importance of a coach structuring their philosophy and approach around their players’ abilities. Well, when you have quarterbacks who can provide far more assets than liabilities, it gives the coach a limitless play book. That unpredictability bodes well for Kapaa moving forward.

While unpredictability is certainly a bonus, execution is still the driving force. Waimea won’t have that same type of unpredictable nature, but if it gets the execution it got on Saturday afternoon, it won’t need to fool anyone.

To paraphrase former NFL coach Dennis Green, the Menehune are who we thought they were. I mean that in the best way possible, because the Menehune are traditionally known as a tough, rugged, ground and pound offense. They had no shame in perpetuating that stigma, grinding the Anuenue Rainbows into the Hanapepe dirt with a dominant running game.

And while “three yards and a cloud of dust” has been the axiom thrown around regarding the Waimea attack, there were plenty of scampers of far more than three yards in Waimea’s 42-0 victory. Actually, the Menehune averaged a whopping 15.0 yards per carry, rushing 30 times for 450 yards.

The bulk of that haul belonged to running back Destin Miguel, who had 13 carries for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Those three scores all came in the second half and opened the floodgates after what had been just a 15-0 Waimea lead at halftime.

On any other day, running back Acetyn Emayo’s numbers would have been the main story. He carried the ball just six times, but piled up 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The score and ground game were the highlights, but head coach Kealii Aguiar knows that his team still has some corrections to make in its overall execution. Six turnovers do not a happy coach make, as reported by Killeen.

“Too many turnovers,” Aguiar told TGI after the win. “You cannot have six turnovers and expect to be competitive in the KIF. We had five fumbles and one interception.”

The interception came on a day when Waimea threw the ball just three times and didn’t complete a pass. But, again, that’s not who Waimea is. Execution, execution, execution. That will be their mantra throughout the season, and if they can execute at anywhere near the same 15 yards per carry clip they displayed Saturday, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Waimea, Kapaa and Kauai High are all in action as the preseason continues this weekend. Check in with TGI for further game information.

• ‘My Thoughts Exactly’ appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in The Garden Island. Email David Simon your comments or questions to dsimon@thegardenisland.com. Follow David on Twitter @SimonTGI

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