Warriors blank Menehune in KIF Opener

LIHUE— The Kapaa Warriors started off their KIF season on a strong note Friday, shutting out the Menehune of Waimea High School 23-0.

The Warriors were dominant from the get-go, jumping out to a 6-0 lead in a little under two minutes of the game’s opening series.

Fresno Masaniai, who threw for over a 130 yards, capped off the Warrior’s five-play opening drive after hitting receiver Kanai Thronas-Kahoonei for a 30-yard touchdown. The point-after was not converted.

Following Kapaa’s score, the Menehune offense looked as if they would answer quickly after running back Destin Miguel picked up a quick 16 yards in Waimea’s first two plays.

But the Warriors buckled down from there on out, forcing the Menehune into throwing a pick, their first of two turnovers on the game.

Waimea’s defense forced the Warriors to go three-and-out on the next drive, but ultimately wasn’t able to hold Kapaa scoreless for the rest of the half.

Jonathan Paleka added three points with a 22-yard field goal, and Masaniai rushed in for a score giving the Warriors a 16-0 halftime lead.

Masaniai converted on another touchdown throw for the final score of the game, connecting with Kaikea Sonoda on a 26-yard pass in the third quarter.  

The Warriors finished the game with 315 yards in total offense, while the Menehune ended with 86.

Waimea could not get the ball rolling in Friday’s game, converting just three first downs and punting the ball 10 times against the Warriors.

The Menehune will not play again until Sept. 13 when they take on the Kauai High School Red Raiders at Vidinha Stadium.

It remains to be seen who Waimea will have at the starting quarterback position next week, as Malu Games and Kiliona Russell-Moe shared the duty Friday. The Warriors, however, seem to have finally settled on their QB.

Masaniai was the main man for Kapaa for all but two drives on Friday, dismissing the idea that the Warriors would be interchanging three quarterbacks this season.

 On top of his 137 passing yards, two touchdown passes and one rushing score, Masaniai showed his patience in the pocket and scrambling ability when need be, finishing with 64 yards on the ground.

While Head Coach Kelii Morgado was happy with the win, he realizes that his Warriors need to capitalize.

“I just thought we were really inconsistent,” Morgado said. “We had a lot of opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of them. Offensively, I just thought we were so sporadic and we definitely need to clean that up.”

Morgado and the Warriors will be looking to stay perfect when they take on the Red Raiders Sept. 6.

The matchup between the Warriors and Red Raiders begins at 7:30 p.m. at Vidinha Stadium and will be Kauai High School’s first regular season game.

• Tyson Agbayani, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or tagbayani@thegardenisland.com.

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