HANAPEPE — The Kapaa Warriors opened up the season’s first afternoon game with a 28-0 victory over the Menehune of Waimea High Saturday at Hanapepe Stadium.
Winning the first matchup 23-0 back on Aug. 30 at Vidinha Stadium, the Warriors were able to once again keep the Menehune off the scoreboard.
Although Kapaa secured their second victory over the Menehune this season, it wasn’t as easy as the final score showed.
In the first half, both teams’ defenses were strong as drive after drive was halted and opposing offenses were forced into punts or turnovers.
It wasn’t until the Warriors took over the ball with 1:22 left in the second quarter that Kapaa was able to break the scoreless deadlock.
Fielding a punt at the Waimea 47-yard line, returner Kaikea Sonoda broke off for a 19-yard return putting the Warriors into striking distance.
Following a 14-yard gain through the air from Kapaa quarterback Turtle Kuhaulua to Dazmin Sasil, the Warriors punched it in with a 14-yard rush from Sonoda. Jonathan Paleka added the PAT to give Kapaa a 7-0 lead with 38 seconds left in the second quarter — a score that held at halftime.
The Waimea Menehune opened up the second half with the ball, but weren’t able to make much of it.
On the second play of their drive, Waimea quarterback Malu Games fumbled the snap and the Warriors recovered on their two-yard line.
Set up by the short field, the Warriors were able to cash in on a third and goal with a one-yard run from Shain Davis with 10:32 remaining in the third quarter. Paleka chipped in the PAT to push the Kapaa lead to 14-0.
Waimea was unable to answer on their following drive and didn’t receive any help from Kapaa.
Faced with a third and 15 on their own 32-yard line on the Warriors ensuing drive, Kuhaulua broke through the defense, gaining 41 yards, putting the ball on the Waimea 27-yard line.
The Warriors scored five plays later when Kuhaulua found receiver Kanai Thronas-Kahoonei for a 13-yard touchdown. Paleka hit the PAT again, pushing the Warrior advantage to 21-0 about half way through the third quarter.
Waimea went on to commit an interception on their next drive and were forced to give the ball back to the Warriors on their following three drives after failing to convert.
The Warriors scored one more time with 4:04 left in the fourth quarter on a 13-yard connection from Kahaulua to Sonoda. Paleka remained perfect, hitting the PAT for the 28-0 score.
The Menehune cemented their fate with 1:35 left in the fourth quarter when starting quarterback Kiliona Russell-Moe took a big hit and fumbled the ball away for Waimea’s fourth turnover. Kapaa recovered and killed the clock to seal the victory.
The Kapaa Warriors improve to 2-1 on the season while the Waimea Menehune fell to 0-3.
• In JV action between Kapaa and Waimea, the game ended in 21-21 tie, after Kapaa failed to hit a game winning field goal from the 13-yard line with 4.2 seconds left in the game.
KIF football will return Saturday when the Kapaa Warriors take on the 2-0 Kauai High Red Raiders at Vidinha Stadium. JV will begin at noon with the varsity to follow at 2:30 p.m.