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High school football to cure the summertime blues

The dog days of summer really kicked in this week. No more World Cup. No more Decision 2.0. Even the waves at Jeffreys Bay subsided for a few consecutive ASP lay days. There were no professional athletics of any kind. I suppose you could be temporarily transforming into a vampire to consume the British Open, but only wake me if Tiger’s wearing red. When those few days without Major League Baseball feel like an eternity then, yeah, there really is nothing going on.

If baseball isn’t your thing, July and August can be excruciatingly stagnant. At least on the national scene. Luckily – for those of us who no longer have to worry about grade point averages – school is back in session very soon.

That’s right, kids. Have you noticed a little pep in your parents’ step lately? A few moments when the expression on their face seems to be saying “just a few more days?” Do they have an ear-to-ear grin and an evil movie character laugh when they X out each successive date on the calendar? It’s (probably) not for the premiere of Bachelor in Paradise, it’s that school starts in two weeks.

That also means high school football. The Kauai Interscholastic Federation preseason opens up on Saturday, Aug. 9 with the defending champion Kauai Red Raiders hosting the Damien Monarchs at Vidinha Stadium. Damien is coming off a 4-6 season in which it lost to Iolani in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu playoffs.

That’s a familiar common opponent. Kauai knocked off Iolani in the semifinals of the 2013 HHSAA Division II state playoffs. The Raiders went 10-1 last season, falling only in the state title game to the Kaiser Cougars, 17-7. It’s going to be very difficult to repeat that type of season, but we’ll get a first look at what Kauai has to offer under its home lights against Damien at 7 p.m. Aug. 9.

The Waimea Menehune open up their season the same weekend on the road against the Anuenue Rainbows. The two teams tangled in last season’s opener, as well, with Waimea dominating in a 42-0 victory. It ended up being the lone win for Waimea during a 1-8 season. The Menehune were very competitive in their additional preseason contests – a 13-8 loss to Hawaii Prep and a 13-0 loss to Woodbridge (Calif.) – before some one-sided defeats during the KIF season.

Anuenue went on to finish 0-9 last season, but Coach Kealoha Wengler had been building a solid program at the Hawaiian language and culture public school. The Waimea-Anuenue game doesn’t have an exact time yet, but it is scheduled to take place either Aug. 8 or Aug. 9 on Oahu.

Also on the road will be the Kapaa Warriors, who will be taking on the Nanakuli Golden Hawks on Saturday, Aug. 9. It’s another rematch after the Warriors piled on the points in a 56-12 win over Nanakuli during the 2013 preseason. Kapaa went on to have a 4-4 record in 2013, but its three losses to Kauai High were by a combined score of 19-12 in three defensive slugfests. A play here or there could have had the Warriors in the D-II state tournament instead of the Raiders.

Nanakuli went 4-5 on the season, but it was 7-5 in 2012, reaching the D-II state semifinals. Coach Skip Lopes and the Hawks will be hoping to gain some revenge on the Warriors after last year’s matchup. The junior varsity will take the field at Nanakuli at 5 p.m. on Aug. 9, followed by the varsity contest at 7:30 p.m.

The following weekend features the second of two preseason games for all three KIF schools. Kapaa will be hosting Lahainaluna at Vidinha Stadium (7 p.m., Aug. 16), Waimea takes on Hawaii Prep at Hanapepe Stadium (7 p.m., Aug. 16) and Kauai heads to the Big Island to face Konawaena (TBD, Aug. 16).

So allow yourself to be bored for only a bit longer because local action on the gridiron is right around the corner.

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David Simon can be reached at dsimon@thegardenisland.com.

 

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