Red Raiders look to rebound against ILH’s Damien

LIHUE — After losing last week in a low-scoring contest on the Big Island against Konawaena, the Red Raiders are aiming to get in the win column before the league season starts.

Kauai High School’s varsity football team will play its last preseason game at home against Damien Memorial School of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu on Saturday.

“I had guys dropping from injuries and cramping, and they battled to the end,” said Kauai head coach Tommy John Cox about last week’s game. “It was just huge to see them battle with only 21 guys and not give up. We played a tough Kona team to within one score … I think good things will come if we can play like that.”

The Red Raiders are still dealing with injuries to several starters and players from the junior varsity team have stepped in to fill voids.

“Monday and Tuesday, I must have had 10 guys out,” Cox said. “We’re hurting right now … We’ll see. Hopefully they’ll heal up and get everyone ready to go.”

KHS found success in its running game against Konawaena as junior back Jhustin Balisacan rushed for more than 100 yards against the Wildcats.

Despite all those yards, however, the Red Raiders weren’t able to get into the end zone.

“That’s one of the biggest things with our offense. We got to learn how to finish,” Balisacan said. “Just got to keep the guys amped up, make sure the tempos are good. And when there’s a bad play, we can’t have guys with their heads down. Just keep going and keep fighting.”

Senior offensive and defensive tackle Jared Astrologio said mixing up running plays from outside to inside kept Konawaena off balance. He hopes the team can carry that success into Saturday’s game.

“Just tell people to work on their effort because effort is what makes us finish,” Astrologio said. “Just tell people to work hard and to keep thinking that we’re going to get in the end zone. 

“Our O-line blocking, we’re going to do way better because we’ve been working on it,” the Kauai lineman added.

Kauai’s nonleague showdown with Damien begins 7 p.m. Saturday at Vidinha Stadium. The Red Raiders’ first Kauai Interscholastic Federation game is on Friday, Sept. 5 against Waimea.

“We’re just building up. In preseason, I know everybody wants to win. I get that. We want to win, but (at the same time) we want to keep our guys healthy,” Cox said. “We want to get them ready for KIF. If we have to sit them this game, that’s something we have to do.”


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