Don’t believe the hype? Warriors putting KIF on notice

Analysts, fans, sometimes even players tend to overreact to a single game or recent results. “What have you done for me lately?” is the norm. Perspective is narrow. Over the long haul, a brief stretch of play will usually blend in with the rest of a season and short-term hype will eventually fade away.

But whoa.

The Kapaa Warriors are making a statement. Friday night’s 29-0 shutout over defending KIF champion Kauai High puts the Warriors as the clear favorite for the rest of the 2014 football season. The Warriors were a bit deceiving last year, especially when looking solely at their final results. While they went just 4-4 on the season, three of those losses were by a total of seven points to Kauai, who wound up making the state title game.

Both teams had some changes at the skill positions in the offseason and the feeling was that Kapaa might again be ready to overtake the Red Raiders. But that’s been the feeling before and it hasn’t always come to fruition. Kapaa has only one KIF championship since 1989, so declaring the Warriors the undeniable favorite has almost always been, well, let’s just say unwise.

In 2010, Kapaa was on equal footing with Kauai but faced a heartbreaking letdown. In 2011, the Warriors finally erased 22 years of bad luck on the foot of Jonathan Paleka, who beat Waimea in the KIF title game with a 27-yard field goal. In 2013, Kapaa was again playing level with Kauai and didn’t give up more than seven points in any contest against the Raiders, still somehow losing all three.

Now here we are in 2014 and Kapaa has outscored Waimea and Kauai in its first two KIF games by a combined score of 65-0. That’s a hard scoreline to misinterpret. The Warriors have been the dominant team, a position they’ve not been in for many years. Even throughout their 2011 championship season, they struggled with the Menehune, who were one good quarter away from keeping Kapaa’s title-less streak alive.

Quarterback Rudy Agoot now has six total touchdowns in his first two KIF games as the Kapaa starter and head coach Philip Rapozo certainly couldn’t have asked for a better start to his tenure at the helm for the Warriors. They’re the new faces, but this is still the same hard-nosed defensive unit as last season. Kapaa surrendered just 26 points in its six KIF games a year ago and is somehow ahead of that stellar pace this time around.

Again, it’s early. But – again – 65-0. We’ll see if this is short-term hype or if 2014 is going to be a Warrior walkover.

FROM DAY TO NIGHT: This coming Saturday’s game pitting Waimea and Kapaa will be a night contest, a change from the original KIF schedule. That alteration came from a meeting with the KIF Board, the County of Kauai, US Fish and Wildlife and DLNR, according to Kapaa principal Daniel Hamada.

“Agreement was based on the almost no moon conditions, early and still outside of the fledging time frame and highly unlikely risk of any NESH/HAPE being traumatized,” Hamada said in an email.

TRESTLES STILL ON HOLD: Saturday was the second straight lay day at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California. Officials are expecting a new swell before getting the men’s Hurley Pro and the Swatch Women’s Pro back in the water. Kilauea’s Sebastian Zietz will be taking on Portugal’s Tiago Pires in the second round while the women are into the quarterfinals with Oahu’s Coco Ho as the only Hawaii surfer remaining.

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

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