HANAPEPE— The Red Raiders converted on a 2-point conversion with just more than one minute left on the game clock to sneak away with a win on the road.
Kauai High School’s varsity football team defeated Waimea 8-7 on Saturday afternoon at Hanapepe Stadium.
“We got to win ball games,” said Red Raiders head coach Tommy John Cox. “I don’t think a tie would do us any good. We had to take a chance.
“Waimea’s a good, well-coached ball club. I don’t think their record indicates how good they are. They’re always going to play tough. We did just enough to squeak one out,” he added.
Cox decided to go for the win after receiver Camren Henry made a 10-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Aaron Renaud.
On the 2-point conversion play, Renaud ran to the left side and edged out Waimea’s defenders to find pay dirt and give his team the lead.
“I was like, ‘We got this.’ I knew the sweep would work,” Renaud said about getting the conversion. “It was exciting. Once I got in the end zone, I was just joyful.”
Up until that touchdown and 2-point conversion, Waimea’s defense contained Kauai’s running attack.
The Menehunes’ defensive performance included a goal-line stand in the second quarter, in which it stuffed Renaud on a quarterback sneak at its 1-yard line on fourth down.
“Defensively, we played brilliantly, I thought,” said Waimea head coach Jason Caldeira. “It’s a tough one to swallow. It’s Homecoming. We prepared so hard … We tried our best, but sometimes our best isn’t good enough. We just need to get better.”
Sophomore Cody Taniguchi recovered a botched punt in Kauai’s end zone to give Waimea its only score. The Menehunes’ offense couldn’t offer any more points to pad its lead.
“Offensively, it didn’t matter what play we called or what we tried to do. We couldn’t execute anything … Kauai High played very tough,” Caldiera said.
Though he and his teammates are disappointed, Waimea senior linebacker Kala Dusenberry-Lee said they have to remain optimistic they will eventually get a win this season.
“We talked about the little mistakes we got to fix,” the Waimea linebacker said. “We got to keep our heads up. We got to stay positive.”
Kauai (2-1 KIF) returns to Vidinha Stadium to play Kapaa (3-0 KIF) on Saturday and Waimea (0-4 KIF) will play its next home game against Kapaa on Saturday, Oct. 11. The junior varsity games begin at noon and the varsity will follow.
“We got to get back in the film room and and work hard this week,” Cox said about next week’s match against Kapaa. “It’s do or die every week. We’re going to enjoy this, but we got to get back at it on Monday.”