I recently had the pleasure of talking story with National Football League veteran Eric Frampton. As an Oakland Raiders fan — that’s right I said it. RAIDERS — it was great getting the chance to have a discussion with a former Raiders draft pick.
When he talked about how “blown away” he was of Kauaians love of football, it didn’t come as a shock. I’ve personally seen that passion at every KIF game I’ve covered so far.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to check out youth football games here, but I’ve heard the players and spectators are just as enthused.
So, what better subject is there to write about? There’s plenty of that this weekend, but let’s stick to what’s local.
Kauai vs. Kapaa at Vidinha Stadium
The Red Raiders squeezed out a victory last week against a very-game Waimea squad at Hanapepe Stadium.
It was a heck of a call for Kauai head coach Tommy John Cox to take a gamble and go for the 2-point conversion down the stretch.
I know the Red Raiders (2-1 KIF) are itching to get one over the Warriors. Easier said than done with how well Kapaa, especially its defense, has played this year, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kauai with that same do-or-die attitude from last week as well.
On the other side, Kapaa (3-0 KIF) comes in after enjoying a week off following a bruising battle against the Menehune two weeks ago — a game in which a few of the team’s key starters came away banged up. It’s never a good thing when players get hurt, but if ever there was a time to, getting them before a bye week would be the best time.
I recently bumped into Kapaa head coach Philip Rapozo. He said his boys are healed up and ready to go.
With Kauai aiming to get a piece of the top spot on the KIF rankings and Kapaa instead wanting a firm grip on the league standings and further its chances at a state berth, this game could be a barn burner.
UH Rainbow Warriors at Rice Owls
Though UH hung with three Pac-12 teams this year, including a 1-point heartbreaking loss to a then-ranked No. 25 Washington and most recently coming up short 21-12 at Colorado, the Rainbow Warriors are not interested in moral victories.
“We’ve had three moral wins already, which we’re tired of,” said UH linebacker Julian Gener after the Colorado game, as reported by The Associated Press. “We need wins in the win category.”
Starting QB Ikaika Woolsey was pulled at halftime after going 10-24 for 64 yards. Backup Jeremy Higgins provided a spark, but was also pulled out after injuring his throwing hand. Third-string senior Taylor Graham then finished the game for UH.
It will be interesting to see who head coach Norm Chow chooses to start at QB after using all three in the last game.
According to the same AP report, the Rainbow Warriors haven’t won a road game since Oct. 29, 2011 at Idaho. Snapping that streak could give UH a second wind before the team starts Mountain West Conference play next week. If, that is.
Both UH and Rice are currently 1-3.
Nick Celario can be reached at email@example.com.