HANAPEPE — Under a bright, beaming rainbow that decorated the skies above Hanapepe Stadium, the Warriors were named league champions.
Kapaa High School’s varsity football team beat Waimea 17-9 on Saturday to win this year’s Kauai Interscholastic Federation title.
“It feels really good,” Warriors head coach Philip Rapozo said. “Credit to Waimea. They played a heck of a game today … Believe or not, this was good for us. This was our first real battle. They gave us four quarters of football.”
Winning the league championship, he added, holds special meaning for him and his team.
Rapozo said Kapaa’s season, and winning the KIF title, was in honor of late coach Dean “Big Daddy” Petro, who died in March after a 5-year battle with cancer.
“He was a big part of our team. The boys dedicated the season (to Petro), and we told each other that we were going to win the championship for him,” Rapozo said. “Big Daddy, that one was for you my brother.”
Senior running back Shain Davis scored Kapaa’s two touchdowns in the first half — both from within the opposing 5-yard line.
He ended the game with 94 rushing yards on 18 carries.
“That feels amazing. I’m speechless. I can’t even say. I’m really grateful to my team this year,” Davis said about ending his high school career with a league title.
Waimea managed to score a touchdown in the final minute of the game with a 7-yard completion from quarterback Patrick Keamoai-Strickland to running back Keenan Arroyo.
Though the Menehune weren’t able to play spoiler, Waimea head coach Jason Caldeira said he was glad to at least finish their last game against the eventual KIF champions with a score.
“It’s like an old 1950s boxing match, where you go 15 rounds — the winner got knocked down 12 times and the loser got knocked down 13,” he said about the game. “You just keep getting up and keep on fighting. It was one of those games. It was something where you can raise your head high and walk out proud.
“Just want to congratulate coach Rapozo and his whole staff, the program and the whole town of Kapaa,” he added.
Waimea (0-5 KIF) will play its last game of the season against Kauai (2-2 KIF) on Saturday at Vidinha Stadium. The junior varsity game will begin at noon and the varsity will follow afterward.
Kapaa and Kauai will play the KIF season finale on Saturday, Oct. 25.