Kauai delivers on homecoming

LIHUE — The Red Raiders sent off their seniors with a victory on their last homecoming game.

Kauai High School’s varsity football team defeated Waimea 24-6 on a muggy Saturday afternoon at Vidinha Stadium.

“Everything went well today. (Quarterback Aaron Renaud) played probably his best game of the year. The passing game opened up the run game,” said Red Raiders head coach Tommy John Cox. “Usually we try to work it the other way, but that’s how it worked out today.

“It’s just good to see these guys come out and play with pride and show everybody what they can do,” he added. “They practiced hard for two weeks. Even though the championship was not attainable anymore, they kept working hard and set a goal to win two more games. We’re halfway there and we want to finish the season strong.”

Kauai’s running back tandem Bulla Rapacon and Jhustin Balisacan combined for 177 yards rushing and three touchdowns, including a 45-yard romp to pay dirt by Rapacon in the second quarter.

Renaud was 10-19 for 185 yards passing, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

“It was a tough game. Our line came out strong, and most definitely our quarterback (played well),” Rapacon said. “We just played as a team. … That’s the main thing right there.”

Waimea (0-6 KIF) finished the fourth quarter, and its season, with a 10-yard touchdown completion from quarterback Patrick Keamoai-Strickland to receiver Bernny Ned.

“We were hoping we could steal one, get a victory out here, raise the morale and boost up the program,” said Waimea head coach Jason Caldeira. “I’ve known these kids, the majority of them, since they were in the sixth grade. I’m very close to them and honored for them to be my first group of seniors during my first year as varsity coach.

“I’m really happy with the way they’re growing. Hopefully, they’ll keep it up and focus on what’s the next journey ahead of them,” he added.

Keamoai-Strickland finished the game 10-21 with 94 passing, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

“I feel kind of (bad). I thought our game plan was good. I thought we could pull off a win today,” the Menehune senior quarterback said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way. No matter what, I love my team.

“I had butterflies like I never did before. Knowing it was my last game, I gave it my 100 percent — everything I had,” he added about putting on that blue helmet with the big block white W for the final time.

Kauai (3-2 KIF) will meet this year’s Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion Kapaa (5-0 KIF) on Saturday at Vidinha Stadium. The junior varsity game begins at noon and the varsity will follow.

“We pretty much got to play a perfect game,” Cox said about the upcoming season finale. “(If we play) mistake free and mentally stay in the game, I think we have a chance.”

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