Warriors set for states

KAPAA — Winning the Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship and finishing the league season undefeated was good, but the Warriors now have their sights set on the grand prize — states.

The First Hawaiian Bank Football State Championships – Division II tournament begins Saturday. Kapaa High School’s varsity fooball team will start its postseason against Oahu Interscholastic Association Division II runner-up Pearl City.

“It’s looking pretty good. We’re looking fairly healthy right now,” said Kapaa head coach Philip Rapozo. “We had a few kids that got sick last week, but everybody seems to be looking good this week. So that’s encouraging. Injury-wise … we got nothing big. Just small stuff that we had all year and didn’t affect us. We’re pretty healthy.

“The KIF championship, we earned that already. That’s done,” he added. “That won’t go away … but from that Monday on, it’s been just business.”

The Warriors coach added he was on Oahu this past weekend for a Hawaii High School Athletic Association meeting. While there, he watched the OIA D2 championship game, in which Pearl City lost to Nanakuli 37-36.

“They’re coming off of a big game. I think that helps us — having the week off while they were playing, but we’re not going to take nothing lightly because they are a good team,” Rapozo said. “When I watched the game, I said, ‘Hey, these guys are for real.’

“I actually thought that night, they were the better team. No disrespect to Nanakuli because they’re also a good team, but the way the game went from the first half, I thought that this Pearl City team is going to win the OIA championship,” he added.

Senior quarterback Rudy Agoot said practices leading up to the state playoffs have been going well and the team has been especially focusing on finishing plays.

“Just doing everything 110 percent and putting it all out,” Agoot said. “We’re just going to keep rolling with what’s working … Everybody is going to have to be on — just be comfortable and do what we got to do.”

On the defensive side, junior linebacker Mosese Fifita said it all starts in the trenches. If the line imposes its will upfront, he said this Kapaa defense can be dominant.

“Defense has to stay disciplined … If the D-line does its job, pad levels down, it will be good. It makes everybody’s job easier,” he said. “If we execute our assignments, nothing can beat us. Just play smart, mentally play our game and do the best we can.

“We’ve been picking up the pace and changing gears (to get ready for) a different team — more physical and more faster … We’re in good condition. The offense has good tempo. The defense is very physical,” Fifita added. “The KIF, we’re not satisfied with that. We need to go for states. We can go higher and achieve more.”

Kapaa (6-1 overall, 6-0 KIF) ended its regular season with a 52-0 victory over Kauai on Saturday, Oct. 25. With the defense as sharp as it’s been all season and the offense, especially the running attack, finishing strong, Rapozo said he likes his chances.

“Offense did awesome the last game. We’re going to build off of that … we feel good about that going in, but we know our defense and our special teams are what drives this team,” the coach said. “We got no surprises. We’re just going to line up and play football … We’ll take what they give us.”

Kapaa’s showdown with Pearl City begins 3 p.m. Saturday at Vidinha Stadium.

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