The second game of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation football season will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hanapepe Stadium.
Waimea (2-1, 0-0 KIF) will make its KIF debut at home after finishing the preseason 2-1. The Menehune lost its last preseason game against Pac-Five of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, 10-7, two weeks ago in Hanapepe.
“We’ve been doing good. We’ve been practicing hard. We’re excited for the season,” said Menehune head coach Jason Caldeira on Wednesday.
Caldeira said having the extra preseason game was beneficial for his players because it gave them the chance at more game experience prior to the KIF season.
“We’re the youngest team in the KIF. We only have one senior as a starter — Alika Ventura,” he said. “Those three games, it gave us a lot of learning angles that we needed to correct in practice which benefits us because we have a young team.”
“For me, that makes me happy. On paper, we’re underdogs on age alone. Anytime we can go into a game and be competitive win or lose, we can only gain more experience and get better,” he added.
As for Friday night, Caldeira expects the Red Raiders to give them their best shot.
“I’m going to expect a good, competitive game. I expect (Kauai head coach Derek Borrero) and the Red Raiders to be ready and focused.”
Kauai High (0-3, 0-1 KIF) are hoping to get back on track following last week’s 53-0 loss to Kapaa (3-0, 1-0 KIF) at Vidinha Stadium.
“Twenty one to 28 points were given away by foolish mistakes — interceptions and blocked punts. When you play a team like Kapaa, that’s not going to help our cause,” Borrero said. “As we watch film, there’s so much small stuff that we need to improve on all three phases of the game.”
Borrero said his defense will be a big factor for the upcoming game on the Westside.
“Our two middle linebackers, Keala Iwasaki and Quinton Mundon, they’ve been stellar for us. We’re looking for big things from them this Friday night,” he said.
Borrero added he expects senior Damien Butac to heavily contribute as well after being suspended last week for targeting — when a player uses the crown of their helmet — in a preseason game agaisnt Big Island’s Konawaena, saying Butac will “be very important to us on both sides of the ball.”
On offense, Borrero is switching things up and will start sophomore Christian Manera at quarterback.
“We’re going with Christian Manera. He’s been our second-string quarterback. We’re going to take some of the pressure off (sophomore Aukai Albao),” he said. “Aukai has good hands and good speed. We’re going to move him into the receiver position.
“Those two young men have been going back and forth in practice. We wanted to give Aukai the first shot,” Borrero added. “We’re trying to build the program. They’re going to be the future at the quarterback position. … I’m pretty lucky to have two guys who are willing to step up, even as sophomores.”