Menehune win home opener

HANAPEPE — Waimea High School’s varsity football team scored two rushing touchdowns en route to beating Kauai, 17-0, Friday evening at Hanapepe Stadium.

“It’s a good win. It’s good for the program. It’s good for the loyal supports of Waimea to bring home a victory, especially against a team we haven’t won against in four years,” said Menehune head coach Jason Caldeira. “My only concern now is to not let it go to our heads. Yeah, it’s good. But we still got the whole season left ahead of us. Let’s not get too excited. Let’s keep working hard.”

Waimea (3-1, 1-0 KIF) scored all 17 points in the second quarter. The two touchdown drives were set up by takeaways.

A Kauai personal foul on special teams, which gave the ball back to Waimea, and an interception by Menehune junior linebacker Caleb Ephan put Waimea in favorable field advantage. Junior running backs Kailen Simao-Castillo and Waika Corr each found the endzone following those takeaways.

Menehune junior placekicker Justin Fune struck first for Waimea with a 40-yard field goal.

“The defense stepped up when needed. It helped put up much needed points on the scoreboard,” Caldeira said.

Waimea, however, was penalized six times for encroachment. Calderia said those penalties were frustrating.

“That’s one of the problems of having the youngest team in the league. Sometimes, you pressure yourself out. I got to keep reminding the kids there’s no pressure. Just got to keep focused,” Caldeira said. “We stressed that all week. Then to go in the game, it’s a let down. Luckily, it didn’t hurt us and bite us in the butts.”

Kauai (0-4, 0-2 KIF) started sophomore Christian Manera at quarterback in place of sophomore Aukai Albao. He threw two interceptions and was sacked four times, including on the final play of the game by Menehune freshman linebacker Jesse Cardinez.

Prior to that sack, Manera took a shot deep to sophomore receiver Noah Hoopii for a chance to get on the scoreboard. Hoopii beat the coverage and was open, but the passed sailed over his head.

“Manera, he’s an athlete. I think we got to work toward trying to find something that is going to be really comfortable for him and the rest of the boys,” said Red Raiders head coach Derek Borrero.

Borrero said the turnovers in the second quarter proved costly.

“It’s 17 points in the first half and no points in the second half. We need to get serious in the beginning of the game and not just in the second half,” he said. “We need to fix some of these things in practice, and that’s what’s running through my mind right now.”

Red Raiders senior running back Jhustin Balisacan rushed for 90 yards on 19 carries, 49 of which were gained in the final quarter.

The game was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. but started an hour late.

“I don’t really know exactly, but we were waiting for the bus and it never showed up,” Borrero said. “We went and checked, and ended up finding another driver to bring us down.”

Waimea will play Kapaa (3-0, 1-0 KIF) about 7:30 p.m. Friday at Vidinha Stadium. Prior to the varsity game, a junior varsity match between Kauai and Kapaa will be start at 5 p.m.

“We’re going against the No. 1 team in the state in our division. We’re lucky that we have these opportunities to play a team like that three times this year,” Caldeira said. “There’s absolutely no pressure on us to do anything. Nobody expects us to do anything. Anytime there’s a chance to play a team like this, and if we can come out competitive and if we can play well, it’s only going to help our program. We’re just trying to build the foundation and keep building from there.”

The Red Raiders will have the next two weeks to regroup. Kauai will play Kapaa on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Vidinha Stadium. The JV game will begin at noon and the varsity will follow.

“We’re going to flush this first round,” Borrero said. “More than the physical things, we got to fix our minds. These young boys are kind of down. They’re tired of losing. We, as coaches, we need to get back to the drawing board and design some things that will create some success for these boys.”

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