LIHUE — Engulfed in gusting winds, the Red Raiders came through for the home crowd.
Kauai High School’s varsity football team defeated Waimea, 17-0, in the school’s homecoming Saturday afternoon at Vidinha Stadium to post its first win of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season.
“That’s sweet. Very sweet,” said Red Raiders senior running back Damien Butac about the win. “All I thought about today during homecoming was the alumni looking down on us because it’s homecoming. All of them come out and watch this game because it’s so important. I feel we made them proud today.”
After a scoreless and mostly uneventful first half, Kauai (1-5, 1-3 KIF) drove down the field in its first possession of the third quarter. Sophomore quarterback Christian Manera found pay dirt with a 4-yard run to score the Red Raiders’ first points in the KIF season.
“It means a lot because the boys worked hard. We spoke all week about perseverance and rebounding as a team,” said Kauai head coach Derek Borrero. “They started that positive move from last week against Kapaa by holding them down to 24 points. We carried that on to the practice week.”
“Homecoming, that’s the one you want right? The seniors, they deserve this. So I’m very proud of them,” he added.
That scoring drive was set up by Butac’s 62 yards rushing on five carries. He ended the game with 128 rushing yards off 19 carries.
“I got to say the lineman executed very good today,” Butac said. “They moved their butts. We had a lot of good blocking out there. All I had to do was move my feet.”
The Red Raiders’ second score was by senior defensive back Quinten Mundon in the fourth quarter, in which he blocked a punt and recoverd the ball in the opposing endzone.
After playing the first three KIF games scoreless, to finally have success offensively boosted the team’s morale, Borerro said.
“We needed to start putting points on the board because we’re not helping our defense. They kept us in the game today in the first half when we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. They were taking care of their side of the bargain. We weren’t taking care of our side,” Borrero said. “Once we got on the scoreboard, I knew we’d have a chance to do it again because you could just feel that vibe on the sidelines. They started running the offense how they’re supposed to run it.”
Waimea (3-3, 1-2 KIF) was stalled offensively by penalties, most of which were false starts, including two consecutive penalizations following a timeout to end the second quarter.
The Menehune had favorable positioning in the opposing side of the field following a short Red Raiders punt during the first quarter. The drive ended with a 45-yard field goal attempt by junior Justin Fune which hooked wide.
“It seemed our (offensive) line couldn’t get in sync. They weren’t working as one,” said Waimea head coach Jason Caldeira. “Got to go back and look at the film. I don’t know if it was a defensive plan or we just beat ourselves, but we just couldn’t get in sync.”
Waimea had two quarterbacks play behind center in the game. Freshman Lacin Montemayor started the game and sophomore Keaka Wisneski, who was the starter in the team’s previous games, came in following halftime.
“It’s something we evaluated during practice. A lot of it had to do with our last game,” Caldeira said. Waimea was routed by Kapaa, 68-0, in the Menehune’s last game on Sept. 11.
“Quarterback is a hard position no matter what school you play for or what team you play for. It’s a lot of responsibility for them,” Calderia said. “It’s a sophomore and a freshman that’s our two best choices we have. We just want to see who wants it more.”
Kauai will next play on Oct. 10 against Kapaa (5-0, 3-0 KIF) at Vidinha Stadium. Waimea will host Kapaa at Hanapepe Stadium on Saturday. The contest is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
04:24 KAUAI Christian Manera 4-yard run, Jonathan Benitez PAT good, 7-0
09:00 KAUAI Quinten Mundon blocked punt recovered in endzone, Jonathan Benitez PAT good, 14-0
01:52 KAUAI Jonathan Benitez 33-yard field goal, 17-0
Passing: Christian Manera, 1-2, 18 yards
Rushing: Damien Butac, 19 carries, 128 yards, 1 fumble
Receiving: Noah Hoopii, 1 reception, 18 yards
Defense: Quinten Mundon, 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection
Passing: Keaka Wisneski, 4-12, 48 yards
Rushing: Jaycob Rapanot, 10 carries, 50 yards
Receiving: Justin Fune, 2 receptions, 36 yards
Defense: Alika Ventura, 5 tackles