LIHUE — Football season is just a few weeks away.
The 2016-17 Kauai Interscholastic Federation schedule was released Wednesday.
Defending KIF titleholder Kapaa opens the preseason on Aug. 6 against the Maui Sabers. That season-opening game is set for 7 p.m. at Vidinha Stadium.
“Maui’s a Division I school. They’re a big, physical team. I’m pretty sure they’re going to be a lot bigger than we are,” said Warriors head coach Philip Rapozo on Tuesday. “We’re excited about the challenge. We want to see how we match up against a more physical team.
“Radford was the more physical team in the state championship game, and we weren’t ready for that,” he continued. “So, this is going to be good for us. We’ll fix some things that showed up against Radford. We want to see how that works against a physical team like Maui.”
Kapaa will then face a familiar opponent in their second preseason game. Kapaa will play at Lahainaluna of the Maui Interscholastic League on Aug. 13.
The Warriors played them twice last season and won both contests — once in the preseason and the other in the Division II semifinals.
“Last year, they were young. This year, they’re going to be a lot more seasoned. So, we have a big challenge on our hands,” Rapozo said. “Knowing we beat them the last two times and that we’re going to their house, which they call ‘The Imu,’ … it’s pretty electrifying that place. Their crowd is spectacular. It’s going to be another good experience for us to go into a hostile environment with a top-notch Division II team. And I’m pretty sure they want to beat us this time.”
Waimea will also open its season on-island and will host BIIF’s Waiakea on Aug. 13 at either Hanapepe Stadium or Vidinha Stadium. Location and time is to be determined.
“We would prefer to play it at Hanapepe, of course, but either/or is fine. We just got to adjust,” said Menehune head coach Jason Caldeira.
Caldeira added about the season-opening game: “We got to challenge them last year. It’s two completely different teams. It’s going to be exciting to see what kind of adjustments we both make. It should be competitive.”
The Menehune will play on Oahu to close out the preseason. Waimea will play at Iolani of the ILH at 2 p.m. Aug. 20.
“It’s a great opportunity for our school, for our program, to challenge someone in the D1,” Caldeira said. “It’s a great opportunity for our kids to get that experience against the upper level. Hopefully, we can do well and bring that into our KIF season.”
Kauai High opens its campaign on Aug. 13 and will face Saint Francis School of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. That matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Vidinha Stadium.
The Red Raiders will then fly off to the Big Island the following week.
Kauai will play at Kamehameha Schools–Hawaii of the Big Island Interscholastic Association on Aug. 20. The junior varsity game is scheduled for 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
Kauai High varsity football head coach Derek Borrero couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
The KIF regular season opener is set for Aug. 26. Kapaa will host Kauai High at the Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex. The JV game will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.