LIHUE — The Menehune ran for 322 total yards and scored four rushing touchdowns in their preseason opening game.
Waimea High School’s varsity football team defeated Waiakea of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, 38-0, Saturday afternoon at Vidinha Stadium.
“It’s a good win. It’s a good way to start off the season,” said Waimea head coach Jason Caldeira. “No disrespect to our opponent, but I feel we could have played a cleaner game. Our goal was to have no turnovers and no penalties. We didn’t reach our goal, so I’m disappointed in some of our efforts — our lack of mental toughness in some parts.
“We have a lot of work to do,” he continued. “From here on out, the competition just gets tougher. We need to clean up our act if we want to be competitive in this league.”
Menehune senior running back Cody Taniguchi totaled 165 rushing yards off 15 carries and two touchdowns — a 6-yard run for the team’s first score in the opening quarter, and a 42-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Waimea junior rusher Avery Miguel had 77 yards running off 11 carries and scored 3-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“I felt confident. Our line opened up some big holes,” Taniguchi said. “They were pushing the big boys out of the way, and yeah. Just had to hit it hard.”
Waimea (1-0) also put a lot of pressure on Waiakea’s quarterback, senior Gehrig Octavio, and recorded two sacks.
“That Octavio boy is a good athlete,” Caldeira said. “We got a taste of him last year (in preseason). We saw on film he’s very quick and very athletic. Our D-line did OK, but sometimes we have to be a little bit more disciplined. He got away from us a couple of times. There were times we should have had him. We need to get better.”
The Menehune, however, struggled on special teams. The team was 2-6 on extra-point attempts and missed a 26-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter.
“Those are things we practice every day. There’s no excuse why we did it so poorly today. We need to execute better,” Caldeira said.
Octavio ended the game 6-24 and 74 yards passing with two interceptions.
Waiakea head coach Moku Pita said he didn’t have the majority of his team for Saturday.
Octavio was the only starter, Pita said, while “the rest are young kids.”
“We get everybody back on Monday. We’ll suit up 55 total,” he said. “Today, we only had 22 or 23.”
Despite the result, Pita was happy to see his younger players “play all the way through.”
“Preseason is to show all the young boys. We had 10 that play (junior varsity) that played on our varsity today. So, it is what it is,” Pita said. “They’re fearless. They’re ninth and tenth graders, and they stuck out the whole game.”
Both teams accounted for six penalties each.
Waimea will next play Division I team Iolani of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. The game is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Raiders’ home field.
“They’re a more disciplined team. We just got to get better and stronger, and hit the holes fast again,” Taniguchi said.
Waiakea (0-2) will next play at Honokaa High School at 7:30 p.m Friday.
“It’s another preseason game. It will actually be our first game with all our players,” Pita said. “They’re all going to get their days in pads, and then we’ll have our full team on Friday.”
On Saturday evening, Kauai High hosted Saint Francis School of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu at Vidinha Stadium and Kapaa played at Lahainaluna of the Maui Intescholastic League. Results of those games were not available by press time.