LIHUE — The Menehune boys got the game’s lone score to earn their first regular season win.
Waimea High School’s varsity football team defeated Kauai High, 7-0, Friday evening at Vidinha Stadium.
“I thought it was a tough battle. I thought both teams showed a lot of heart — a lot of passion,” said Menehune head coach Jason Caldeira. “It could have gone either way. I’m glad we pulled out a victory, but still a lot of work to do.”
The only score came in the closing seconds of the second quarter. Menehune senior running back Cody Taniguchi dove in for a 1-yard run into the endzone.
“It felt good. We were trying to drive the ball down, and their defense was pretty strong. They were holding us back,” Taniguchi said of the scoring play. “We’re just glad to get on the board.”
Prior to the touchdown, Taniguchi converted a 36-yard field goal, but Kauai was flagged for a personal foul.
Rather than decline the penalty to keep the three points, Waimea (2-2, 1-1 KIF) opted to accept it in hopes to scoring a touchdown, which paid off in this case.
“It wasn’t a big deal. I felt we could punch it in,” Caldeira said of the decision to take that penalty.
Waimea initially scored on a 14-yard run by junior running back Avery Miguel, but a holding penalty took away the score.
Caldeira said the team showed him that it could push through tough times, which he hopes will roll over into the next game.
“We were forced to step up. Kauai High played really tough tonight, and we were forced to rise up to the occasion,” he said. “Always a good test, to be tested in the fourth quarter, that was a positive — that we stepped up.”
Kauai High (0-4, 0-2 KIF) was dealt misfortune at inopportune times.
In addition to the penalty which led to giving up seven points rather than three, a facemask penalty in the second quarter took away an interception from Red Raiders junior defensive back Noah Ho’opi’i.
Also, a bad snap on a punt led to the Red Raiders turning the ball over on its own 20-yard line in the first quarter.
“It’s frustrating. It seems like we’re paddling hard, but we’re not going anywhere,” said Red Raiders head coach Derek Borrero. “Definitely, the kids and the coaches are putting in the work that’s needed on and off the field. But we are not able to achieve success. … You cannot take away anything from Waimea. They played inspired.”
“The last thing we need to do is point fingers. No one is doing that right now, and we don’t expect anyone to do that,” he added. “I think, all in all, we just need to continue to work hard, have the blinders on and continue to put in the work.”
Kauai opted to pass often and did show flashes. A 31-yard reception by senior receiver Jasper Jacinto by junior quarterback Christian Manera energized the team and the Red Raiders crowd.
However, the Red Raiders couldn’t string together positive gains to sustain drives.
Though Kauai has yet to get a win this season, Borrero said the team “isn’t finished yet.”
“I got a bunch of rascal boys that have a lot of fight in them,” he said. “The positive to me, that overrides everything, is that they got a lot of fight. Once you lose the fight, you’re done. These boys, these young men, they’re not done.
“It’s two games in the season, and we got four more to go. We’re very anxious to prove to ourselves that we can rebound — that we can rebound from situations like this, that we can rebound from losses like this, and just get better every single day,” he said.
Kauai High won the junior varsity contest, 30-6.
Kauai Interscholastic Federation football games will switch to Saturday afternoons starting next week.
Kauai will play Kapaa (4-0, 2-0 KIF) at Vidinha Stadium on Saturday. The JV game will begin at 12 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
Waimea will next play on Sept. 24 against Kapaa.