LIHUE — The Warriors scored its only points in the fourth quarter and held on to stay unbeaten.
Kapaa High School’s varsity football team defeated Waimea, 3-0, Saturday afternoon at Vidinha Stadium on the school’s homecoming.
“That was a battle,” said Kapaa head coach Philip Rapozo. “Waimea came and they put it to us, you know? … They had us on the ropes. We were lucky. We scored, and we made plays when we had to. That’s what I thought how it would be from the beginning of the year. I think that’s what we’re going to see from now on — battles.”
Warriors senior kicker Clifton Oliver scored the team’s lone score off a 22-yard field goal early in the last period.
Prior to that go-ahead kick, Oliver missed a couple of attempts from 28 yards and 45 yards — the latter kick was missed just as time expired at the end of the second quarter.
“I was calm. I had nothing, no pressure in me,” Oliver said of the kick.
Oliver added about winning on homecoming: “It means a lot. I’m thankful we got the win, and thankful for everything that happened. All I can do from this is learn and get better.”
Kapaa (6-0, 4-0 KIF) drove to the Waimea 1-yard line in the third quarter.
Menehune senior defensive lineman Keoni Gaorian sacked Warriors quarterback Teili Fonua to force a fumble, and another Menehune got the recovery to prevent Kapaa from scoring.
Rapozo said while he’d prefer to win handily, the fact that the outcome was so close could be a blessing in disguise.
“Right now, you feel like, ‘Oh, man.’ You’re so used to winning by big margins, but you got to take the good out of this,” he said. “We pulled off a win against a physical, well-coached team.”
In the following possession after Oliver’s go-ahead kick, Waimea (2-3, 1-2 KIF) had a chance at a late game-tying or game-winning drive, getting to the Kapaa 5-yard line.
But then the Warriors forced a turnover themselves to prevent the Menehune from scoring. Warriors senior linebacker Mana Kupihea got the saving fumble recovery.
“I’m very proud of my team, and I’m very proud of my staff for all the hard work they put into this game,” said Waimea head coach Jason Caldeira. “Even though we came up short, we can walk out with our heads held high. … Our kids, they dug deep and played with all their heart.”
Menehune senior defensive lineman Storm Costales said despite the loss, the team felt good about its performance against the Warriors.
“We worked harder this week than in the first week against them,” Costales said. “We did good against them that first game, but we came up short. But this week, we worked really hard and tried our best. We really wanted to beat them, and we just worked our hearts out.”
Waimea on numerous occasions undid its efforts with penalties. The Menehune were flagged 14 times — most notably back-to-back calls for unsportsmanlike conduct in the third quarter.
“Like we said all year, mental mistakes will hurt us,” Caldeira said. “We got to keep getting better. But like I said earlier, I’m proud of my boys and of my coaching staff. It’s going to hurt, of course, being on the other end. But I’m very confident that we’ll get better from this game on.”
Waimea will match up against Kauai High (0-5, 0-3 KIF) at Vidinha Stadium on Saturday. The junior varsity game will begin at noon and the varsity will follow.
Kapaa will next play on Oct. 8 at Vidinha Stadium versus Kauai.
09:47 KAPAA Clifton Oliver 22-yard field goal, 3-0 Kapaa
Passing: Kurt Napoleon, 6-16, 73 yards
Rushing: Leighton Moniz, 16 carries, 66 yards
Receiving: Leighton Moniz, 2 reception, 35 yards
Defense: Dillon Apilado, 3 tackles, 1 pass deflection
Passing: Ardino Ned, 3-6, 22 yards
Rushing: Cody Taniguchi, 18 carries, 81 yards
Receiving: Caleb Ephan, 1 reception, 22 yards
Defense: Waika Corr, 8 tackles