LIHUE — The Red Raiders scored 20 points in the second half to upset the No. 1 ranked Division II team in the state.
Kauai High School’s varsity football team defeated Kapaa, 20-16, Saturday afternoon at Vidinha Stadium for its first win of the season.
“I’m only now realizing that we beat the No. 1 team. They’re still No. 1, right?” Kauai head coach Derek Borrero said after the game. “It hit me right now in front of these kids. We never focused on that. We just focused on improving every single day.”
After trailing by 17 points, Kauai (1-6, 1-4 KIF) went on to score 20 unanswered.
The go-ahead score came late in the fourth quarter off an 8-yard run by Red Raiders junior running back Jaykob Nakaahiki-Young.
“We had a good week of practice. We’ve had good weeks, and it just came together today. It was our time. I told the boys that when it’s our time, it’s our time. We just got to continue to work hard every day,” Borrero said. “The boys played good. We didn’t play a perfect game, but we played consistent enough today. And I’m just really proud of them.”
Following the Red Raiders’ score, Kapaa (6-1, 4-1 KIF) tried to rally back but to no avail. Warriors senior quarterback Kurt Napoleon threw two interceptions in the period, the latter to Red Raiders junior defensive back Christian Manera — who is also the team’s starting quarterback — with less than a minute left in the game.
“It’s a blessing. It feels really good to take down the No. 1 team for Division II,” Manera said. “The seniors, they’ve been waiting four years. They’ve been waiting four years to beat the men in green, and it finally happened. It’s a great feeling. We’re all just blessed.”
Manera had two throwing touchdowns in the game, both in the third quarter. He was also one of the team’s leaders defensively with two interceptions and five tackles.
“We just had fun. All our preparation throughout the weeks, we took it very seriously,” Manera. “We knew we had nothing to lose, and they had everything to lose. We just played with our hearts out and came away with that W.”
The Warriors’ loss is the first in the regular season since head coach Philip Rapozo took over in 2014. Kauai’s 20 points is also the first Kapaa has given up in the regular season since Rapozo took over.
“First of all, hats off to the Red Raiders, Coach Borrero and his crew,” Rapozo said. “The whole team, they beat us. We got beat. We didn’t beat ourselves. We’re not going to make that excuse this time. We got beat. We just got to get back to work.”
Kapaa had a 17-0 lead in the third quarter, capped off with an 11-yard touchdown run by Warriors senior Kapena Texeira — who is typically a defensive lineman.
Rapozo said all he and his team can do is accept the loss, and hopefully they’ll be better for it.
“Take this in. Feel it,” he said. “Nobody feels good right now in Kapaa football. But accept it, take it all in, and see what we can do now. We cannot erase that. It’s done. Now, what will we do moving forward?”
Kapaa can still clinch a third-consecutive Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship and a Division II state tournament berth with a win next weekend.
“I think it’s a big wake-up call before our next game,” said Warriors senior linebacker Jayson Hawthorne. “We need to work a lot harder, and become more of a team — become one.”
Kapaa will play Waimea (3-3, 2-2 KIF) on Saturday at either Vidinha Stadium or Hanapepe Stadium. Location is to be determined. The junior varsity game will begin at noon and the varsity will follow.
Kauai will next play on Oct. 22 versus Waimea.
11:00 KAPAA Makena Tabura 19-yard run, Clifton Oliver PAT good, 7-0 Kapaa
06:52 KAPAA Clifton Oliver 45-yard field goal, 10-0 Kapaa
06:16 KAPAA Kapena Texeira 11-yard run, Clifton Oliver PAT good, 17-0 Kapaa
03:35 KAUAI Anthony Akau 2-yard reception from Christian Manera, Kamuela Numazawa PAT good, 17-7 Kapaa
01:17 KAUAI Jaykob Nakaahiki-Young 10-yard reception from Christian Manera, Kamuela Numazawa PAT no good, 17-13 Kapaa
05:17 KAUAI Jaykob Nakaahiki-Young 8-yard run, Kamuela Numazawa PAT good, 20-17 Kauai
Passing: Christian Manera, 14-25, 189 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Rushing: Jaykob Nakaahiki-Young, 17 carries, 66 yards, 1 touchdown
Receiving: Jasper Jacinto, 4 receptions, 57 yards
Defense: Christian Manera, 5 tackles, 2 interceptions
Passing: Kurt Napoleon, 7-20, 74 yards, 3 interceptions
Rushing: Kurt Napoleon, 11 carries, 53 yards
Receiving: Nakela Snyder, 4 receptions, 46 yards
Defense: Mana Kupihea, 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery