KAPAA — Though the Warriors haven’t seen game action since winning the Kauai Interscholastic Federation title on Oct. 15, they haven’t taken time off.
In fact, practices have kicked up a notch as the team gears up for the postseason.
“Practices are definitely harder now than in the regular season,” said Warriors senior receiver Gabe Keener during Wednesday’s practice.
“We feel we have to up our game, still progress, get better every day and take these weeks (off) as an advantage,” he said. “It’s different now because it’s more organized in the way we’re doing things so we can get more time in the stuff we need to do.”
Kapaa High School’s varsity football team (7-1 overall, 5-1 KIF) drew the No. 1 seed in the First Hawaiian Bank State Football Championships – Division II tournament, which begins today.
The seedings and bracket for the Division II tournament were released Saturday.
Kapaa varsity head coach Philip Rapozo said last Thursday, before going to Oahu for the Hawaii High School Athletic Association pre-tournament meetings, he would go in with high spirits hoping the team’s record would be enough to ensure at least a first round bye despite the one loss to Kauai High School.
Though he was optimistic Kapaa would draw at least one of the top two seeds, to have actually gotten No. 1 was still “a bit of a surprise.”
“But then if you weigh it out and look at our preseason games and how we played last year, we went as far as any of the six teams in the tournament right now,” he said. “Like I said, I would have been fine with No. 2. But No. 1 is great, you know?”
Warriors senior defensive lineman Kapena Texeira, too, said getting the top-seed is a bit of a shock.
But the team certainly isn’t complaining about it.
“It’s a really big part to our road to success right now,” said Texeira, the KIF Defensive Player of the Year. “Right now, we’re just trying to better ourselves. Not really working on the other team, but working on what we can do within the team to get better.”
The Warriors will be glued to the television today, anticipating the result of the quarterfinal game between Damien Memorial of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and Waialua of the Oahu Interscholastic Association. The game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
The winner of that matchup will face the Warriors in the semifinal Saturday, Nov. 12, at Vidinha Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
“We’ll see after this weekend. We’re all going to get together and go watch it at our coach’s house,” Keener said.
Rapozo said of a potential matchup with either the Monarchs or Bulldogs: “I think whatever happens, that’s what we’ll deal with. I don’t want to get wishful thinking and it bites us in the okole. We’ll just prepare. We’re working on both teams. We’re watching film on both teams. By Friday, we’ll know who’s coming. And we’ll put the following week into that team.”
In the other Division II quarterfinal game, Lahainaluna of the Maui Interscholastic League will square off against OIA’s Waipahu at 3:30 p.m. today at War Memorial Stadium. The winner will face No. 2 seed Konawaena of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation the following week.
“I think this year, all six teams in the Division II playoffs, you can say anybody can win,” Rapozo said. “I think last year, you expected us and Radford. I think people in the state expected us and Radford to be in the championship game. I think this year, no one is really sure. So, I think it’s going to be an exciting tournament.”