One win away from Florida

LIHUE — Kylie Linoz, the Pop Warner Hanapepe Colts Junior Varsity coach, said when they saw the Westside Eagles, the sight reminded him of the Waimea and Kailua high schools’ game, Sunday at the Kealakehe High School field in Kona.

“Whoa,” Linoz said. “There were some big boys. And they were fast! Here we were with our little guys, and one girl!”

The size difference was not the only wall facing the Hanapepe Colts, as the game was delayed for more than an hour.

“It was brutal hot,” said Val Rita, Linoz’s mother who made the trip to support the team. “You think Waimea is hot. It’s nothing compared to how hot it gets in Kona.”

The Colts tackled their obstacles and went to work early, scoring in the first and fourth quarters to hold off the tenacious Eagles, 16-14 at the final horn. The Hanapepe victory earned the Colts a berth to face Waianae Saturday at Hanapepe Stadium for the Junior Varsity Regional title. The regional title earns the winning team a right to the National Pop Warner Super Bowl to be contested in Orlando, Fla., during the first week of December.

Cherie Linoz, the president of the Hanapepe Pop Warner Association, said the difference in the game was the safety in the second quarter that put the Colts up 10-0 at the half.

“I know Landon Kaneholani was in there,” Kylie Linoz said. “But there were at least two other Colts on the play.”

Rita said that was one of the critical plays of the game.

“The Eagles drove to the seven-yard line,” she said. “But they were called for a delay of game, and on a final push, the ball settled inside the one-yard line where the Colts swarmed the ball for the safety.”

Rita did not know that was just one of the swing points of the game.

The Westside Eagles jumped back onto the field in the face of a 10-0 deficit in the third quarter, and Elijah Kahele peeled off the team’s first touchdown on a short run.

“The Eagles’ point-after kick bounced off the poles,” Cherie Linoz said.

“It was 10-6, but there was a lot more game to play.”

Hanapepe scored in the fourth quarter for the 16-6 go ahead after its point-after attempt failed with 1:49 showing in the matchup.

Kahele answered the Colts’ score on the kickoff return, finding paydirt and pulling the Eagles to within two points with 1:02 showing. The ensuing kickoff went over the defense, but the Eagles could not beat the Colts to the ball, the clock running out on the Eagles’ effort.

“This was an amazing trip,” Kylie Linoz said. “I want to thank our team mom, Amber Cabral, and her husband Jonas, along with our association president Cherie, who took care of the team for the entire weekend. This was a working trip. The team practiced and walked the field every day, although they were able to take in the First Hawaiian Bank Hawaii High School Athletic Association state Division II semifinals where Lahainaluna High School beat Konawaena, 28-14. Now, we face Waianae, Saturday — this is the big one.”

Game time for the Hanapepe Colts and Waianae match at Hanapepe Stadium has not been confirmed by Kauai Pop Warner Football League officials at press time. There are four scheduled games on tap Saturday, starting at 8 a.m.

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