HANAPEPE — “Boss, I don’t even have money for this,” Hanapepe Colts Junior Varsity coach Kyle Linoz said as the clock wound down on the team’s 28-0 win over the Waianae Tigers during Saturday’s Pop Warner Regional Championship.
The victory at the game hosted by the Kauai Pop Warner Football League earned the team rights to advance to the Pop Warner National Super Bowl in Orlando, Florida, in December.
“It’s been a while since Kauai was able to send a team to the national games,” said KPWFL president Teddy Arroyo. “I can’t remember who the last team was that went to Florida. This year, we’re sending the Hanapepe junior varsity team along with cheer squads from Hanapepe and Kapaa.”
Coming off a 16-14 squeaker in Kona last week, Hanapepe got down to business early at Hanapepe Stadium, scoring on its first possession when Makoa Vanaman swung right and romped 40 yards to paydirt.
Sean Mullikin, the Colts’ quarterback, did the point-after boot on a bullet for the 8-0 go-ahead.
Waianae Tigers answered the call, driving to the Colts’ 10-yard line before losing the ball on a Vanaman fumble recovery to preserve the lead.
“Align and assign,” Linoz said. “It’s what they did, and it helped to start in a good spot.”
Elijah Henderson broke the plane for the Colts’ second touchdown less than two minutes into the second quarter after finding a hole to start his 48-yard run to paydirt.
Mullikin added his second PAT boot for the 16-0 margin with 8:22 showing in the first half.
With a lot of game remaining, Henderson was not done, recovering a fumble on the Tigers’ 27-yard line with 7:30 showing in the half. This set up another Hanapepe touchdown when Mullikin took to the air, Harley Ragasa pulling in the 12-yard aerial. The PAT failed to give the Colts a 22-0 bulge with 6:41 showing.
The Colts’ defense clinched the win less than a minute later when Landen Kaneholani forced a fumble that wobbled into the end zone and Blayke Torres pouncing on the loose ball for the 28-0 margin that tripped the running clock into action with 5:10 showing in the half.
“It’s going to be lonely,” said Tori Kagawa, a Waimea Canyon Middle School teacher. “About half of this team is in my class.”
In other KPWFL action, Kapaa Eagles Mitey Mites’ Nash Burkart’s point-after boot gave the Eagles an 8-6 lead at the half.
But Koloa Redskins’ quarterback Keanu Kanoho found Benjamin Baxter for the second time for a 75-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to give Koloa a 12-8 win over the Eagles.
Kanoho found Baxter in the first quarter for a three-yard score that was answered when the Eagles’ Nainoa Simmons kept the ball for a four-yard score, Burkart’s PAT kick giving the Eagles its halftime lead.
Lihue Red Raiders’ Mitey Mite quarterback Racen Pegeder picked up touchdowns in the second and fourth quarters to give the Lihue Mitey Mites the KPWFL champions with a 14-0 win over the Hanapepe Colts in the game that preceded the Regional championship game.
Pegeder broke a 0-0 stalemate on a one-yard run with 1:56 showing in the half, and upped the ante on a 12-yard keeper with 3:09 showing in the game. He booted the PAT for the 14-0 final.