HANAPEPE — The Red Raiders held off a Menehune second half push to win the regular season opening game.
Kauai High School’s varsity football team defeated Waimea, 34-20, Friday evening at Hanapepe Stadium.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” said Kauai High head coach Derek Borrero. “We know what kind of athletes they got on the Waimea side. We just came off slow and made a lot of mistakes. That’s all you need to do to get a good team back in the game. We gave the third quarter away, and we got the fourth quarter back, which was enough to win the ball game.”
Kauai High (2-1, 1-0 KIF) scored four touchdowns in the first half. Capitalizing off a turnover on a muffed punt, Red Raiders senior Aukai Albao got the recovery and took the ball 23 yards into the end zone to score the team’s first touchdown in the opening quarter.
In that Menehune drive prior to the turnover, Waimea marched down to Kauai’s 21-yard line. A couple of penalties and a sack by Red Raiders junior defensive end Dallas Albao, though, stalled the drive to force the Menehune to punt.
Later in the quarter, Red Raiders senior running back Jaykob Nakaahiki-Young hauled in 46-yard bomb from senior quarterback Christian Manera.
Then minutes before halftime, Red Raiders junior running back Bryceson Abegania scored two touchdowns in the red zone to extend Kauai’s High lead, 28-7.
“Special teams, right? We got that turnover for a touchdown. We spend as much time on special teams as we do on defense and offense. It kind of helped,” Borrero said. “To get that first touchdown, the first one on the board is going to get the momentum right away, and we needed that. That helped us to get the ball rolling.”
Waimea (1-1, 0-1 KIF) then found a second wind and cut the deficit in the third quarter to single digits.
Menehune sophomore fullback Cory Soares scored on a 6-yard run, and senior receiver Dylan Balaan caught a 2-yard pass from junior quarterback Lacin Montemayor in the end zone.
Kauai High held on to its eight-point lead for most of the fourth quarter.
On a drive starting on Waimea’s 45-yard line, Nakaahiki-Young took five consecutive carries and scored on a 6-yard run with less than four minutes left.
“Just all glory goes to God, like we always say. Everything is possible through him,” Nakaahiki-Young said. “I have to give all credit to my line and the coaches. I didn’t do anything. It was them, and it was the coaching.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Menehune senior returner William Kamaka-Riley fumbled and Red Raiders senior Junah Corpuz recovered the ball.
Kauai High killed off the remaining time on the clock for the 34-20 final.
“We got out-coached. We made too many errors. We’re going to go to sleep, wake up tomorrow morning and come right back to work,” said Waimea head coach Jason Caldeira. “Good job to Kauai High. Plenty more season. Just got to get back to work.”
Borrero added: “You look on that other side of the field, there’s 21 guys playing both ways. We’ve got 46. There should be no excuse. Hats off goes to Mr. Jason Caldeira and his football team because to prepare a team like that is not easy. Twenty-one guys? Conditioning? Offense, defense, special teams and conditioning — that’s probably a bigger part of preparing his team for a ball game.”
In the junior varsity game, Kauai and Waimea played to a 7-7 tie.
Waimea will play Kapaa High School (2-0, 0-0 KIF) on Friday at Vidinha Stadium. The JV game will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
Kauai next plays on Sept. 8 against Kapaa.
05:08 KAUAI Aukai Albao muffed punt recovery returned 23 yards, Logan Noice PAT good, 7-0 Kauai
01:45 KAUAI Jaykob-Nakaahiki-Young 46-yard reception from Christian Manera, Logan Noice PAT good, 14-0 Kauai
08:44 WAIMEA Avery Miguel fumble recovery returned 5 yards, Kawelo Huddy PAT good, 14-7 Kauai
03:31 KAUAI Bryceson Abigania 5-yard reception from Christian Manera, Logan Noice PAT good, 21-7 Kauai
01:20 KAUAI Bryceson Abigania 1-yard run, Logan Noice PAT good, 28-7 Kauai
08:08 WAIMEA Cory Soares 6-yard run, Kawelo Huddy PAT no good (blocked), 28-13 Kauai
00:26 WAIMEA Dylan Balaan 2-yard reception from Lacin Montemayor, Kawelo Huddy PAT good, 28-20 Kauai
03:40 KAUAI Jaykob Nakaahiki-Young 6-yard run, Logan Noice PAT good, 34-20 Kauai
Passing: Christian Manera, 11-17, 133 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
Rushing: Jaykob Nakaahiki-Young, 15 carries, 104 yards, 1 touchdown
Receiving: Jaykob Nakaahiki-Young, 4 reception, 68 yards, 1 touchdown
Defense: Zachary Hee, 6 tackles, 1 sack
Passing: Lacin Montemayor, 9-12, 88 yards, 1 touchdown
Rushing: Avery Miguel, 21 carries, 71 yards
Receiving: Dylan Balaan, 4 receptions, 28 yards, 1 touchdown
Defense: Noah Simao, 5 tackles, 1 fumble recovery