LIHUE — It will still be a while before football season starts, but fans can get a small glance of what’s to come this year.
Kauai High School will host seven-on-seven scrimmages on July 13 and July 20 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Games will be held on Kauai High’s football practice field behind the gym.
“For me, second season, and I’m pretty excited,” said Jason Apilado, Kauai High School varsity football head coach. “The kids have been working hard since spring session started, about mid-February, so they’ve been on the field for a long time.
“Strength-wise, I think we’re a lot stronger this year. Our numbers are pretty healthy, pretty good. All I’m going to say is we haven’t changed anything. We’re perfectionists. We’re working on perfecting on what we’ve started last year. I think this year overall, we got more team speed versus we had a lot of size last year. Overall, defensively and offensively, I think we’ll be OK.”
The scrimmages are open to the public, and a small concession stand is being planned for, Apilado said.
“It’s mostly for the skill players — our quarterbacks we have in rotation, our receivers and our running backs,” Apilado said of the scrimmages. “Our lineman are basically there for moral support, which they do a great job. I think it allows us to take a look at our skills personnel — to assess their route running, their speed and their technique. And, of course, our quarterbacks and their reads.
“We’ll allow them to play loose. It’s not a win-or-lose situation. It’s more or less another practice, for us to go up against who we’re possibly going to see defensively. So, it’s a good way for all the coaches all the way around the KIF to take a look and see what everybody’s got.”
All three Kauai Interscholastic Federation teams will compete — Kauai, Kapaa and Waimea high schools.
“We’re going to be young this year, but talented. I’m excited,” said Philip Rapozo, Kapaa High School varsity football head coach. “I’m looking forward to defending our KIF title. I’m looking forward to competing against two really good teams. All three teams should be evenly matched, which will bring a great KIF season for the fans.”
In the seven-on-sevens games, players will not be in full uniform and will not tackle.
“It’s always helpful. We’re not going up against ourselves like every day in practice,” Rapozo said. “We get to get a peak at what the other guys are looking like at positions. For me, most of all, it’s just hanging out with the other teams — the camaraderie of competition more than anything else.
“I don’t think if you win sevens, you’re going to win KIF, but at least we’ll get to hang out for a day. I think the good thing about this league is all three schools, the head coaches and assistant coaches all respect each other. We can do this kind of stuff without any drama. Just go there, have fun and hang out.”
Waimea head coach Jason Caldeira, too, said the scrimmages aren’t a totally serious thing but that it’s good for his players to see action against other players.
“You don’t really put any stock into it. It’s not going to determine the winner of the KIF,” Caldeira said. “You pretty much use it, to me, it’s more for fun for the kids to finally get some scrimmage against other guys. We’ve been running seven-on-seven against each other. Now they get some type of competition, which really doesn’t mean much, but it gets them excited for the season to compete against the other schools.
“How we use it, if you’re a passing school, of course you’re going to use all of this to get better for the season. In the past, we were an under center, run-dominant team. So, it really didn’t help us much, but it just gave us some fun on the offensive side. And defensively, it helps everybody. You’re getting reps against different quarterbacks and receivers.”
Preseason football is scheduled to begin Aug. 3 when Kauai High plays against Kalaheo High School on Oahu. The KIF season starts Aug. 30 with Kapaa playing against Waimea at Vidinha Stadium.
“Just busy. Seven-on-sevens is right before you start the busy time,” Caldeira said. “Before you know, you’re at camp. Then next thing you know, it’s preseason, then it’s the (regular) season. So, we’re just really busy and just trying to get everything going in the right direction before everything starts rolling.”
2019 KIF football schedule (subject to change)
Aug. 3: Kauai vs. Kalaheo, at Kalaheo, varsity starts 7 p.m.
Aug. 10: Kapaa vs. Hawaii Prep, at Vidinha Stadium, varsity starts 7 p.m.
Aug. 17: Waimea vs. Honokaa, at Hanapepe Stadium, varsity starts 7 p.m.; Kapaa vs. Lahainaluna, at Lahainaluna, varsity starts 7 p.m.
Aug. 23: Waimea vs. Orange Glen, at Hanapepe Stadium, varsity starts 7 p.m.
Aug. 24: Kauai vs. Maui, at Vidinha Stadium, junior varsity starts 5 p.m., varsity follows
KIF regular season
Aug. 30: Kapaa vs. Waimea, at Vidinha Stadium, JV starts 5 p.m., varsity follows
Sept. 6: Kauai vs. Kapaa, at Vidinha Stadium, JV starts 5 p.m., varsity follows
Sept. 13: Waimea vs. Kauai, at Hanapepe Stadium, JV starts 5 p.m., varsity follows
Sept. 20: Waimea vs. Kapaa, at Hanapepe Stadium, JV starts 5 p.m., varsity follows
Sept. 27: Kapaa vs. Kauai, at Vidinha Stadium, JV starts 5 p.m., varsity follows
Oct. 5: Kauai vs. Waimea, at Vidinha Stadium, JV starts 12 p.m., varsity follows
Oct. 19: Kapaa vs. Waimea, at Vidinha Stadium, JV starts 12 p.m., varsity follows
Oct. 26: Kauai vs. Kapaa, at Vidinha Stadium, JV starts 12 p.m., varsity follows
Nov. 2: Waimea vs. Kauai, at Hanapepe Stadium, JV starts 12 p.m., varsity follows
Nov. 9: KIF playoff, if needed, to be determined
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.