HANAPEPE — Kapaa High running back Baba Na-O scored two touchdowns to lead the Warriors to a 24-0 win over Waimea High Friday night during a Kauai Interscholastic Federation football game at Hanapepe Stadium.
Warrior quarterback Kahanu Davis added a score, and La‘akea Gonsalves booted a field goal to round out the victory in a matchup scarred by penalties and cooled by passing showers blowing down from the Kalaheo plateau during the Menehune homecoming game.
“We need to clean this up,” Kapaa coach Philip Rapozo said to his team following the victory. “We keep saying we’re going to clean the mistakes, but we keep doing this … we get a good play and it goes nowhere. We’re going to do it now.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Waimea’s point-after-touchdowns made the difference in the junior varsity match, where the Menehune held on for a 14-12 edge over the JV Warriors.
Chasing a touchdown deficit, the JV Warriors got on the board with 3.3 ticks remaining in the first half when Cody Yadao connected with Kaikea Tandal on a 55-yard scoring pass. Kapaa’s point-after boot failed and Waimea took a 7-6 edge into the break.
Aukai Emayo led the JV Menehune to a 36-yard touchdown coming back from the locker rooms, and Haweo Akea did the PAT honors for the 14-6 go-ahead.
Kapaa answered the challenge in the final period when Tandal found the end zone at the tail of a five-yard charge with 4:56 showing in regulation play. The two-point conversion effort failed and the Menehune celebrated their two-point victory.
The Warrior varsity redeemed its shortcoming by the JV boys by striking early, forcing the Menehune to punt after failing to convert on its first possession.
Davis engineered a 28-yard pass that ended in Gonsalves’ hands to set up the score from the Menehune 14-yard stripe and closing the door on a Na-O three-yard charge to the promised land with less than three minutes peeled off the clock. Gonsalves did the PAT boot for the 7-0 bump.
Waimea answered by moving the ball to inside the Kapaa 35-yard line before meeting the stiffened Warrior defense that partially blocked the Waimea field goal attempt.
With 20.9 ticks in the first half, Kapaa upped the ante when Davis kept the ball on a six-yard carry to score, Gonsalves doing the PAT boot for the 14-0 halftime reading.
As time wound down in the third quarter, the Warriors lit up the boards on a Gonsalves field goal that came from the Waimea 26-yard line on a fourth-and-three with 11.4 seconds showing in the period.
Na-O iced the game in the final period, pushing for a one-yard touchdown run in traffic, and Gonsalves put his foot on a perfect three-for-three PAT night, the evening’s celebration including the singing of “Happy Birthday” to Micah Tabura before the lights started cutting out in consideration of the fledging season for endangered seabirds.
“We didn’t like what we saw on the scoreboard,” said Waimea coach Jason Caldeira. “What we saw was a bunch of guys pull together and sweat it out until the end. I’m more proud of them for what they did tonight than last week.
“Yeah, we gotta work on our defense, our execution, our mental game. But one thing for sure, the boys played with heart tonight. I’m pleased.”