The grand finale

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Waimea’s Isahn Ulanday tries to shake off Honoka‘a’s Jason Ponausuia after pulling in a pass from Maka Shigematsu to end the third quarter during a high school preseason football game at Hanapepe Stadium.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Waimea High School quarterback Maka Shigematsu rolls out under the watchful eye of head Kauai Interscholastic Federation official Judge Randal Valenciano in the second half during a football game against Kauai High School at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue.

HANAPEPE — The Waimea High and Kauai High football teams meet today in the final Kauai Interscholastic Federation regular-season game at 2 p.m. at Hanapepe Stadium.

Both teams are playing for pride, as the Kapaa Warriors will be representing the island in the 2019 First Hawaiian Bank Division II football championships.

The Menehune come into the finale with a 2-3 record and a 3-4 overall record against a Red Raiders’ team that is 0-4 in the KIF and 1-5 overall.

Both teams want to finish on a winning note.

This year in the KIF, the Menehune hold the series advantage and are are looking to sweep the Red Raiders for the third time this season.

Waimea defeated Kauai 24-14 on Sept. 13, and 21-7 Oct. 4, and will aim for the trifecta to cap the season.

“I felt that we are learning, and growing on, and off-the-field,” Menehune coach Jason Caldeira said a recent interview with The Garden Island. “We want to be better on, and off the field, and be better as players, and as people.”

Some of their game-breakers will challenge the Red Raiders’ defense.

Kawelo Huddy is a threat to score every time he is in the open-field.

Huddy averages 6.4 per carrying and has 236 yards on the ground. That includes one touchdown and one kickoff return for a touchdown that ignited a 19-point Waimea surge in their fourth-quarter rally against Kauai.

“Our wide receivers and running backs are grasping the flow of our offense,” Caldeira said.

Maka Shigematsu has established himself as a dual-threat quarterback.

Through the air, Shigematsu has completed 42-of-90 passing attempts for 322 yard. He has thrown four touchdown passes and four interceptions.

“Our quarterback is growing, and he is doing such an outstanding job at the position for such a young age,” Caldeira said. “His confidence continues to grow.”

Keeping on eye on No. 1

For the Menehune to win, they’ll have to keep an eye on Kauai High’s wide receiver Malu Ralston.

His numbers, according to scoringlive.com, may not reflect it, with eight receptions for 139 yards, and 17.4 yards per reception, and two touchdown grabs, but every KIF coach in the KIF has designated Ralston as a dangerous receiver.

Kapaa High School coach Philip Rapozo praised Ralston’s game-breaking ability.

“He is a playmaker, and he is making good plays,” Rapozo said of Ralston. “When they throw him the ball, it gives us good experience on what we are going to see a lot in passing, and it will give us good experience headed into the playoffs.”

For Red Raiders’ coach Jason Apilado it has been a series of close-calls.

Two games include the 20-19 off-island loss to Maui High School and 24-14 loss to Waimea High earlier in the season.

The Red Raiders are still a work in progress. On defense, they surrender 128.8 yards passing per game and 142.5 yards rushing per game.

The Red Raiders continue to focus on their young players and roster as they prepare for next season.

“This year, we’ve played in several games where we are a block away from winning,” Apilado said. “Everyone wants to win, and no one is giving up or quitting, and you just have to wake up tomorrow and keep going.”

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Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

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