HANAPEPE — The Waimea High School and Kauai High School football team were only playing for pride in their season-finale Saturday at Hanapepe Stadium.
With the Kappa Warriors, wrapping up the KIF stadium, both the Menehune and Red Raiders were trying to conclude the KIF season with a win.
All season, Kauai High School remained competitive in the first half, only to lose early momentum they established in the second half, and that storyline held in Waimea’s 41-13 victory Saturday afternoon at Hanapepe Stadium.
Throughout the first half, the football game was competitive.
The Red Raiders drew first blood scoring on their opening sequence, but the 6-0 lead was shortlived. After Waimea High running Kawelo Huddy scampered to the Kauai’s 27-yard line, it set up a pitch from running back Makoa Vanaman to Huddy setting up the first Waimea High School touchdown to make it 7-6 with 39 seconds left to go in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Menehune again got another scoring chance when Kealii Mattos blocked a Red Raiders punt attempt, and it was recovered at the 4-yard-line.
That is when the Menehune called on the “Waimea Special,” when Huddy connected with quarterback Maka Shigematsu for a touchdown to give Waimea a 13-6 lead after a failed 2-point conversion.
The Red Raiders followed the Menehune scoring with a successful drive of their own that ended in a touchdown pass when Kauai High quarterback Andrew Passi connected with Easton Luis for a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone with 9:02 left in the half.
That touchdown would conclude the scoring for the Red Raiders for the rest of the game, and the KIF season.
Makoa Vanaman turned a routine pass into a 34-yard touchdown run to give Waimea a 20-13 lead headed into halftime.
The Menehune would only score once in the third quarter, but that was all they would need to give them a definitive advantage during the game.
With Kauai pinned deep in their territory, Isahn Ulanday recovered a fumble from giving Waimea a 27-13 lead in the third quarter.
Late in the fourth quarter, the relentless pressure the Menehune defense applied to the Red Raiders offense forced another fatal miscue.
Passi threw an interception to Ulanday, who proceeded to take it the distance for another Menehune score, which gave them a commanding 33-13 lead.
After a couple of unsuccessful possessions, Waimea got the ball back late in the game and proceeded to move the ball.
Mostly utalizing running backs Cory Soares, and Huddy, they were able to position themselves for a score after several penalties nullified big runs.
Huddy proceeded to score with 38 seconds left to conclude the scoring and the KIF season for both teams.
Both Waimea, and Kauai High, have showcased promise all season, and both concluded a successful season in which they will cheer on Kappa as the island representatives in the state playoffs.
Kauai High School coach Jason Apilado praised his team’s efforts in a previous interview with the Garden Island.
“The kids have shrugged off all of our setbacks, and they have come ready to play all season,” Apilado told the Garden Island in a previous interview. “Our kids are playing for each other, and that is the main thing.”
Waimea High School coach Jason Caldeira told the Garden Island in a previous interview how proud he is of his team all season.
“Everyday, it’s fun watching them grow in practice, not just as football players, but as young men,” Caldeira said in a previous Garden Island interview.
Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.