Kapaa High School football coach Philip Rapozo said preparing for a playoff football game is different than the regular season.
The second-seeded Warriors will host third-seed Kaimuki Bulldogs at 2 p.m. Nov. 23 at Vidinha Stadium. Their last regular-season game was 51-0 victory over Kauai High on Oct. 26.
Rapozo said he it’s a tactical advantage to have a month to prep for the Bulldogs in the 2019 First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division II football state championships.
Lahainaluna will play the winner of the KS-Hawaii-Roosevelt game on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Kamehameha.
In contrast, the Warriors are already studying film on the Bulldogs.
“What happens this week doesn’t affect us right now,” Rapozo said. “They have to prepare for both teams, and we know who we are playing, and we also get a chance to study film on the other three schools while we wait to play.”
Rapozo said he and his coaching staff they’ve learned from each year they’ve had to prepare for a big game.
“I think in the past we’ve panicked, and we are trying to get so much done, and now instead of having high-intense practices, we are using the classroom as a tool, and we’ve tried to keep the kids focused,” he said. “Going forward in this playoffs, we have to take advantage of our team’s playoff experience, and that comes into play in a big game.”
The Bulldogs come from a pass-first conference in Oahu, Rapozo said.
Quarterback Jayden Maiava has generated 3,013 yards passing with 36 touchdowns on only six interceptions calling on a variety of receivers.
Bulldogs’ wideouts Koby Moananu and Kaulana Kaluna have caught 27 of the 36 touchdowns. Moananu has hauled in 19 of his 55 receptions on the year for touchdowns.
“I am not surprised they’ve put up that kind of offensive numbers,” Rapozo said. “Koby’s got a lot of talent, and in Oahu, they love to air out the ball, and they have a good quarterback, good receivers, and they are a well-coached team.”
Rapozo said the Bulldogs will provide the Warriors with a challenge.
“Usually, when a team is big, there isn’t much athleticism involved,” Rapozo said. “This team has the whole package, and the teams they’ve lost to are good Division I teams.”