Kapaa quarterback Kahanu Davis admits to feeling added pressure when preparing to face Kaimuki High School at 2 p.m. Saturday at Vidinha Stadium.
For the Warriors’ senior quarterback, the finality of this game is the harsh reality staring him in the face.
If his team loses, it could be the final game in his high school career.
“I don’t know how I am going to react,” Davis admitted.
Davis is familiar with pregame jitters, but this time, as his team prepares to enter the Hawaii High School Athletics Association semifinal game against the off-island team from Oahu, is different.
“Those first-minute jitters are always the worst, but it could be a little different, this last game,” he said. “We have to play our hearts out because we are only guaranteed one more week, and the most two weeks. These last four years have just flown by.”
No Small game
Davis and his Warrior teammates won’t lose intensity.
Davis admits Warriors’ football coach Phillip Rapozo won’t allow that as they anxiously await their challengers.
“Our coach has been on us, and we are always ready for what is coming up,” Davis said. “They push us to go a couple of days hard, and our team hits hard during the week, our coaches have done a great job getting us, and making sure our players get rest.”
Davis understands what it is like to hoist a state championship trophy in another sport.
The three-sport athlete in football, soccer, and track was a member of the Warriors’ team that won the Hawaii High School Athletics Association state soccer championship this year.
He said he learned something from hoisting an HHSAA state championship.
“We kept talking about how we played the game not to lose when we should have played to win,” Davis said. “We talked to each other the whole game about that, and no matter what the score that is possible to win a state championship, and is on each other, and just play to win.”
Building a connection
Kaimuki’s quarterback, Jayden Maiava, is one of the most inked players in recent years. At 6 feet, 5 inches tall, he’s generated interest from mainland powerhouses such as Auburn, BYU, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
He passed for 3,013 yards, 36 touchdowns, and only six interceptions on the season.
Davis and his primary running back, Baba Na-o, don’t have the eye-popping statistics published on scoringlive.com, partially because only a portion of their stats are posted on the famous football social networking site.
Davis and Baba Na-o are two of the team leaders, and Rapozo gave the two players a glowing endorsement.
“When Davis conditions, he is always in the front, and that is a sign of a good leader,” Rapozo said. “He is on a mission, and he is a confident player and believes in his teammates, and he doesn’t shy away from challenges, and as a quarterback, you have to have that mentality.”
Baba Na-o, another player that gains chunks of yards in between the tackles, knew of Davis’s prowess when they played against each other in Pop Warner.
Davis, a native of Kalaheo, recalls Baba Na’s skill set when they were youngsters learning the nuances of the game.
“We’ve had that chemistry since middle school, and we got to play more together with more my sophomore years,” Baba Na-o recalls. “We just have had chemistry since junior year kicked off, and just connected.”
Baba Na-o admitted tremendous respect for his upcoming opponents, a team they defeated 20-12 in the semifinals of last year’s Division II matchup.
He knows this year will present more of a challenge.
The Bulldogs are stockpiled with an arsenal of offensive weapons, with several players getting looked at by NCAA Division I teams
“This is a big opportunity for us,” Baba Na-o said. “I am humbled and blessed to play this game, and hopefully, we get to make it to the state afterward. We have to play our game, and together we will be unstoppable.”