Warriors play like the champions they are about to become

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Kapaa quarterback Kahanu Davis pushes against the defense of Kauai’s Joshua Galiza and Dahlus Hood for a first down in the fourth quarter during a Kauai Interscholastic Federation football game at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue in September.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Kapaa quarterback Kahanu Davis comes through traffic for a 9-yard pick up in the second quarter of a Kauai Interscholastic Federation football game at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue in September.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Kapaa quarterback Kahanu Davis is pursued by a pack of Raider defenders, led by Kekoa Wehner, in the third quarter of a Kauai Interscholastic Federation football game at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue earlier this season.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Kapaa quarterback Kahanu Davis shakes off the Waimea defense of Keanu Fernandez for a short gain in the second quarter of a Kauai Interscholastic Federation football game at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue earlier this season.

One aspect that makes watching sports compelling from the spectator’s perspective is analyzing piles of statistical data we have available to us.

Before the point-and-click era, statistical information on prep athletes was limited to whatever the local newspaper or high school beat writer obtained from opposing coaches and athletic directors, or provided by the opposing team’s paper.

Often, the information obtained on the out-of-town opposition was limited to bare-bones basics, and that is if you were fortunate.

In today’s era of social media, finding information on high school athletes is just one Google search away.

You can find as much information as an NCAA Division I or NFL team used to have access to exclusively. It is now available to anyone that wants to see it.

Thank you, social media.

Sites such as Maxpreps.com and www.scoringlive.com make acquiring data easy.

There are still traditional ways, such as reading the local newspaper, to find up-to-date coverage and analysis of upcoming games.

Gone are the days coaches have to meet each other at the local quick mart to exchange VHS tapes.

Before the evolution of the internet, this form of professional courtesy was a regular occurrence.

Believe the hype

Having access to the plethora of data heightens the anticipation of the game itself.

One case of this is the Kapaa-Kaimuki Hawaii High School Athletic Association semifinal football game, which the Warriors won 35-28 to advance to play Lahainaluna High School Friday at Aloha Stadium in the rematch of the 2018 HHSAA Division II championship game.

When glancing at the statistical data on the Kaimuki Bulldogs, it was natural to anticipate the off-island talent coming to Lihue to play the Warriors.

The Bulldogs’ statistics were intimidating.

Enough for Warriors’ quarterback Kahuna Davis to get carried away by his opposition’s numbers.

Admittedly, Jayden Maiava is a purely gifted athlete, and his measurable statistics are intimidating. So much so, Davis could recite Maiava’s wide receiver Koby Moananu’s statistics verbatim as if they were embedded in his subconscious.

Maiava’s numbers are worth repeating.

Still, perhaps more compelling is his 6-foot, 5-inch frame as a sophomore that has generated looks from mainland powerhouse NCAA Division I colleges such as Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn, who have started the process of trying to obtain this blue-chip recruit’s commitment.

Numbers don’t lie

Maiava and Moananu certainly didn’t disappoint, and neither did their team.

Maiava’s effortless release of the football is easy to get swept away in, knowing you are watching another exceptional athlete from Hawaii.

And against the Warriors’ top-ranked defense, he lived up to expectations.

The effect on the Kapaa defense, which had permitted fewer than 50 points all season and with the most points allowed coming against Division II defending champion Laihanaluna in a preseason tilt, could have been disastrous.

Once Maiava settled down, he began carving up one of the state’s best defenses.

The Warriors’ defense played as well as they usually do, but Maiava is just that darn good.

You could make comparisons to other legendary Hawaii-born stars, but must refrain because getting looks from the SEC is pressure enough for the sophomore.

The numbers Maiava generated are enough to think Kaimuki won.

Maiava was 28-of-42 passing, with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Thanks to Kapaa linebacker Jeffrey Brown for that last stat line.

Maiava had the pre-game hype, but it was Kapaa senior quarterback Davis’ performance that stole the show.

Davis, who achieved an HHSAA Division II soccer championship, told The Garden Island in a pre-game interview he was going to utilize the psychological tactics that allowed his soccer team to hoist a championship trophy.

During the Division II state championship soccer match, the Warriors played to win and not lose, Davis said.

Throughout the whole game, the Warriors reminded each other of this, as if they could be embedded in each others’ minds enough to believe it, and win.

The tactic the three-sport athlete learned in soccer and applied in football worked, and worked twice.

It was as if Davis willed himself and his Warriors to the rematch of the championship game, and just looking at the intent he is playing with, he is reassured this year Kapaa won’t be denied a championship title.

Davis’ statistics in Saturday’s semifinal were eye-popping. He had 174 yards on the ground, and three rushing touchdowns.

Davis showcased exceptional peripheral vision and foresight, and each touchdown run was more dazzling and effortless than the previous.

He can also throw the ball, but he didn’t have to. Head coach Philip Rapozo and his staff stuck to their game plan, which required Davis to throw only six times.

It was smart and efficient. Keep the explosive Bulldogs’ offense where they need to be: off the field.

Davis completed four of those passes, and one of them was to Dreyden Iwamoto, who caught his sole touchdown pass.

Davis is a guy who appears to be about his team and not individual accolades, yet the semifinal was about him carrying his excellent supporting cast to another championship final.

The combination of good coaches, good team camaraderie and one outstanding individual are the reasons Kapaa is in their fourth state title game during the Rapozo era.

Next week will include another round of statistical breakdowns, but the double-take belongs to Davis, along with his team and coaching staff, at the conclusion of the semifinal game.

Believe the championship trophy is coming home to Kauai, and believe Davis will be carrying it. ore importantly, believe the hype about the Kapaa Warriors.

•••

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

1 Comments
  1. harry oyama November 25, 2019 7:00 pm Reply

    College football prospects shouldn’t even consider going to UH Manoa loser football program, better to invest in mainland powerhouses that will not only give you a higher potential in the NFL, but also more educational opportunities.

    The minute stupid UH decided not to renew June Jones comeback, spelled its failure to again be placed in the BCS bowl contention. Do you see any NFL teams interested in the UH football team? No, they’ll rather go to the high school teams.


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