The Kahuku football team will play in Las Vegas for the second year in a row, interim head coach Makoa Freitas said today.
On Sept. 9, the Red Raiders will play Utah Division 5A state champion Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) in the inaugural Polynesian Football Classic as the second game of a doubleheader at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Alta (Sandy, Utah) will go against Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) in the opener.
“It’s a good opportunity for the kids, and they’ll get the exposure and a chance to show the nation what they can do,” Freitas said.
Freitas was named the interim coach last month when the Kahuku administration decided to not bring back two-year head man Vavae Tata.
The Red Raiders went 11-2 last season. The only two blemishes were 35-7 at eventual national champion Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and 30-14 to Saint Louis in the inaugural Open Division championship game.
In 2007, Kahuku visited Utah and lost 27-0 to Bingham.
Liberty, the Nevada team playing in the opener, played two Hawaii teams in 2015, losing to Saint Louis 43-16 and beating Mililani 76-53. The Patriots had 13 players from Hawaii on their roster for those games.
“The Polynesian Football Classic will be an outstanding platform to celebrate culture and provide additional exposure for our student-athletes,” Freitas said in a news release.
Added Alta head coach Alema Te’o in the release: It will be a great cultural experience and an exciting day of football.”
A concert featuring Grammy-nominated Polynesian performer Fiji the Artist will be held in between games at 6:30 p.m.
Freitas has been attending offseason workouts with his Red Raiders.
“We have a great turnout,” he said in a phone interview. “The kids are happy and excited and it’s always good to have that.”
Tickets for the Polynesian Football Classic will go on sale June 1 via UNLVtickets.com.
For more information, go to PolynesianClassic.com.
Polynesian Football Classic
Sept. 9 at Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
>> Alta Hawks (Sandy, Utah) vs. Liberty Patriots (Henderson Nev.), 3:30 p.m.
>> Bingham Miners (South Jordan, Utah) vs. Kahuku Red Raiders, 8 p.m.
THE TEAMS in 2016
>> Alta Hawks (head coach Alema Te’o): 11-2 record, Utah Division 4A state semifinalist.
>> Bingham Miners (head coach John Lambourne): 14-0 record, Utah Division 5A state champion.
>> Liberty Patriots (head coach Rich Muraco): 12-2 record, Nevada Division 4A state runners-up.
>> Kahuku Red Raiders (interim head coach Makoa Freitas): 11-2 record, Hawaii Open Division state runners-up.