Anuenue fights to keep program alive

Anuenue quarterback Kona Kelekolio showed off his running ability against Kaimuki. HSA photo by Bruce Asato
Anuenue quarterback Kona Kelekolio showed off his running ability against Kaimuki. HSA photo by Bruce Asato

Decision day was last Monday for the Anuenue football program.

Head coach Kelii Pio Adams and his staff got together with the players and had an honest talk about the future of the program. They would only have 16 players available for Saturday’s scheduled game against Kaimuki. Everybody was going to have to play two ways. Everyone was going to be dog tired by the middle of the fourth quarter. Injuries were a real concern.

No matter, the kids just wanted a chance to play and the coaching staff made it happen.

“We’re just trying to keep the program alive,” Adams said after a 26-6 loss to Kaimuki on Saturday at Kaiser Stadium. “It’s important for these boys. We asked (the kids) if they want this team, and it was all them. The students were driven.”

Anuenue hung tough with Kaimuki as the game remained scoreless until late in the second quarter. Eventually, Kaimuki pulled away and held a 26-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

It looked pretty grim on the field. Anuenue had already lost a player to injury in the third quarter and starting quarterback Kona Kelekolio was on the sideline recovering from a big hit. Anuenue barely had enough players to put a full team out there.

It was fourth down and Kimo Romena was back taking just his third snap as quarterback. The Bulldogs wanted the shutout and came after Romena, who spun to his left. He saw space ahead but two defenders were closing in. Suddenly, as if he was a rocket taking off for space, Romena turned on the afterburners and blew right past the two defenders closing in, scoring on a 38-yard touchdown run and giving Anuenue and its fans something to cheer about.

“I was proud, real proud,” Adams said. “Just proud, very proud.”

Anuenue will take things on a week-to-week basis. It’s no given Na Koa will suit up for Friday’s game against Kalani. But as they try to keep the school’s football program afloat, they will all at least have had that one moment on Saturday night to share, making it all worth it for the Anuenue football team.


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