Things move pretty fast in football these days. The season is a few months away, but CBS MaxPreps already has its national rankings out and Kahuku is ranked No. 39.
The Red Raiders went 13-0 a year ago and won the state Division I championship, its eighth title since 2000. They finished the 2015 season as No. 37 in the nation.
The possibility is there for Kahuku to make a national statement. On Sept. 17, the Raiders visit Las Vegas to play No. 3 Bishop Gorman, the nation’s No. 1 team from last season.
St. Thomas Aquinas of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., is the top-ranked team.
Two schools ranked in the top 30 have played against the team Kahuku beat 39-14 in last season’s state final — Saint Louis — this century — No. 9 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) and No. 30 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.).
The Crusaders lost to De La Salle 31-21 at Aloha Stadium on Sept. 21, 2002, and then lost to St. John Bosco 63-14 on Aug. 22, 2014, also at Aloha Stadium.
Kahuku is making a name for itself nationally. In January, the Red Raiders were the fans’ choice in a USA Today High School Sports online vote as “America’s Best Football Program.”
The school will receive a banner for its gym and a $1,000 prize.
“When you have a contest like this, it unites the community in support of the school and the student-athletes and brings everyone together,” Kahuku athletic director Gillian Yamagata told USA Today. “It’s all about the student-athletes. We’re super excited to have the support of our community, the surrounding community and our alumni from all over the United States.”
USA Today High School Sports “America’s Best Football Program”
Results of fans voting:
1. Kahuku, 84,610
2. Cedar Park, Texas, 71,359
3. Clairton, Pa., 41,233