Kai Hoekstra’s 3 TDs, INT spark Waialua’s ironmen over Canada’s No. 6-ranked team

Waialua's Kai Hoekstra caught three touchdown passes in a win over Vincent Massey. Photo by Andrew Lee/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Vincent Massey Collegiate has come a long way in the past six years.

The Trojans, from Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada), struggled in the early years of the football program. But in 2018, they went unbeaten and entered this season as the No. 6 team in Canada. Like many powerhouse teams, there’s a transition as senior talent graduated.

Coming to Hawaii again — the Trojans played and won against Kealakehe in 2017 — meant facing a rugged Waialua squad facing adversity. The Bulldogs entered the game on Friday with five offensive starters out with injuries. Challenge upon challenge didn’t deter Waialua, which rallied from a 7-0 deficit with two touchdowns late in the first half en route to a rousing 43-27 win.


>> CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE GAME

Waialua improved to 2-1 overall with the nonconference win, which coach Lincoln Barit called “a pride game.”

With three TD hauls and an interception, Kai Hoekstra was among the two-way ironmen who sparked the Bulldogs (2-1). After dropping an early TD pass and watching his pick-6 return called back by penalty, he was a big part of the rally. Waialua scored two touchdowns in the final 2 minutes of the first half, including a 32-yard TD catch by Hoekstra with 1.8 seconds left before intermission.

The 6-foot-1 junior also scored on a 4-yard TD pass and secured a catch on the PAT to open Waialua’s lead to 22-7 midway through the third quarter. Shortly after, he made the play of the game, hauling in a sideline pass from Kyler Dicion, and somehow juked through three VMC defenders on his way to a 55-yard TD. That opened it to 29-7 with 3:58 left in the third quarter.

The speed was one thing, but the endurance? Pretty good by the Bulldogs on a warm, humid night. Especially for Hoekstra, who didn’t play football as a freshman.

“He came out to play in sophomore year. Then he came out for JV track,” Waialua athletics director Bryce Kaneshiro recalled. “I was surprised.”

Now, Hoekstra is one of the juniors who are playing and leading the way. They saw a massive team of Trojans across the field. All the training, year-round, made a difference. In Manitoba, it was much cooler and less humid. At Waialua, it was 82 degrees with 79-percent humidity at game time.

“The first half was tough. They played really hard, but they’re not used to the weather down here, so they were tired. Some of their players got hurt and we capitalized on that and scored,” Hoekstra said.

Early in the game, Dicion lofted a perfect spiral down the seam to Hoekstra, who dropped the ball near the 10-yard line on what would’ve been Waialua’s first TD.


“I knew I could come back. I got the butterflies out and I said, I’m going to come back and do the best I can for my team,” said Hoekstra, who also had a key interception in the end zone during the first quarter.

Dicion, with 261 passing yards, four TDs and only one interception, started at QB last year. He has been a “terror” at linebacker, Barit said, while playing some slotback. Hoekstra’s chemistry with the versatile Dicion goes back years, though not in JPS or Pop Warner.

“Me and Kyler been playing since intermediate. We have that connection. Just playing at recess, and we’ve been together ever since. It worried me that our starter Justyce (Lacar) is out, but I believed in Kyler. He can make the plays and he’s a tough kid,” Hoekstra said.

A key adjustment at halftime helped the Bulldogs. VMC had to play by American football rules.

“We finally caught on to how their DBs play. Up there (in Canada) it’s a different game. There’s no offsides, they all run at the one time. All their DBs left right away so our coaches noticed and we capitalized by throwing short, quick passes,” Hoekstra said.

VMC coach Kelsey McKay was impressed.

“That guy is a player. He’s a baller. That guy should be playing university when he’s done. He is that good. He should get some looks, for sure,” McKay said. “I don’t know anything beyond that academically, but on the field, that guy can definitely play at the next level. What an athlete. Very impressed with him. He looked like a class act out there too so even better.”

“He managed the game really well. You can tell he’s really well coached, throwing the ball in proper spots and executes with confidence,” McKay said about Dicion. “That’s what your whole team needs to see. I don’t know what his name is, but he played really well tonight. He’s the backup and I’m thinking, wow.”


Hoekstra admitted that the challenge was massive.

“I feel great. I’m surprised. When they first came out, they were big, but we’re bigger inside,” Hoekstra said.

COMMENTS

  1. "UNITY=STRENGTH" August 23, 2019 11:20 pm

    Way to go Bulldogs!!!:)


  2. John Supebedia III August 24, 2019 11:04 am

    Awesome job men and to the coaches great job in motivating these young men awesome game.


  3. Jody August 24, 2019 2:04 pm

    Hi
    Last night you mentioned that there would be video posted, where can i find it


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