Kalani will head into the stretch run on a high note after its 19-9 victory over Mount Tahoma in Tacoma, Wash., on Friday.
The Falcons (3-2, 2-2 Oahu Interscholastic Association Division II) are fighting for a playoff spot and are still in the chase for the title in what is always a rough-and-tumble league.
As with most teams traveling to the mainland and getting a victory, it’s a win-win for Kalani. The team toured five colleges during the week — Linfield, Pacific, Western Oregon, Oregon and Washington — and will be attending today’s UW game against Montana in Seattle at Husky Stadium.
“It took a lot of coordination by my wife and the staff to make that happen,” Falcons coach Scott Melemai said about the college tours. “For a lot of these kids who have never left the island, it will help inspire them to work harder in school and pursue an education. The team has gotten a lot closer, too, being together a whole week, 24/7.”
Mount Tahoma is coached by Ricky Daley, who was a receiver for Roosevelt in the early 1990s. The T-Birds lost 74-6 to Radford during the Rams’ run to the Hawaii state D-II title in 2015. After high school, Daley played for Hawaii and Boise State.
Now, the trick for the Falcons is to bring some of the mainland magic back to Hawaii.
“It was a great experience,” Kalani cornerback Cody Uehara said. “We definitely improved in that game. We learned how to be gritty, especially in the colder weather. Zachary Wong really set the tone with his 80-yard touchdown run and Matthew Wu‘s forced fumble and Javan Montiho‘s recovery at the end sealed it for us.”
Uehara said it was quite a challenge to play against T-Birds 6-foot-4 receiver Siloi Tuialuuluu.
“He was tall and athletic and one of their best players for sure,” said Uehara, who had three pass breakups against Tuialuuluu.
The Falcons have a huge game ahead of them next Saturday against Waipahu (4-0, 3-0). That game is expected to be the first game played on Kaiser’s brand-new artificial turf field.