Konawaena to take football home-and-home test with Mission Viejo

Konawaena's Kala‘i Santiago was tackled by Kahuku's KJ Macatiag in the Wildcats' season opener last year. Konawaena will challenge itself again this season hosting Mission Viejo (Calif.) in August. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Konawaena football coach Brad Uemoto isn’t backing down from the big boys.

Uemoto scheduled his Wildcats to play a home-and-home against Mission Viejo of California this fall on the Big Island and then in 2020 in California.

Against a supremely difficult schedule, the Diablos went 6-6 in 2018, but still finished No. 26 in the MaxPreps national computer rankings. One of the losses was by forfeit to Villa Park (after a 28-13 win on the field) and the other was in the playoffs — 56-17 to eventual MaxPreps No. 1 Mater Dei.

“Not a lot of teams here would want to take that one (Mission Viejo game) on,” Uemoto said.

Last season, Konawaena came to Oahu’s North Shore to face Kahuku. It was a 61-9 loss, but it showed that the Wildcats want to continue getting better by playing the best competition they can find.

“We made contact (with Mission Viejo) and it got set,” he said.

The Mission Viejo vs. Konawaena game will be held on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. at Konawaena’s home field.

“They will stay here for a week,” Uemoto said. “Maybe we’ll do a mini luau for them and our kids, something culturally and to have fun and develop some relationships.

“I think this is similar to us scheduling Kahuku. It’s more about experience, preparing for a team like Mission Viejo, which has historically done well in high school football. It will give the kids a different feel and they’ll see the style of a national power, per se. We can get that here by playing the top teams (like Saint Louis and Kahuku), but the hard part is scheduling OIA and ILH top-tier teams. They can only play in the first (nonleague) week (first weekend in August). At that time, we are usually missing a bunch of kids who are still trying to get those required padded days in and some on academic probation. It’s just so hard to pull up a JV kid or a sophomore who is not ready for that caliber. Three weeks into August, we’ll be at full force by then with some games under our belt.”

Uemoto has not scheduled Konawaena’s 2019 nonleague games yet because the BIIF won’t have a final decision on its new format until April. Chances are high that the Wildcats (5-5 last season, including a 27-22 loss to Kamehameha-Hawaii in the league D-II title game) will be moving up to D-I.

“We will try and travel to Oahu — and Kapaa has reached out,” he said. “Before we commit, we’ll wait to see what the league does. We may go to D-I.”

In August 2017, Mission Viejo visited Maui and defeated Baldwin 39-14 at War Memorial Stadium.

Subject to change
Friday, Aug. 23
>> Mission Viejo (Calif.) at Konawaena, 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 30
Aloha Football Classic
>> Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) vs. Saint Louis, at Aloha Stadium, 7 p.m.
>> Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) at Mililani, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 31
>> Punahou vs. Long Beach Poly (Calif.), site in Southern California TBA, 4 p.m. Hawaii time
Saturday, Sept. 21
>> St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) at Mililani, time TBA


  1. rrofrlifebaby March 20, 2019 12:57 pm

    Mad props to the Wildcats for taking on this challenge. MV is a traditional SoCal and West Regional power.

    Go get’em boyZ!!!


  2. 808Great March 20, 2019 5:41 pm

    Kona stepping up to the plate. MV is a California powerhouse program thats been playing in the elite conference. Definitely will make Kona better by playing elite mainland competition. Both MV and St John Bosco are playing against Hawai’i high school this year. That’s awesome to see. Too bad it isnt against the defending state champs St. Louis. Because its good to compete against these elite programs, but it would be even better if one of these powerhouse schools from Cali would lose to a high school from Hawai’i.

  3. Katosan March 21, 2019 11:35 am

    Mission has a three-way battle for starting QB right now to replace 4 star Joey Yellen now at ASU.

    Trillian Harris, the JV QB last year as a soph. He started as a freshman on varsity at his previous school, 4 star transfer Peter Costelli, transfer Brayden Zermeno who is getting Pac 12 interest.

  4. ??? March 21, 2019 2:15 pm

    There is a High School rule where once you play Varsity regular season you cannot go back to JV.
    How is this possible?

  5. Real Talk on HawaiiPrepWorld March 22, 2019 11:34 am

    Kahuku needs to get on it and schedule a mainland school already!

  6. Katosan March 23, 2019 8:18 am

    4 ??

    They don’t have that rule in CA. Only you have to be 15 to play varsity and you cannot be a senior on JV. Anyways, Harris is least likely to win the job. It isn’t like he’s junk. He has some offers with Nevada the most recent. The other QBs are just better.

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