Joshua Tihada loves his football.
A determined player who doesn’t have college offers, he is the that type who he could walk on at the next level somewhere and make an impact.
Tihada is a four-year Lahainaluna contributor. Mainly a running back, he has also been a stalwart at the defensive back/linebacker hybrid position.
One time last summer, Tihada went on a mainland trip in which he went to five different football camps.
“It was crazy,” he said. “We got to visit the University of Utah, BYU, Utah State and Dixie State all on that one trip.”
Tihada, who scored the winning touchdown two years ago in the Division II state championship game — a 75-69, seven-overtime classic against Konawaena — also plays basketball as a point guard for the Lunas. As a freshman, he participated in track and field.
The biggest thing on Tihada’s mind now, however, is how the Lunas finish up this year. Lahainaluna (9-1) is going for a fourth straight D-II state title. On Nov. 23, they host the winner of this week’s Roosevelt at Kamehameha-Hawaii first-round game. If they can get past that one, they’ll earn a spot in the Nov. 29 state championship against either Kapaa or Kaimuki.
Tihada’s best memory is seeing the final seconds tick away on a 21-14 state title-clinching victory over Kapaa his freshman year and noting the elation on the faces of teammates, coaches, past players and community members. It was the Lunas’ breakthrough first koa trophy.
Just as much as that memory, he will always hold dear the moments he spent with teammates Bryson Rickard, Tre Rickard, Treven Tihada (a cousin), Derek Perez and Neil Agbayani.
“After every practice, we are the last ones to leave, sitting on a wall outside the locker room,” Tihada said. “We talk about all the special moments or what frustrates us in practice. What’s working, our personal problems. To this day, the coaches every night will tell us to go home, saying, ‘Go home already’ and ‘Time to go home.’ But we stay and talk all night.”