Kahuku football head coach Vavae Tata is bringing his team to Las Vegas next season to play Bishop Gorman, USA Today’s No. 1 team from 2015.
He told Hawaii Prep World on Friday that it’s “a great opportunity.”
“We are looking forward to the challenge and are looking forward to preparing for that challenge,” Tata said. “We’re looking at it like another championship game.”
The Red Raiders beat Saint Louis 39-14 in Hawaii’s 2015 state Division I championship game. In Nevada’s D-I title game, Bishop Gorman routed Liberty 62-21.
Bishop Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez talked about how the game became a reality.
“Basically, Coach (Tata) reached out a month ago or so to see if we would be interested in playing a game,” Sanchez said. “It took a couple of weeks to see if we could work it out on the schedule. Kahuku is a real good football team and it was a really good fit (on the schedule).”
The Gaels plan to play their first two games of the 2016 season against Texas powerhouses in the Lone Star State — at Allen (a loser in the 2015 state 6A-1 semifinals) and at Cedar Hill (made 2015 state 6A-2 playoffs). They also have a game against St. Thomas Aquinas, the Florida 7A state champions.
Last fall, during the Gaels’ 12-0 season, they beat four out-of-state teams that had made it to at least their respective state semifinals the year before: at home against Chandler, Ariz. (35-14); at Bingham, Utah (38-20); at Bellevue, Wash. (35-7); and at Servite, Calif. (38-7). They also beat another perennial California power, at Long Beach Poly, 52-13.
“It’s fun for our kids to play, not so much against other states as much as it is against really good competition,” Sanchez said.
The Kahuku at Bishop Gorman game is Sept. 17.