Something interesting happened on the way to what looks like it’s going to be Kapaa’s third straight Kauai Interscholastic Federation football championship.
On Saturday, the Warriors (6-0, 4-0) were put to the test in a huge way by the Menehunes.
You see, Kapaa was cruising along, having scored 147 points to 6 against (110-0 in league play).
All of a sudden, the Warriors were in a supreme struggle and pulled out a 3-0 win at Vidinha Stadium on Clifton Oliver‘s 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
“Waimea played a heckuva game,” Warriors coach Philip Rapozo said via cellphone on Monday. “We made mistakes. They brought it. They came to play football and I’m not going to take anything away from the Mehehunes.”
Rapozo said the Warriors drove all the way to the Waimea 1 on their opening drive but fumbled the ball away. He also said they lost the ball via fumble later in the game in the red zone.
In addition, Oliver missed field goals and 28 and 45 yards earlier in the game.
“We drove up and down the field and couldn’t finish,” Rapozo added. “Waimea didn’t come with anything new, but they played lights out. On that day, they would have beaten up on many other teams. We were fortunate to win, I’m not going to like and say we played poorly. We didn’t play that bad.
“In the long run, that’s going to help us in the long run. It’s the first battle we’ve had this season, for sure. This is a wakeup call for us. Sometimes when you dominate, you tend to get lax, and that goes for both the coaches and the kids.
“Even last year, we did not really have a battle until the state (D-II) championship game against Radford (a 30-16 loss). We weren’t ready for that game.”
After Oliver’s winning field goal, Waimea was driving and the Kapaa defense forced a fumble.
“If we didn’t get that, Waimea could have tied the game or gone ahead,” Rapozo said.
On Sept. 2, in the first matchup between the two teams, Kapaa rolled over Waimea 35-0.
The Warriors — ranked No. 9 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Top 10 — close the regular season with games against Kauai High on Oct. 8 and Waimea on Oct. 15. One more win clinches the KIF title and a berth in the D-II state tournament.
“We play each other three times, and I’ve noticed that no matter who you are playing, that third time is scary,” Rapozo said.
For updated KIF, Maui Interscholastic League and Big Island Interscholastic Federation standings and scores, go to http://bit.ly/2dqsX46.