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Menehune steal the win; spoil Raider homecoming

LIHU‘E — The Waimea High School football team put a Menehune period on an exciting Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation football game by sacking Kaua‘i High School quarterback Andrew Passi Saturday before a near- capacity Red Raider crowd at Vidinha Stadium.

The 24-21 Waimea victory dampened the Kaua‘i homecoming that coupled with its Senior Night football recognition and the school band’s first public appearance since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the schools and their related activities like sports.

Opening under overcast skies, the Raiders were early in celebrating, scoring touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 14-0 lead into halftime. With just five ticks peeled off the second stanza, Kaua‘i’s Greg Manintin tapped the end zone on a two-yard charge, and Nainoa Itamura split the uprights for the point after touchdown for the opening 7-0 bulge.

On the ensuing series, Austin Renaud plucked a Tresten Shigematsu aerial and ran it back 29 yards for Kaua‘i’s second score. Itamura’s boot was true and the Raiders took the 14-0 lead into the locker rooms.

Waimea answered with all of its scores coming in the second half, knotting the contest 14-14 after three quarters of play.

Taking the kickoff and chewing up the clock, the Menehune opened the score books at the 7:09 mark when Shigematsu, finding his receivers covered by the Red Raider defense, cradled the pigskin and scored on a two-yard romp. Joseph Sams’ foot did the PAT honors.

Shigematsu found Damien Akita at the end of a 17-yard scoring pass with 1:04 showing in the third quarter, and a PAT boot by Haweo Akeo knotted the contest at 14 and lit the fuse for the fourth-quarter fireworks.

Rolling on the momentum of its two touchdowns and facing a fourth-and-24 situation, Akeo’s foot sent the pigskin soaring 46 yards for a field goal that stopped the clock with 7:55 showing in the game. The field goal would eventually be the difference in the contest.

That was just the first volley, as Kaua‘i’s Nakoa Andrade took the ensuing kickoff and scampered the sidelines for a 95-yard ride. Itamura’s PAT boot settled the scoreboard, Kaua‘i 21, Waimea 17.

As the clock wound down to the three-minute mark, Waimea’s Kade Erdman recovered a loose ball on the Menehune 18-yard line to set up a scoring drive fueled by a long Shigematsu-to-Josiah Ulanday pass to cross into Kaua‘i territory, and Shigematsu finding Makenyah Okeigar at the end of a 22-yard scoring pass. With 1:41 showing on the game clock, Sams did the PAT honors for the 24-21 math.

The Raiders fought back, but the clock ran out as the Menehune defense engulfed Passi midfield.

With the win, Waimea closes its books on the 2021 KIF football season, while Kaua‘i has another chance to find a “W” this Saturday when they face the Kapa‘a Warriors, which will celebrate its homecoming, at Vidinha Stadium.

The junior varsity contest against Waimea starts at noon, with the varsity contest against Kaua‘i kicking off 30 minutes following the completion of the JV game.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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