Lunas win fourth straight Division II State Football Championship
LAHAINA – Lahainaluna High School football established itself as one of the premiere programs in the history of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association with a methodical 21-10 victory over familiar foe Kapaa of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation on Black Friday at Aloha Stadium on Oahu.
The Lunas thus completed the climb to their fourth consecutive Division II State Football Championship to finish the 2019 campaign with an 11-1 record. Lahainaluna now stands tall alongside Open Division four-time titlist Saint Louis as the kingpins of HHSAA championship football history.
The Red Tide of the West Side used a ground and pound “Wildcat” running attack to wear down the Warriors in this third state championship final between the KIF and Maui Interscholastic League top guns.
Lahainaluna rushed for 339 yards on 49 carries behind yet another sterling performance from their offensive line and blocking backs. The Lunas had zero yards on two incomplete pass attempts.
And, once again, it was the Lahainaluna defense that led the charge against the Warriors from the Garden Isle.
Kapaa scored early in the first quarter, added a field goal late in the first half and were then shut out by the vaunted Big Red defensive unit.
A late 40-yard touchdown run extended the LHS lead to 21-10, and then an interception of a desperation Kapaa pass sealed the deal to begin the Lunas’ victory celebration.
That celebration continued late into the Friday night lights of Lahaina, as the homecoming tradition of the championship team parade up Lahainaluna Road featured a glorious fireworks display with family and friends cheering on the four-time victors.
Lahainaluna football and the West Side community bid a fond aloha to the 19 Luna seniors for the 2019 season.
They include Jake Bell, Nainoa Irish, Brysen Rickard, Brian Sandoval, Kai Bookland, Kaihulali Casco, Matthew Rabino, Nainoa Kulukulalani-Sales, Kekailoa Cajudoy, Derek Perez, Richard Olmohs, Joshua Tihada, Roger Nifon, Nikolas Kron, Tuipulotu Lai, Anu McCabe, Shayla Kanemitsu, Kaeo Pedroza-Kanemitsu and Rylend Nobriga.
“We are very proud of this year’s team, especially the seniors, for all the hard work they put in, not only during the season but especially in the off-season, to win a fourth straight state championship,” said co-head coach Dean Rickard.
“This is the culmination of all their hard work and will serve as an example to the younger and future players that you can accomplish anything as long as you put in the time, effort and commitment.
“We would especially like to thank our families, parents and the entire West Side community for all of their unconditional support throughout the season. There are no other fans like the West Side!”
And, once again, the community salutes the coaching staff for their continuing dedication to the development of the integrity of our future generations. The priceless attention to nurturing the selflessness, dedication and work ethic that is required of championship athletic programs is vital to a peaceful and healthy community.
To co-head coaches Bobby Watson and Rickard, along with Mike Arakawa, Lanny Tihada, Garret Tihada, Joey Tihada, Kekoa Mowat, Clifford Corniel, Sonnie Waiohu, Kenui Watson, Randy Arakawa, Randy Casco, Jeff Kihune, Lawrence Kauhaahaa, Aloha Kaniho, Chris Kaniho, Andy Claydon, James Hapakuka, Darren Kawahara, Nolle Smith, Dalton Magno, Chris Pino, Chase Rogers and Craig Wise, a most sincere mahalo for your leadership of Lahainaluna football.