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Luna JV football team on steep learning curve

By Staff | Sep 3, 2009

The Lahainaluna High School junior varsity football team will open the 2009 season this Friday night against the Maui High Sabers at War Memorial Stadium at 4:30 p.m. Photo by Walter Chihara.

LAHAINA — For second-year Lahainaluna High School junior varsity football head coach Kamealoha Kaniho and his staff, the upcoming 2009 season will be a learning experience.

“Most everything is new for us this season,” explained Coach Aloha last week from the Lunas’ locker room on campus.

“We’re practicing with the varsity for the first time in years, and we’re all on a steep learning curve. We are learning a lot from Coach (Bobby) Watson and his staff of the varsity team.”

Inexperience will be a key factor for Kaniho and his staff of Sonnie Waiohu, Keone Ampong, Nolle Smith, Dal Magno, Darren Kawahara and Andy Claydon.

“We have 48 boys on the roster with ten returnees from last year, and four of them were starters. Some of these boys have never played organized football before, so we’re just hoping to make the bridges to gel as a team and make the commitment to Lahainaluna football,” explained Coach Kaniho.

As far as the “X’s” and “O’s” this season, Kaniho reported that the team will mirror the varsity to a deeper extent, due to the fact that the players are practicing with the varsity squad.    

“We’ll run the pistol with the veer option and the fly on offense, and set up in 30 and 40 formations on defense. We’ve seen some bright spots overall, but we’re definitely learning and we need to gel in all areas. We look good at times on offense, but our defense seems to be behind in their development as a cohesive unit,” he explained.

The major assignment for the coaching staff will be to get the players to learn the Lahainaluna way and get ready to fit into the varsity when they move up.

“We’re a freshman-dominated roster, so we as coaches here try to instill the tradition of this football program into the kids. We want them to learn to respect themselves, their teammates, their coaches, their parents and the tradition of character and responsibility inherent in Lahainaluna football. One team, one dream, play as one is our philosophy,” he concluded.

The Lunas junior varsity team will play a double round robin Maui Interscholastic League schedule against Baldwin, Maui High, King Kekaulike and Kamehameha Maui.    

Lahainaluna finished with a 3-3 record last season, good for third place in the final MIL standings.