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Luna JV football team to play in ‘Fire Up Da Imu’

By Staff | Aug 12, 2010

Lahainaluna High School junior varsity football players work with Head Coach Aloha Kaniho. Photo by Walter Chihara.

LAHAINA — The entire Lahaina community felt the deflation when word got out that Kalaheo High School backed out of coming over for the “Fire Up Da Imu” celebration planned for Saturday, Aug. 14.

Well, thanks to the efforts of Lahainaluna High School Foundation Special Events Coordinator Jeff Rogers and the Luna coaching staff, get ready to pump it up — the event is on with the King Kekaulike junior varsity football team coming over to play in the game versus the Lahainaluna JVs.

The “Fire Up Da Imu” celebration will begin at 10 a.m. and continue through the day with food, entertainment, games and reunions of classmates, families and friends.

The primary donor for the new Matrix field at Lahainaluna, Sue Cooley, will be honored in a dedication ceremony at 12:30 p.m.

The Luna JVs are coming off their seventh Maui Interscholastic League championship in the last eight years and are primed to bring back another title to the West Side.

The Lunas rang up a 7-1 record in 2009 under Head Coach Kamealoha Kaniho in his third year at the helm of the program. The team began official practices last week in preparation for the preseason contest against Na Alii.

“We’re a little pressed this year in starting earlier with a practice game — this is the first time we had one — but we also had more boys come out for the summer workouts than ever before,” said Coach K from his office in the campus Locker Room.

“We’ve got about 50 kids on the roster right now,” he continued. “We’ve got some good size this year, but we are very, very young. We’re strong on the defensive line, but otherwise, it is an inexperienced team lacking in fundamental techniques. We, as coaches, have our work cut out for us.”

The Lunas staff under the guidance of Coach Aloha includes veterans Nolle Smith (quarterbacks, offensive coordinator), Sonnie Waiohu (offensive line), Dal Magno (linebackers, defensive coordinator), Darren Kawahara (running backs), Andy Claydon (receivers) and voluntary assistant newcomers Carson Chihara (defensive backs) and Viliami Oliveti (offensive line).

According to Coach Aloha, the Lunas will run a veer option offense and various defenses with mixed coverages. The front line will feature different three-, four- and five-man sets.

“We’re a little rushed this year with the extra game that will bring our total to nine, including two games against Baldwin, Kamehameha, Maui High and three versus King Kekaulike. But this is the beauty of coaching JV football — that we get these raw players and see what we can do to teach them the basic fundamentals of football in the Lahainaluna way. This is what we all enjoy about doing this — trying to put it all together so it works. It is putting the puzzle together, and to be pushed a little to get ready sooner will only make us better coaches. Hopefully, we’ll all be better in picking up the schemes.

“One important thing I have to say here is to thank all the parents, and the entire West Side community, for their support. It’s always the best,” he concluded.