Luna JV football team concludes strong season
LAHAINA – They were about as inexperienced and undersized as they come, but the 2015 Lahainaluna High School junior varsity football team exhibited the true grit and determination that has characterized Luna gridiron teams throughout the years.
So, although the Lunas fell short in the Maui Interscholastic League JV championship contest two weeks ago at War Memorial Stadium to a deep Maui High team by a score of 27-14, this young roster represents the undeniable spirit of all champions.
“This group had unity,” said longtime Luna offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nolle Smith. “They were together in their mental drive to be a championship team.”
Lahainaluna JV head coach Aloha Kaniho echoed that sentiment in saying, “These boys were together in their determination to fulfill the Lunas’ motto of ‘One team, one dream,’ and that goal was the MIL championship. They worked hard to reach the championship game, and we are proud of what they accomplished.”
“The important thing is that we improved throughout the season,” Coach Kaniho continued to say. “This was a bunch of small, scrappy kids that had no quit in them. They were so young and inexperienced, but they never quit and they got better and better as the season went on. They always focused on what was good for the team; there were no individuals among the 42 players on the roster.”
The Luna JVs posted a 4-2 regular season MIL mark that included splits with both the Sabers and Baldwin that forced the playoff game for the overall title. In the championship match-up, Lahainaluna built an early lead before Maui High rallied to tie the score at 14-14 at halftime.
After intermission, the two teams battled on even terms before the Sabers scored twice in the fourth quarter to take the lead for good.
The Lunas had three golden opportunities to score in the final two stanzas but had two touchdowns called back by penalties, and fumbled away another chance for six by fumbling on the Sabers’ one yard line.
It was thus another highly successful year for Lahainaluna JV football. The goals at this level are always geared to preparing the student athletes for the varsity; and indeed, this team will undoubtedly be prepared to contribute, as they have learned the “Luna way.” And this is another example of the high-quality of coaching and mentoring our young student athletes receive in the football program.
“We are most grateful to the West Side community, our wives and partners, and all of the staff up here at Lahainaluna for their continuing support of the program,” noted Coach Aloha.
“Thanks also to Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch; trainers Jon Conrad and Helen Hetzel; assistant coaches Nolle Smith, Sonnie Waiohu, Darren Kawahara, Dal Magno, Chris Pinho, Andy Claydon and Craig Wise; volunteer assistant John John Lacuesta; and team managers Ryah “Coke Float” Kaniho, Ana Talaroc Kaniho, Asti Arcangel, Malia Flores and Gunner Oliver.”
Lahainaluna A.D. Soldwisch complimented the JV coaches and student athletes in saying, “These coaches and players should be commended for a job well done. They exceeded expectations throughout the season.”
Varsity co-head coach Garret Tihada added that, “We are very much impressed with the way the team was coached and the way the kids played. Their effort will definitely help us in the future.”