Luna JV football team wins championship
LAHAINA – The Lahainaluna High School junior varsity football team capped off a brilliant, undefeated (7-0) championship season with a 21-0 shutout of Baldwin two weeks ago to further solidify the gold standard of success for the Lunas in the Maui Interscholastic League.
Consider it mission accomplished for the Luna football program that has dominated the MIL at both the varsity and JV levels for over a decade.
For Lahainalulna JV mentor Aloha Kaniho, the pathway to success is set, and the results are in.
“Our focus is to prepare the kids for the varsity. This means teaching the same attitude, the same drills, the same systems – everything. And now, with the Big Boy program getting the kids started before they come up to the high school, all the systems and training are on the same page.”
“Coach (Bobby) Watson and Coach Garret (Tihada) and all the coaches have done a terrific job of developing the Big Boys team, and the result is that when they come up here to the high school JV program, they already know what to do up here. Everything is pretty much in place,” Coach Aloha continued to say.
The Luna JVs, led by a veteran staff of Coach Kaniho, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nolle Smith, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Dal Magno, Sonnie Waiohu (defensive line), Darren Kawahara (running backs), Victor Akauola (offensive line), Andy Claydon (wide receivers), Chris Pino (offensive line) and Craig Wise (offensive line), barreled through the 2016 campaign to capture their first MIL championship since 2013.
With runner-up finishes over the last two years, this Lahainaluna team would not be denied.
The Lunas defeated the Pearl City JVs, one of the top Division II programs in West Oahu, to start the season and then continued to trample MIL opponents Maui High, Baldwin and Kamehameha Schools Maui, as King Kekaulike did not field a junior varsity team this year.
On their unbeaten run, Lahainaluna’s defense, led by Coach Magno, surrendered just three touchdowns, recorded four shutouts and gave up under four points per game. Meanwhile, Coach Nolle Smith’s offense averaged 20 points a game.
“This is a really talented team, and they are very much prepared from playing in the Big Boy program,” Coach Aloha explained. “What’s important, too, is that these kids learned how to improve their grades to come off of the probation list and become eligible to play. We send our thanks out to all of their parents for their support of the team. This is a great group of kids moving up to the varsity, and I know they will continue to have success up there. The future looks really good for the varsity. We appreciate the opportunity to coach such a great group of kids.”
“Our thanks also to all of the wives and girlfriends of the coaches, who sacrifice so much so that the team has success. We certainly could not have done it without their support,” concluded Coach Aloha,
Congratulations Lunas! Imua Lahainaluna!