Lahainaluna football team has depth on both sides of the ball
LAHAINA – The Red Tide that is Lahainaluna High School football continues to grow with higher levels of success and experience upon entering the 2017 season. After reaching the pinnacle of the mountain with the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II State Championship last year, the Lunas embark on the current campaign with a mindset – and a tried and true template – to reach the top once again.
Make no mistake – the climb to return to the top is an extremely difficult task in any sport, and the Lahainaluna coaching staff is painstakingly driving their charges to keep their attention focused on the present and away from the past. And thus far, the Lunas look to be ready to defend their Maui Interscholastic League title and make another run at an HHSAA state championship.
The developmental pipeline through the Pop Warner, Big Boy and junior varsity programs is set in stone to prepare the student athletes for the Lunas. The coaching staff, with some 300 years of sideline experience within the hard scrabble grit of Lahainaluna football, carries forth the torch as invaluable youth mentors.
This dean’s list of high school football coaches is led by co-head coaches Bobby Watson and Garret Tihada. They are assisted by Mike Arakawa, Lanny Tihada, Dean Rickard, Kekoa Mowat, Joey Tihada, Clifford Corniel, Randy Arakawa, Kenui Watson, Sonnie Waiohu, Dal Magno and Craig Wise.
According to Coach Garret, the Lunas will have depth on both sides of the ball and will be able to have most of their 61-player roster see significant playing time.
“We’ll be in our 3-3 base defense and use our rotating offensive packages like the second half of last year,” explained the soft-spoken veteran offensive coordinator.
“The Big Boy program and our JV team really help in preparing the players for the varsity. The systems are in place, and now the process from the springtime to now is a continuous pathway.”
“All in all, we are thankful to the entire West Side community for their support,” Tihada continued to say.
“Our thanks also to the Friends of Lahainaluna Football, Don Quixote Market, Kaanapali Golf Course, Maui Jims and so many more for their contributions to the program. It would be impossible without this support.”
The Lunas finished the 2016 season with a 9-4 record, the MIL title and the state championship. Entering last week’s MIL kickoff contest versus Na Alii of King Kekaulike High School at home, Lahainaluna had split its two preseason contests with a 20-6 win over Pearl City in Honolulu and a 34-10 loss to ILH power Kamehameha Kapalama.
The MIL regular season will run through the Lunas’ Homecoming game on Oct. 21 versus Kamehameha Maui.
The Lahainaluna junior varsity team, the defending MIL champions, will play a full schedule this year preceding each varsity contest.
The veteran JV coaching staff is once again led by Aloha Kaniho and assisted by Nolle Smith, Dal Magno, Sonnie Waiohu, Craig Wise, Andy Claydon, Darren Kawahara and Victor Akauola.