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Luna JV football team goes undefeated on way to winning MIL title

By Staff | Nov 9, 2017

The Lunas celebrate after winning the MIL title. PHOTO BY GLEN PASCUAL.

LAHAINA – Judging from the fact that the Lahainaluna High School varsity football team is on its way to an 11th consecutive Hawaii High School Athletic Association playoff, and the Lunas are the defending state champions, you could accurately surmise that their junior varsity program is fulfilling its standard mission responsibility of preparing underclassmen for action at the higher level.

The Lahainaluna junior varsity program has accomplished this goal and then some, as they recently completed a second straight undefeated season to clinch their second straight Maui Interscholastic League title and run their winning streak to 16 straight over the last two seasons.

In the past two decades, the team has won 12 MIL championships and never finished out of the top three in the league.

The Luna JVs have thus established a quality reputation of their own during that time, albeit in the big red shadow cast by the tradition-rich varsity program.

The head coach of the program for much of that time has been Aloha Kaniho.

“It is really amazing what this team accomplished this year. Wow! What an awesome season – it just really feels good to put this puzzle together with these kids from all over the state,” he said last week.

“The key factor here is the high-level tutelage we get from Coach (Bobby) Watson and Coach Garret (Tihada), as their knowledge of the game and preparation standards are at the very top levels. Add to this the growth of the program with the Big Boys season in the spring and the attention to lifting and conditioning during the summer, and it spells out championship football at Lahainaluna,” said Coach Aloha.

The junior varsity staff was made up of veteran offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nolle Smith, Dal Magno (defensive coordinator/linebackers), Sonnie Waiohu (defensive line), Darren Kawahara (running backs), Andy Claydon (receivers), Victor Akauola (offensive line), Craig Wise (offensive line), Shane Tru (defensive backs), Chase Rogers (linebackers) and Chris Kaniho (linebackers).

“Really, the biggest factor in our success has been the coaching of this staff and especially the input of Coach Nolle (Smith), who prepared our offense, and Coach Dal (Magno), who got our defense ready every week,” added Coach Aloha.

“We had a lot of raw athletic ability that made it possible to dominate on the field with the coaching the boys got this year, and six of our top players have moved up to the varsity for the playoffs. The future looks really bright for the varsity in the future.”