Lahainaluna JV football team enjoys strong turnout of experienced players
LAHAINA – The pathway and foundation to success of the Lahainaluna High School football program continues to grow as the Lunas’ junior varsity team solidifies its mission to prepare its student-athletes to contribute at a higher level in the future.
The mission to develop the next generation of varsity-level players has set a solid foundation throughout the years, and 2018 continues the trend.
Aloha Kaniho moves into his 20th year at the helm of the Lahainaluna JV team, and the championship beat of West Side football looks to be gaining traction once again.
Coach Aloha is joined by a veteran staff of polished mentors that includes Sonnie Waiohu (defensive line), Nolle Smith (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Darren Kawahara (running backs), Dal Magno (defensive coordinator/linebackers), Andy Claydon (receivers), Craig Wise (offensive line), Chase Rogers (defensive backs), James Hapakuka (offensive line) and Lono Kaina (defensive line).
The Luna JV’s are coming off their second straight unbeaten Maui Interscholastic League championship season, and all indicators point to another successful season for the program.
Coach Aloha reported that the roster lists 60 student-athletes, with many of them experienced in the Lahainaluna standard through the Big Boy program in the spring.
“We have a lot of kids that have come through the Big Boy team, and so they understand what we’re trying to do up here. They all know the history of Lahainaluna football and they value the pride and toughness of those who play on these teams,” said Kaniho during practice at Sue D. Cooley Stadium last week.
He further explained that the team will emulate the varsity in all aspects, including a ground-oriented offense running the wing T that will probably run the ball 80 percent of the time and pass the ball in limited situations.
Defensively, they will mirror the varsity with a 3-1 or 3-2 set with more defensive backs on the field.
“Mostly, we’ll be trying to promote the mental aspects of the game to teach them the mindset they’ll need to get up to the varsity. We want to instill in them the pride of this program,” he said.
Coach Aloha emotionally expressed his appreciation to the first responders of the Maui County Fire Department who saved the Lahainaluna field from fire damage in last week’s traumatic blaze.
Sitting ten feet from where the flames singed the outer edge of the track, he bowed his head and said, “We just can’t thank them enough – it is just amazing what they did to save this field and this school.”
Coach Aloha also praised the varsity coaches, the wives and girlfriends of the coaches, families and players’ parents for their support. He also thanked the school administration and Trainer Jon Conrad for all they do for the program.
“The school always gets us whatever we need; and Trainer Jon, well, he’s really strict, but he always does what’s best for the safety of the kids. He’s definitely the best in the MIL,” he concluded.