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Champion Lahainaluna JV football team emphasizes toughness and perseverance

By Staff | Aug 22, 2019

Coach Aloha Kaniho and the Lahainaluna High School junior varsity football team will open up their season on Saturday, Aug. 24, versus King Kekaulike at the Na Alii campus Upcountry. 

LAHAINA – Almost stride for stride, the Lahainaluna High School junior varsity football program has maintained the championship tradition that has been the trademark of their varsity big brothers over recent campaigns.

As the varsity Lunas have blazed their way to ten consecutive Maui Interscholastic League titles and three straight state Division II championships, the JV team has established a golden tradition of their own with undefeated seasons for three years and MIL titles.

Aloha Kaniho has been at the helm over the last decade and on the Lunas’ JV staff for 20 years in guiding the program to high levels of success within the primary goal of preparing the underclassmen for the coming years with the varsity. The coaching staff is filled with veteran mentors mixed with several recent returnees to Lahainaluna football.

The coaching staff includes Nolle Smith, Sonnie Waiohu, Darren Kawahara, Dal Magno, Lawrence Kauhaahaa, Andy Claydon, Craig Wise, James Hapakuka, Chase Rogers and Chris Kaniho. The trainers’ staff is also a highly accredited entity as well with Jon Conrad, a 21-year stalwart at Lahainaluna, and Becca Cohen attending to the student-athletes across the board at the West Side campus.

Coach Aloha is direct in maintaining the primary interest of junior varsity football at Lahainaluna.

“Our focus, the main thing, is to prepare the student-athletes for the varsity. Same defense, same offense, same special teams, same drills and schedules,” he said. “The weight training is very important with Lawrence Kauhaahaa and Kenui Watson leading the lifting program in the mornings. This is particularly important for preventing injuries and strengthening the defense.”

“This is a good group of kids,” Kaniho continued. “We have to face up to the fact that this is a changing world with changing attitudes. We want to teach toughness and perseverance as our mainstays. All of the coaches here have been around for so long that we’ve formed a unity and camaraderie that is comfortable for all of us. There are no surprises, and we truly strive to be on the same page.”

In conclusion, Coach Aloha stressed the importance and value of the Friends of Lahainaluna Football, the program’s primary booster organization led by Coach Lanny Tihada.

“The Friends of Lahainaluna Football means everything to this program. They do so much for the team. And we can’t forget the West Side community as a whole. Our fan base is the best – no doubt about it,” he said.