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Seniors set great example for Lahainaluna football team

By Staff | Oct 31, 2019

The seniors include (from left): front — Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales, Kekailoa Cajudoy, Nikolas Kron, Anu McCabe, Derek Perez, Joshua Tihada, Roger Nifon and Shayla Kanemitsu; back row — Nainoa Irish, Jake Bell, Brian Sandoval, Matthew Rabino, Rylend Nobriga, Tui Lai, Kaeo Kanemitsu, Brysen Rickard and Kai Bookland. Not pictured are Kaihulali Casco and Richard Olmohs.

LAHAINA – Nineteen Lahainaluna High School seniors played their last Maui Interscholastic League regular season football game last Saturday night. The season is far from over, as the Lunas wrapped up their 14th consecutive MIL title and will now prepare for the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II football championship playoffs that will kick off in three weeks. Lahainaluna will be seeking their fourth straight state championship.

The enduring importance of senior leadership in the Lahainaluna program was emphasized in co-head coach Dean Rickard’s salute to the senior student-athletes: “To have this many experienced players – some who have been with the program since the seventh grade with the Big Boys team -is a big advantage for any team. The leadership, the example of dedicated preparation in the off-season training, and the early morning lifting as well as speed and quickness training during the season, all goes into what it means to play at this level.”

“These seniors really set a great example for the younger players to learn the commitment and dedication it takes to be successful in football and in life in general,” Coach Dean continued. “They showed that as long as you put in your best, you’ll be successful at whatever you do. The seniors really set a great example of dedication, and we’re really going to miss these guys.

“The important thing is that the younger players will model the seniors to form a positive future for the program.”

Leading the way as four-year players for the Lunas are Joshua Tihada, Derek Perez and Tui Lai; and three-year players Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales, Kaihulali Casco, Nainoa Irish and Brysen Rickard. Two-year contributors include Jake Bell, Brian Sandoval, Kai Bookland, Mathew Rabino, Kekailoa Cajudoy, Richard Olmohs, Nick Kron, Rylend Nobriga and Shayla Kanemitsu; and one-year players are Kaeo Pedrozo Kanemitsu, Anu McCabe and Roger Nifon.

The Lahainaluna team will rest up and prepare for the second round semi-final of the D-II playoffs that will take place at home at Sue D. Cooley Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 23.

The Lunas will play the winner of the first round game that will feature the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion – either Kamehameha Schools Hawaii or Hawaii Preparatory Academy – and the Oahu Interscholastic Association runner-up in Kaimuki.

Imua Lahainaluna!