Kicking Off KIF Football 2012

A ‘blue moon’ was part of the KIF opening ceremonies at Vidinha Stadium. David Simon photos

The phrase “once in a blue moon” has come to mean a very rare occurrence, as a blue moon is an infrequent sight — meaning two full moons in one calendar month.

Well, the 2012 KIF football season got under way beneath the gaze of a blue moon Aug. 31 as Kaua‘i and Waimea kicked off what should be a very competitive year.

Maybe the blue moon is a sign that this will be an even more unpredictable season than usual?

The junior varsity game certainly set a high standard for the dramatic, with Kaua‘i and Kapa‘a JV going down to the wire in the opening act. Kapa‘a came back from a twotouchdown deficit in the second half to cut the lead to one point, but Kaua‘i stuffed a two-point conversion attempt and held on for a 26-25 victory.

The Red Raiders and Menehune took the field in the varsity nightcap at Vidinha Stadium. Despite neither team winning last season’s KIF championship for the first time since 1989, each had reason to be optimistic and anxious to build on momentum created last year.

Waimea is coming off its best season in recent memory and took Kapa‘a to the final seconds of the KIF title game.

Kaua‘i, despite just one conference victory in 2011, showed flashes from its young team and got better as the season progressed.

After a 24-7 defeat, Waimea is now hoping that the blue moon wasn’t the night’s only anomaly. The Menehune showed the grit and toughness they always display, but the offense struggled to move the ball for much of the game and while the defense played well, it got off to a rough start.

Kaua‘i running back Waika Alapai took the game’s first snap 75 yards all the way down to the Waimea 5-yard line.

He scored on the very next play to give the Raiders a 7-0 edge just 39 seconds into the KIF season.

Kaua‘i High (in red) won the opener over Waimea, 24-7

Alapai missed the remainder of the game, but he is a very special talent when he’s on the field and has always been a standout performer.

Kaua‘i quarterback Trey Aguano had a strong game and adjusted well to the action. The diminutive gunslinger had some passes batted down at the line of scrimmage early in the contest, but the coaches got him out of the pocket and he responded by putting the ball right on his receivers’ hands. There were more dropped passes than the Raiders would like, but Trey continued to give his receivers the opportunity to make plays.

One playmaker who stood out was receiver Kanoa Iwasaki, who corralled four passes in the first half, including one over the middle that was thrown sharply and well behind him. Unfortunately, Iwasaki will likely miss a good portion of the season after fracturing his collarbone being tackled hard along the sideline. In his absence, Kalawaia Judd stepped up and caught five passes, including one touch-down.

For Waimea, the evening’s slow start was what prevented its attempt at an early season lead in the standings. After giving up that first-minute touchdown and another on a 17-yard fade pass in the final minute of the second quarter, the Menehune played a much stronger second half. Showing their ground-and-pound approach, they relied on running backs Kyren Rapacon and Kenneth Tubon to carry the workload. Each player responded with solid games, Tubon finding the end zone for Waimea’s lone score.

The Menehune have a chance to right the ship in Week 3 against defending champion Kapa‘a (Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m., Hanapepe Stadium).

From what coaches have stated so far this season, one-sided victories in 2012 are going to be few and far between — sort of like once in a … well, you know.