Fallen hero, rising Warriors at KSM, Kekaulike football

KSM+vs.+KKHS+Varsity

Photo by Dylan Godsey

Linebacker Taylor Ka'aukai (#23) takes down King Kekaulike ball carrier Joshua Ogata (#12) at the Saturday, September 3 Warrior home game. The Maui Warriors won their first regular season game against Na Ali'i 24-15. The gallery photos above are of the varsity game. The slideshow photos above that are from the JV game.

KS Maui quarterback Kala"i Yap on September 3, 2011, win against King Kekaulike

Dylan Godsey

By Dylan Godsey, Sports co-editor

A moment of silence for a fallen hero, four quarters of back and forth scoring, and a win for the Kamehameha Maui Warriors football team was the result of Saturday’s game against Nā Aliʻi of King Kekaulike at Kana’iaupuni Stadium.

The night started with a moment of silence for Navy Specialist Mr. Kraig Vickers, killed in action in Afghanistan in August. The Maui native was the brother of KSM Defensive Line Coach Robert Vickers, who said, “It [the moment of silence] [was] a great honor of respect from both teams and the fans.”

The stadium flags were also flying at half mast and the team had a Warriors jersey with the number 54 on it, Mr. Kraig Vickers’ number when he was a football player at Maui High School, displayed on the back of the home team bench. This was the Warriors’ first home game since the Vickers ‘ohana’s loss.

The game then began with both teams turning the ball over on downs and not scoring on either side in the first half.  The Warriors were getting the ball to the red zone, but seemed unable to capitalize on the great positioning, getting stopped by the Kekaulike defense several times. 

On the other side, Na Ali’i’s running game was not moving the ball much past the middle of the field throughout the first two quarters, and the score reflected that. It remained 0-0 at halftime.

The second half was an entirely different game. This time, when the Warriors were facing a fourth down in scoring position, Kupono Cabanas (#20) attempted a field goal, but it was ruled no good, just left of the uprights.

Both teams began putting the ball in the air, and the game was on. With nine and a half minutes left in the third quarter, Nā Aliʻi scored and completed the point after touchdown, making the score 7-0.

When the Warriors took possession, they marched the ball all the way down to the goal line, and quarterback Kalaʻi Yap (#8) charged it in for a Kamehameha score. That was followed up by Cabanas (#20) nailing the point after right through the uprights, evening the score to 7-7.

Minutes later, still in the 3rd quarter, a successful fumble recovery by Alika Sanchez (#14) led to a Stephen Barut (#5) touchdown. He ran the ball in, pushing the Warriors into the lead, 14-7.

Then, with a successful defensive interception by Taylor Ka’aukai (#23), the Warriors regained possession. Ka’aukai originally ran for a touchdown, but the play was called back on a foul. King Kekaulike player Joshua Kahaikupuna (#50) suffered an injury to his right leg on the same play and had to leave the game.

Though the play was called back for a block in the back, the Warriors retained possession, moved the ball to within scoring distance, and Cabanas* kicked it cleanly through the uprights. The Warriors tacked on three more points to their lead bringing the score to, 17-7.

In the fourth quarter with key Na Ali’i offensive lineman Kahaikupuna out, Na Ali’i took their game to the sky, and threw one successful pass play after another, making their way down the field with lightning speed.

With 3:43 left in the game, Nā Aliʻi put 8 points on the board with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion, gaining on  the Warriors, who now led by only two points, 17-15.

The Warriors quickly returned the ball, and Yap once again scored on a quarterback run making the score, 24-15 and giving Kekaulike possession with 1:34 remaining in the game.  

However, the daring Na Ali’i strategy cost them this time when Warriors linebacker Makoa Mederios (#24) intercepted a pass, and after a taking a knee, the Warriors wound down the play clock and ended the game as victors.

Overall, the Warriors made four interceptions, the two by Sanchez, one by Medeiros and one by Jordan Nauka (#12), who managed to hang onto the ball even after a rough tackle into the sidelines.

For the regular MIL season, the Warriors are at one win, one loss.

Yap, Kamehameha Maui quarterback and leading scorer for the game said, “It [winning] feels good, but I want to thank the rest of the team for doing their job, so I could do mine.”

The varsity Warriors’ next game will be against the Baldwin Bears at War Memorial Stadium on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7 p.m. The junior varsity game will precede it at 4:30.

In last night’s junior varsity action, the Maui Warriors took the lead in the first half, 12-7, and brought the win home in the second half with a touchdown by quarterback Chase Newton. The final score was 19-7. The JV Warriors are undefeated after two games.

*The original wording of this article has been changed. In the original version, the field goal was incorrectly attributed to a different player by the article editor. The editorial staff apologizes for any confusion.