KS football ‘real Warriors’ show heart against Baldwin

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Photo by Reid Cairme

Junior Chayce Tancayo lifts Baldwin's wide receiver Kamalei Anderson off the ground on a tackle. While the Warriors could not defeat the MIL Division I champions, they put up a good fight and showed vast improvement over their first meeting. Baldwin won the close game, 33-22, last night at Kana'iaupuni.

By Reid Cairme, staff writer

Kamehameha Schools Maui Warriors varsity football team played against the Baldwin Bears last night, Oct. 7, at Kana’iaupuni Stadium. Baldwin
won, 33-22, but not without the Warriors putting up a good fight.

“My thought is that the real Warriors came out tonight. Baldwin came out and played hard, but I think we came with more effort than we did at the start of the season,” said quarterback Ryan Graham, who started and played the entire game for the first time this season.

Regular starter, junior Kalai Yap, was sidelined due to being under the weather before last night’s game.

Despite the change, the Warriors came out fighting. During the first quarter, senior Daylan Machado scored a touchdown on the Warriors’ second play of the evening, and Nazareth Thibodeaux ran a successful 2-point conversion, giving the Warriors an 8-point lead within the first two minutes of the game. The Warriors also kept the Bears scoreless in the first quarter, but the second quarter was a complete 180 degree turnaround.

The Bears rolled over the Warriors defense, kept them down in Bear territory and scored three touchdowns and a safety when they sacked Graham in the end zone. By halftime, the Bears had caught up and passed the Warriors, leading 23-8.

Except for a difference of two Bear touchdowns, the game looked like it would be a repeat of the Baldwin-Kamehameha match on Sept. 9. In that game, the Bears led 35-7 at halftime, but the Warriors had many surprises lined up for Baldwin and for the home team fans in the second half.

First, the Warriors defense toughened up and held the score at 23-8 until the fourth quarter. Then, the Bears punted a nearly 35-yard field goal 1:15 into the period.

The stunned crowd really got charged up, though, when Warriors wide receiver Jordan Nauka then ran 95-yards on a kickoff return and scored, bringing the game to 26-15.

One of the strangest plays of the night also occurred in the fourth quarter. Graham set up a pass play to wide receiver Andrew Park-Murray, but the Bears intercepted, and the Baldwin player ran the ball back for about 20 yards before he was tackled. However, Baldwin fumbled on the way down. Junior Dylan Nakoa, picked it up restoring possession back to the Warriors and resetting the downs back to first.

The Warriors were not so lucky the next time, when the Bears intercepted successfully soon after, which put them in possession for their final touchdown of the evening. The Bears pushed relentlessly for yards, gaining first downs one right after the other, and scored again, increasing their lead and bringing the game to 33-15, Bears.

With five minutes left on the clock, Nauka ran another spectacular kick return of 40-yards. This was followed by a chaotic period in which both teams were hit with penalties, but when Machado then caught a 30-yd. pass, it put the Warriors in an excellent scoring position with two minutes remaining on the clock and a first down situation for the Warriors on the Bears’ 15-yard line.

The Warriors did score, getting another 7 points. Neither team was able to score after that, and the game ended with a Bear win, 33-22, a big difference from the final 41-7 score of Sept. 9.

“I was really impressed and proud of them tonight,” Assistant Coach Lemoe Tua said. “They are doing much better than the beginning of the season. If they keep this up, I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the season.”

Just as the varsity team played a completely different game against the Bears since their first match-up, the junior varsity team did the same, just in the opposite direction. While the JV squad lost to the Bears by 20 points on Sept. 9 (27-7), they could not seem to hold up last night, losing to the Bears 42-6.

In the JV game that started at 4:30, Baldwin scored within the first 3 minutes. The first quarter ended 15-zero, the Bears leading. Following that, Baldwin kept scoring during the second quarter and went into halftime in the lead, 35-0.

The JV Warriors seemed energized after the halftime break and held the line against the Bears, keeping them to one touchdown throughout the entire third quarter. In the fourth quarter, sophomore Ravin Caliva scored a touchdown for the Warriors, and the game ended 42-6.

“We weren’t prepared for what they pulled off,” linebacker Kiyozo Vaituulala said. “We were ready for what they did last time, but they switched it
around.”

He said that the difference between this game and the last was “our intensity. Last time we didn’t know what to expect,” so he said that the team was more mentally prepared for anything at the Sept. 9 game.

Tonight was also the first night of the season that the Kamehameha Maui band played at a football game. Their drum beats and playing of Iron Man and The Hey Song helped cheer on the team, cheerleaders and crowd of supporters.

By the fourth quarter, everyone was clapping and cheering along. Did they bring some added inspiration to tonight’s game? It’s hard to tell, but team mom Ms. Sharolyn Pali said, “The band pumps our team up. That’s what our team needs.”

That kind of feedback could bring the band back to other games.  “The band was better than I expected, even with the fact that the bulk of my kids are in football, cheer or track [and therefore couldn’t perform tonight]. They were scared petrified, but still played well,” said Band teacher Mr. Siuai Laufou.

Sophomore JV receiver Ravin Caliva’s name was misspelled. It has been corrected as of 7:30 p.m., 10/10/11.