Maui football Warriors clinch first win of 2012

The+Warriors+won+their+first+game+of+the+season+on+Septermber+8%2C+2012.+The+Warriors+won+11-8.

Photo by Reid Cairme

The Warriors won their first game of the season on Septermber 8, 2012. The Warriors won 11-8.

Reid Cairme

The Kamehameha Maui Warriors won their first MIL victory against King Kekaulike’s Nā Ali`i at Kana’iaupuni Stadium, September 8, 2012.

It was a close victory at 11-8, and Nā Ali`i’s choice to pass for a touchdown instead of kick for a field goal at the end of the third quarter was the turning point that gave the winning momentum to the Warriors.

“It feels better than losing,” Senior Kala`i Yap said. “We should get used to this feeling.”

Nā Ali`i came on strong near the end of the first quarter, pushing the Warriors back into their own end zone and scoring the first points of the game, a safety.

Less than a minute later on the very next play, Nā Ali`i’s Keegan Gregg scored a touchdown on the kick return, running 74-yds after catching the ball and making the score 8-0 by the end of the first quarter.

“Instead of feeling sorry,” junior Kapahanau Palakiko said, “we just picked ourselves up and played football.”

The Warriors came back in the second quarter and scored a touchdown four minutes in.

“I was surprised with how they brought the fight to us,” Yap said. “It made us only want to fight back harder.”

The Warriors went for the two-point conversion and successfully ran it into the end zone, tying Nā Ali`i, 8-8, by the end of the second quarter.

After halftime, both teams fought relentlessly to break the tie and gain a lead, their passion to win causing fumbles on both sides.

“It was hard for us,” Palakiko said, “but we held them.”

Eventually, with 49 seconds left in the third quarter, and in good position at the KSM 12-yd. line at the fourth down, Nā Ali`i quarterback Ryley Widell called for a touchdown play, a short pass to the right wide receiver, but before it was caught, the ball had passed out of bounds before it crossed the goal line, and it was first down for the Warriors at the beginning of the fourth quarter with no score for King Kekaulike.

Two minutes into the fourth quarter Brennon Aloy scrambled for a Nā Ali`i fumble on their first play of the quarter and got possession of the ball for the Warriors on their own 43-yd. line. Yap and sophomore Chase Newton maneuvered to the King Kekaulike 17-yd. line in a series of runs and short passes, and on their fourth down, Colton Cabanas kicked a field goal, giving the Warriors the lead, 11-8.

Nā Ali`i were unable to score on their final two possessions, hampered by a short 20-yd punt by the King Kekaulike kicker on their first possession and agressive pass defense by the Warriors’ Bryant Kubo on their second possession.

In control of the ball with less than a minute left in the game, the Warriors’ Yap took a knee on each of the three final downs, riding out the remaining time on the clock.

“Its more gratifying to take a knee than [risk going for] a touchdown,” Yap said, “[because] we know we have already won.”

The Warriors won 11- 8, and clinched their first victory. They now stand at one win and two losses for the season.

The Warriors will play their most highly anticipated game against the MIL Division 1 champion Baldwin Bears on Saturday, September 22, at KSM.

Not only has it been years since the Warriors were able to chalk up a win against the Bears, but many students are anxious about the possibility of a Yap/Graham matchup. With the Bears’ Keelan Ewaliko slated to be sidelined with rib injuries, former Kamehameha Maui quarterback, Ryan Graham, now a first-year senior at Baldwin High School, will likely be up against his former teammate, Yap.

“I know it will be a difficult game,” Warriors’ Coach Kevin O’Brien said, “but we will do our best to prepare and play a good game of football.”