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Field of dreams becomes reality for No. 2 Kahuku


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POSTED: Friday, September 04, 2009

The grass is greener, as a sage once said, where you water it.

At Kahuku, the grass is definitely a new shade of green thanks to the work of the team and community. Bermuda grass has started to grow lush at Carleton Weimer field, a welcome change for players who endured years of crusty, rock-hard soil. Unwanted crabgrass was given doses of poison this summer. While new light poles laid out on the field for a good stretch of August—they were hoisted and installed last week—the Red Raiders did their practicing at the adjacent City and County field.

Even the spring game was held on the C&C field. That long hiatus from Weimer Field makes tonight's game with Roosevelt a bit special.

“;We're finally going to be home,”; coach Reggie Torres said. “;Our lights are ready. The field is pretty much ready. The team is definitely excited.”;

Ranked No. 2 in the Star-Bulletin Football Top 10, Kahuku is unbeaten in three games, including last week's 36-0 win at Kailua. Numbers, though, can be deceiving.

“;Actually, we're still trying to get our offense in rhythm. We really struggled with Kailua. We knew they'd be tough in the trenches,”; Torres said.

Kailua, led by linebacker Calen Friel, limited the Red Raiders to 101 total yards in offense.

“;Defensively, we feel comfortable. We got our penalties down. Special teams did good,”; Torres said. “;Our defense gave us the ball on the 20, the 10, but we really didn't have any drives.”;

Though they're mixing it up on offense with more formations conducive to passing, Kahuku still relies on the ground attack.

“;We had only one run of more than 15 yards,”; Torres said.

Like Kailua, Roosevelt (1-2) is stout at linebacker. First-year coach Pat Silva was bullish about his 'backers in preseason for good reason. Torres knows why.

“;Their defense is pretty tough. The linebackers can fly, and they mix up their defenses,”; he said. “;Against Aiea, they ran a 3-4, then a 4-1 (dime) in certain situations.”;

Torres also noted that Roosevelt has shown six defenders at the line of scrimmage. The Rough Riders also have a burner at wide receiver in Agaese Tago. The 5-foot-8, 145-pound junior caught two touchdowns in a 20-17 loss to Farrington last week.

“;That one player is the player to watch. He's just a good athlete,”; Torres said.

Here's a look at more of tonight's games:

McKinley vs. Kailua, Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium

The Tigers (0-1, 0-0 OIA Red) have been busy at practice since losing to Pac-Five 66-40 two weeks ago. Quarterback Iosefatu Fiso is a quarterback in a linebacker's body (5-11, 225) and has a big-play target in Solomon Dixon. Kailua (1-2, 0-1 OIA Red) won't throw as often as Pac-Five, but has faced some of the state's top defenses (Kamehameha, Kahuku) already.

Radford at Pearl City

The Rams (1-2, 1-1 OIA White) were hurting after a missed PAT in the second overtime cost them the game last week against Moanalua. They've had little time to dwell on defeat since. After facing Moanalua's option attack, they've had to prepare for Pearl City's run-and-shoot offense.

The last time Radford faced a passing attack, Leilehua's Andrew Manley was 18-for-37 in a 23-20 Mules win.

Pearl City's thrilling last-minute win over Aiea last week was a good start to the regular season. The Chargers (1-1, 1-0 OIA White) will have to contend with a balanced Radford offense that features two quarterbacks and go-to rusher Phil Hogan, who returned a kickoff for a touchdown last week.

Waialua vs. Kalani, Kaiser Stadium

Waialua (1-2, 1-1 OIA White) can air it out. William Sacapulo-Uepa had a monster game last week with 331 passing yards and four scoring passes against Anuenue. The last two touchdowns, of 71 and 47 yards, went to Branden Galapia (eight catches, 210 yards).

Kalani (0-2, 0-1 OIA White), with a major influx of players from last year's junior varsity team, has been shut out in two outings so far.

Aiea vs. Kalaheo, Kailua field

Na Alii (2-1, 1-1 OIA White) are coming off a heart-breaking loss to Pearl City, and it won't get easier against the proud Mustangs (2-1, 1-1 OIA White). Kalaheo has suited up 20 to 25 players for its games so far, but a stellar defense has been a key factor.

Lahainaluna at Maui

The Lunas (0-1, 0-0 Maui Interscholastic League) are a Division II squad, but has been competitive with all MIL teams. Baldwin has been Lahainaluna's toughest competition in recent years, but Maui might be back on track after last week's 21-0 win over Waimea.

Tomorrow: A look at Saturday's big matchups, including Saint Louis/Pac-Five, Kamehameha-'Iolani, Castle-Farrington, Mililani-Waipahu and Campbell-Waianae.