Kalani Simpson


By Kalani Simpson

coolest thing we’ve done

THERE is a scene in the timeless cinematic classic "Beavis and Butt-head Do America" in which our hero, Butt-head, gets punched out by Chelsea Clinton, falls out a second-story window, lands on his head in a bush with a thud, and finds himself surrounded by hundreds of federal agents armed with eye-popping amounts of weaponry and fully intent on shooting him in the throat.

It is at this moment that Butt-head utters, in his understated lisp as only he can declare:

"This is the coolest thing I have ever done."

This is the coolest thing we have ever done.

MAYBE YOU STAYED home and clicked in on the highlights every so often on TV. Maybe you missed the history of the HHSAA/First Hawaiian Bank Football Classic. You didn't smell the barbecue smoke or feel the adrenaline of kickoff, when everything was still possible.

So maybe you think you were right, when you heard later that things got impossible in a hurry.

But no. These games were big. They were big before they started, and a day later, they still are.

"Just the challenge," Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai said. "You know, to show these guys where we should be, or how much we need to improve this program to get close to where we were."

The talent on the field was stunning last night. The event was a success just for that, if nothing else. These were the best high school football teams in the country. They were great. And they played here. And Hawaii's teams got to give them their best shot.

That's what this was about, and that made last night a success no matter the scores.

Yes, the timing was bad for the Red Raiders. Last year's Kahuku team got this game scheduled, but this year's Kahuku team had to play it. You asked for it, you got it, Toyota.

But Hawaii high school football, for good reason, had finally found the level of respect nationally that these giants thought that playing here wouldn't hurt them in the BCS rankings.

The mainland teams were psyched, and they were ready. Poly coach Raul Lara said he could feel it in his bunch mid-week. "This week was so busy," he said, "I thought I was gonna die." These games were big all around. Think they weren't? Lara was doused with the ice bucket. The week was big, the win was big.

Did the final scores put a damper on things? Yes, yes they did.

But competition, this kind of competition at its highest level, only makes high school football in Hawaii better. And faced with stunning speed, intensity and talent (a squad that last year's state champions could have better played with) Livai may have found his team last night.

He had to find it. He was forced to adjust, and his Red Raiders did. And St. Louis did, too, coming out tough against talent and execution that were staggering.

We saw that St. Louis' Tolifili Liufau can play with anyone in the country. We saw Kahuku's fans stick with their team to the end, almost losing it when the Raiders found the end zone against one of the best teams in the country. We heard the stadium explode when St. Louis scored.

It was the coolest thing we've ever done.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at

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