A year ago, Konawaena and Lahainaluna met faced off in the DII state semifinals on the Big Island. The Lunas came out on top 28-14 and went on to win the state title over Kapaa in the championship game.
Fast forward to this Saturday at Aloha Stadium , the Lunas are meeting the Wildcats again. But this time, it’s for the title. And this time, the Wildcats are ready.
“We’ve been preparing … Obviously, we faced them last year so we know what they’re all about and we know that we have to prepare at a high level,” said Konawaena head coach Brad Uemoto.
Konawaena (9-2) are looking for revenge against Lahainaluna (10-1), but Uemoto knows that his team has work to do, even with just two days left to prepare for the game.
“We’re gonna do our best to play assignment football on defense, and obviously do what we do on offense,” Uemoto said. “They’re good on both sides of the ball and we got to play our best come Saturday.”
The Wildcats are coming off an impressive 53-50 victory in the semifinals against Waipahu and will be looking for the same type of offensive results on Saturday. But Lunas head coach Garret Tihada said that his football team ready to take on a hungry Wildcats team, particularly if the game goes down to the wire.
“We had two (overtime games this season), one against Maui and one against Baldwin,” Tihada said. “It just shows a lot about our kids and how they’re willing to fight and how they look during crunch time.”
Tihada added that the biggest challenge his team faces will be stopping Konawaena’s offense, singling out the team’s speed and efficiency passing the ball.
But Uemoto’s biggest concern has nothing to do with game itself - it’s everything surrounding the game that worries him.
“I think the biggest concern for us is going to be this stadium and getting over the atmosphere and traveling and coming to the big city for us,” he said. “I think once we’re over that, you measure the lines and they’re all the same where we’re at, at home. It’s just a field at the end of the day and it’s a football, we’re throwing it around and making tackles and we just get back to playing football.”
The Lunas will look to defend their state title against the Wildcats this Saturday at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is set 2 p.m.
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