‘It’s been a special journey'

Despite small roster size Kaimuki Bulldogs prove they have the bark and bite to be great

Kaimuki will play KS-Hawaii on Saturday night in the HHSAA Division II state football playoffs

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Kaimuki Bulldogs have one of the smallest roster sizes in the state.

With the effects of head injuries becoming more an more prevalent in contact sports, it’s no surprise that numbers and registrations of football players across all states and age groups continue to dwindle.

For one reason or another, one thing has become clear: less kids are playing football.

For bigger schools here in Hawaii, it’s hard to see the impact. Private schools and even some of the elite OIA programs have rosters that number almost in the triple digits.

Kaimuki High School has never been fortunate in that regard. The Bulldog roster may not be filled, but the kids who are on it are tough. Really tough.

The Bulldog roster numbers almost in the 30s, which means most of the kids are playing both sides of the ball, the whole game.

The kids don’t complain about “being tired.” They just play, and they win.

Despite the lack of depth, the Bulldogs have played gritty all season. They finished conference play with a record of 8-1.

Kaimuki advanced all the way to the Division II OIA championship game this season for the first time in years, before falling in a thrilling game to the Roosevelt Roughriders 28-18.

Head Coach David Tautofi is now in his fourth season. Despite not having an overwhelming number of players like most of his counterparts, he has still competed successfully an seen the program grow tremendously.

“In my second year I was just trying to create something exciting and to try and see how many kids we could muster up for the season, because we weren’t even going to get 20," he said.

Sophomore offensive linemen Siosaia Nisa believes that the team has accomplished some great things on the field and in the community during the 2018 season.

Nisa believes the success of the program and it’s players can be summed up in one word.

“Our coaches preach to us ‘attitude’ having the right attitude here on the field and in school," he said.

Tautofi is just pleased to see his boys improving in all areas of their life, not just football.

“It’s been a special journey that has already made an impact on the lives of these kids, I’m seeing the changes happening in the kid’s lives and their attitudes, just in the way they choose to carry themselves, they have matured," Tautofi said.

The Kaimuki Bulldogs will take on the KS-Hawaii Warriors this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. on the Big Island in the first round of the First Hawaiian Bank HHSAA Football State Championships for Division II.

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