Kahuku Wins Hawaii
The Kahuku Red Raiders won the Hawaii Boys State Championship, winning both their semifinal and final on Saturday.
Kahuku faced off with Kamehameha in the semis, winning comfortably 67-0.
This was Kamehameha’s first season and the players competed well through the season.
“They have some really cool kids who love the sports and play with so much respect and passion,” said Kahuku Coach Seamus Fitzgerald. “They'll be stronger next year and we're so happy to have another single school to compete with - I believe their inclusion this year in Hawaii rugby is such a huge Milestone that'll it'll change a lot of the game for the future.”
Meanwhile, another relatively new team, St. Francis, shut out the Hilo Reign in the other semi to set up what is becoming a heated rivalry.
Kahuku tournament MVP Sekope Latu with the team championship trophy, and his MVP award.
The final was very physical, as expected, and was marred by too many penalties. Kahuku’s Aaron Tapusoa scored a classic power winger’s try, fighting his way to the corner. converted nicely form the sideline. Kahuku kept up the pressure and put themselves in scoring position repeatedly. Three times the Raiders opted for posts, and Sekope Latu slotted three kicks to make it 16-0 for Kahuku at halftime.
In the second half, the intensity ramped up seriously. More penalties made it difficult for St. Francis to construct anything, and they began to see cards from the referee. Despite letting their frustrations boil over, St. Francis managed to score a try and put themselves in with a shot at overhauling Kahuku.
It didn’t happen, as Kahuku held on for a 16-7 win and their third straight state title.
“The boys played great and maintained composure under difficult conditions,” said Fitzgerald.
Sekope was name MVP of the playoffs, while Kahuku captain Lono Konongataa was named team MVP.
Next up for Kahuku is a trip to California, with a game against Jesuit and the Pacific Cup against some of the top teams from the western half of the mainland.