Kahuku’s Carvalho recalls 1991 Red Raiders

Newly appointed Kahuku football coach Sterling Carvalho led Kauai to a KIF title in 1991. Courtesy photo.

Different island. Different Red Raiders.

Sterling Carvalho was a key component of the Red Raiders in the early 1990s, but that was the Kauai Red Raiders.

Carvalho is now the head man with a different Red Raiders altogether, the Kahuku kind.

Same colors. Same nickname. Different level.

Carvalho was the quarterback for the Kauai High team that earned the 1991 Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship, the first one for the school since 1978. Little did Carvalho, his teammates and Red Raiders fans know at the time, but the team would not win a league title again for another 13 years, in 2004.

That 1991 title was under coach Bill Arakaki, who still works for the Department of Education on Kauai.

“We keep in touch,” Carvalho said last week after being named the Kahuku head coach. “Bill Arakaki, my head coach, sent me a text congratulating me. His leadership back then influenced me as a player. Macky Doi (an assistant under Arakaki) was an inspiration to me to become an offensive coordinator like him. He got me studying defenses and that’s how I learned to break it down back then. We used to have meetings breaking down defenses and that’s how I became a student of the game rather than just a player. That’s the kind of coach I want to be as well. When players leave, I want them to remember me not as just a coach, but someone who shaped their lives.”

Carvalho still remembers the play against Waimea that got Kauai High that 1991 title and into the annual, but now-defunct, Neighbor Islands Football Championships.

“It was overtime, four plays from the 10-yard line,” Carvalho said. “It was a play-action pass with a defender riding my face. I got hit as I threw it, but made the throw and Troy Refamonte made the catch.”

Carvalho even had a nickname given to him by Fig Mitchell, a Kauai radio play-by-play announcer at the time — “the magician.”

Now, after spending three seasons as Kahuku’s junior varsity coach, Carvalho will try to bring some of his magic to the Kahuku varsity team that already has large amounts of its own magic.

Carvalho, 42, works for Hawaii Technology Academy, a statewide public charter school in Waipahu. He teaches math and Spanish and he is an athletic director at the school. And while it does not have its own teams, HTA does have athletes that participate in sports at OIA, MIL, BIIF and KIF schools in the districts they live in.

Kahuku’s Carvalho recalls 1991 Red Raiders