Nearly 30 Years in the Making
Ready to rock and roll in the 1989 Prep Bowl
Being on the field for the Punahou game last Saturday was both a privilege and a pleasure! It brought back vivid memories come to life as if it was yesterday.
The two opponents were the same, however, the roles were quite the opposite! Punahou was the pre-season favorite to win the prep bowl which was considered the de facto State Championship. Kahuku, coincidentally, had a first year coach who was fit and fiery! Not too different from our current first year coach. It's interesting to see the role reversal with Kahuku now the bonafide higher ranked team.
Some members of our 2018 Offensive Line
There were a couple of things that remained the same though - an athletic road grading offensive line and a flexible, hard hitting defense were keys to winning the game for Big Red. The Spirit of Kahuku football is still the same too and now it's grown to much, much more.
It was nearly 30 years ago in 1989 when the Kahuku team that I belonged to played and beat Punahou in a signature game for our team and for the Kahuku program. On the shoulders of our predecessors we did a lot of pioneering for the Kahuku program. Our 1st year coach was a crazy white boy from California. He was the perfect fit for us and elevated the program in his 1st year which happened to coincide with my senior year. We beat Punahou in the pre-season. We beat a tough Castle team in the mud @ Carleton E. Weimer field. We had a winning season after going 3 and 5 in the 1988 season. We beat Waianae for the 1st time in a long time in the OIA Semi-Finals. In the OIA Championship we faced Castle once a gain. After beating them 19 to 0 during the regular season this one was much closer with us being down 7 to 3 in the 4th quarter. Eventually, behind his oline and fullback Andy Moea'i, Mark Atuaia scored the game winning touchdown in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter. That OIA Championship was the first since the historic 1972 win over Leilehua and it also catapulted us into our first ever Prep Bowl.
DG, our crazy white boy head coach Doug Semones, and me.
Nearly 30 years in the making and our Red Raiders have won the OIA championship 26 times, are perennial Hawaii State Champs, a regional power, with national recognition from time to time. Not to mention our alumni are found in just about every major conference, in every major division, as well as at the Junior College level. And don't forget the many that have graced NFL rosters and a few still in the league now.
1989 was a great year for Kahuku Football and proved to be a launching pad of sorts for the program it is today. A program that is rooted not recruited. A program that exemplifies it's long standing motto of the Pride of the North Shore. Indeed in "old Kahuku stands our Alma Mater" but our future never looked so bright.