From 1986 to 1998, the St. Louis Crusaders ruled the Hawaii High School Football world with 13 straight Prep Bowl victories including 5 of them over our Red Raiders, the last 3 of those being decided by just 1 possession. In 1999, the HHSAA created a state football tournament and leveled the playing field taking away the private school’s ability to have 5th year seniors. It didn’t really matter though as St. Louis stormed through the inaugural tournament capping off with a 19-0 victory. The next year, Kahuku returned to the championship game to face St. Louis again. The 2000 team lost 2 close games to Skyline and Waianae earlier in the year but still took the OIA Crown before being a huge underdog in the State Championship game, especially after St. Louis got into the finals by destroying Waianae 63-10.
Kahuku stood tall and controlled a state championship game that they never trailed in. Future 2-time Super Bowl Champion Chris Kemoeatu helped control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball while future AFC and NFC Champion Aaron Francisco led the defense in tackles. The game was a total team effort and that was recognized by the observers as both the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Game were awarded to the entire Offensive and Defensive squads. The game was won when Mulivai Pula took off down the left sideline for a 25-yard TD run to put Kahuku up 26-14 late in the 4th Quarter. The celebration was so crazy that there were 3 different parades. One on the way home to a celebration at Kahuku’s field, one the next day that randomly started in the community and went through nearly every town in the schools’ boundaries, and the official parade the next week that included KSSK radio station. There were also a series of “Bring the Ring” events to help the members of the team buy championship rings to remember that season. At the ring banquet, Coach Suaki jokingly said “Tonight you will be married to football.” Those in attendance laughed at the joke, however it was the beginning of a strong relationship between Kahuku Football and State Championship hardware. In State Championship History, counting this year, Kahuku has the most wins and appearances in the Finals.
Now you probably have read about all the close games with St. Louis but there was one team that put a beating in the Crusaders. That team was last years legendary team and the score of that beating was 49-27. This team was great in all aspects of the game. I remember sitting on the Radford side, and after a long Aofaga Wily run, a Radford fan stood up with his hands in the air and said “What can we do? It’s Kahuku.” The Seniors of this team also has the closest relationship with the current team as their former teammates. The ending of that season is well documented, but what isn’t pointed out in the press was the unity and class that this team had for a punishment that had wrongly been placed on them. A team this talented doesn’t just show up, that’s years and years of hard work put together individually and as a team; so for them to have their reward taken from them in that fashion and still show that greatness in character off the field as a team, that’s the true heart of a champion. We’ve asked members of that team to share their best memories with the guys from this team and also any words of encouragement for tonight’s game.
Special Thanks to
Aaron Francisco #24 S (2000)
My favorite memory about winning the state championship was singing our alma mater hand-in-hand with my teammates after the game in front of all our friends and families of the north shore community. The most rewarding thing about winning that game was seeing the joy it brought to the generations of families in our community. RR4LIFE
Soape Lautaha #69 C (2000)
I think what I will always cherish, is the week leading up to the championship game, practice had never been so intense yet controlled. But most importantly I remember the feeling that for the first time all season long, every player from Kaaawa to Sunset had finally put aside their difference and had become one mind and one body, all during this week. This enabled us to believe in one another when many doubted, this strength in unity and brotherhood, is my fondest moment of the championship game, because with it, we entered the stadium on game day having already defeated our toughest opponent ever… OURSELVES, and the rest was history! Class of 2001 HEAWEGO!
Tigi Hill #3 FS (2010)
My best memory with this team would have to be the time we spent from summer workouts to the day we got disqualified. We made friendships with each other that we’ll remember as we move on with our separate lives. In those 4-5 months, we grew up by learning life lessons others don’t get to experience until later on in life. It didn’t really end up as the “perfect season” we wanted, but it was the “perfect season” we needed.
Congrats guys, you made it to the Big Dance. Out of the 47 high schools in Hawaii, you’re 1 of 2 that gets the chance to go down as the top dog, STATE champs! Just note that Kahuku has had the talent to run the state tournament since the beginning, but only 5 squads made it. So you’re getting the chance many talented Kahuku teams did not. Don’t let the opportunity slip away! Play for your family, school and community; but most importantly, yourselves. Have fun and knock some friggin’ heads this weekend!!! Cheeeeehooooooo!!!
Christopher Thee #58 OL (2010)
The best memory when coming to kahuku football is when, this past season prior to playing Saint Louis preseason, our team bonded like no other and when it came to game day, we were more prepared then ever. The expression on Saint Louis’ face when the clock hit zero was priceless. The brother hood of not only the players but the coaches and alumnus is very unique/ The bond starts on the field, yet never ends!
Advice to this year team is just to be confident, have faith in yourselves. Play hard and have fun, play in the moment, cuz you’ll never know when that moment is gonna end! O LIONZ!
Tevita Tonga #71 OL (2010)
The best memory I had was the brotherly bond that made us unstoppable.
Tyrone Brown #11 RB (2010)
My most memorable moment with the Red Raider Brotherhood was actually the day we found out we were disqualified. It really put into perspective how hard we really worked to be the successful team we were and gave us a whole day to bond n reminisce on the journey to that day.
To the current boyz in red, I just gotta say Trust in each other, yourself…and lastly our Heavenly Father. If yaall take care of the Lord 1st, he will surely take care of you.
Jackson Mapu #54 OL (2010)
MY BEST MEMORY WITH THESE GUYZ WAS DA DAY WE GOT DISQUALIFIED CAUSE WE WENT GRIND EVERYFANG, also when we were ranked 17th in the entire nation after we went beat Saint Louis….felt good to lick the team that always seemed to give us a hard time in the past….!!
MY WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT IS TO PLAY HARD AND JUST DO THE DAMN THING
Skeve Si’ilata OL #65 (2010)
Fav. memory was playing red raider ball and bonding wit da boys…..encouragement for da boyz…TAKE IT ALL DA WAYYYY!!