Football Plays Historic 11-man Game

Photo by Rick Schonely

For the first time in more than half a century, Molokai Football took to the field with 11 players instead of eight. Though the Farmers lost 37-0 to Nanakuli on Oahu last Satur-day, Head Coach Mike Kahale still considers it a win.

“[It’s been] over 50 years since Molokai has played an 11-man game so definitely a great experience here for us to play under the lights in this atmosphere against a team on Oahu,” he said. “I know the boys were a little disappointed they couldn’t compete as well, [but] I don’t think the score really reflects our effort out there… I think the boys will remember this game and hopefully despite the loss, really cherish it and take it to heart and learn from it.”

The Farmers held the first quarter to a 0-0 score and Kahale said he thought the boys played well in the first half, which closed 21-0. After that, he said, fatigue kicked in.

“I think traveling with skeleton crew of 24 guys and having eight guys playing both ways to start the game, they just kinda got spent,” said Kahale. “After a while, we just had to do a bunch of substitutions and the efficiency kind of fell off.”

He’s hoping to be back up to a pool of 40 players for their upcoming and last 11-man preseason game of the year against Kamehameha Maui on Saturday.

“We hope to get some things back together, we get some guys back from injury for this coming week, some guys hopefully off academic review and get 40-plus guys eligible to go instead of the 24 we took here,” explained Kahale.

Kahale was grateful to Nanakuli for the experience.

“Nanakuli has been such great hosts and we really appreciate them and their commu-nity reaching out to us,” he said. “Hopefully in the future some time we can host them and have them come to Molokai.”

After playing eight-man games since restarting Molokai’s football program, the Farmers have shown they’re up to the task of stepping up to 11-man plays. The team is four-time Maui Interscholastic League eight-man Football Champions, and these two 11-man preseason games represent what may be in the team’s future. But for this season, after this weekend’s Kamehameha Maui game, Molokai will go back to eight-man foot-ball for the rest of this year.


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