Football Season Kicks Off
By Rick Schonely, Sports Reporter
The Molokai High School eight-man football team will set out to defend its 2015 MIL Championship as they start their new season on Sept. 24 at home against Hana.
“We are looking forward to a productive season,” said Head Coach Mike Kahale. “Last year we had a talented senior class that helped us capture our first MIL Championship. We are putting in the work and hope to repeat.”
With a new year and a new team, Kahale said his returnees will need to become leaders.
“We have about 20 returnees who will need to step up and fill the void,” he said. “After practicing a few weeks now, I am pleased with the leadership that is emerging with our upper underclassmen. They understand the program and the kind of positive culture we want to build with the team.”
Since bringing back football to MHS several years ago, the program is growing and Kahale is happy that the student-athletes want to play.
“We have about 45 athletes currently on the team, 10 of which are freshmen,” he said. “The key to building a great foundation is to attract the younger kids and get them to be a part of the program for three to four years. I feel like we are moving in the right direction.”
The program has also graduated two players who have gone on to play football as freshmen at the college level. Chelsen “Ena” Victorino is at Pima CC in Tucson, Arizona and Kaimana Kahale is at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
This year’s season is a short one in the eight-man MIL league and Kahale and the team are looking forward to it getting started.
“Our first game is not until Sept. 24 against Hana,” said Kahale. “Unfortunately it is our only regular season MIL home game and our Senior game. We hope to put ourselves in a position to host a second home game, a semifinal playoff on Oct. 22 as well.”
Road games this year are Oct. 1 at Lanai, Oct. 8 at Seabury and hopefully on Oct. 27 in the Championship game at War Memorial Stadium on Maui. A pre-season scrimmage was held on Molokai on Friday Sept. 9.