Thursday | December 14, 2017
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BIIF Division II football championship: Kamehameha out to buck the trend against Konawaena

KEAAU – Most Kamehameha fans and players probably would have taken the defensive effort.

In theory, holding Konawaena to 13 points should have been enough for the Warriors to grind out a victory in the team’s regular-season meeting Sept. 29 in Keaau.

But don’t tell that to coach Dan Lyons.

“If you told me we were are going to hold them to 13 points,” Lyons said, “I’d say how many mistakes did we make?”

One too many – and that’s been a season-long theme for the Warriors, who appeared ever so cool and confident as they went through a light practice Thursday at their field, even if they haven’t always protected the ball so assuredly this season.

“We execute well on both sides of the ball,” two-way senior Grayson Cosier told the Tribune-Herald. “I know you hear this around (here), but I just think we beat ourselves most of the time. We needed these two weeks of practice just to find ourselves.”

BIIF football championship weekend brings another edition of Warriors-Wildcats in Division II. By courtesy of that 13-12 victory, Konawaena (7-0 BIIF, 7-2) hosts at 7 p.m. Friday seeking their third consecutive crown, and sixth in the past seven seasons. Runners-up the past two season, Kamehameha (5-2, 7-3) eyes it first title since 2014.

With a loss, most if not all of Kamehameha’s seniors would be denied a championship on their watch.

“It’s all about leaving a legacy,” Cosier said. “All I want to do is to win a crown and take it to a state championship, and I feel like we have the team to do that.”

Lyons took myriad questions as he watched his team practice, but in essence his answers all boiled down to one thought: When it’s all said and done, the Warriors have to make one more play than the Wildcats.

“When you make a play, you can’t give up a play,” he said. “I think we can beat anybody we play.

“I felt we moved the ball well against (Konawaena). I not expecting a 54-48 game, I’m expecting a tough game.”

Kamehameha couldn’t come up with that one play three weeks ago.

Trailing by a point in the waning moments, the Warriors were on the move and facing a third-and-2 at the Wildcats’ 9 with Justin Kenoi warming up for a potential go-ahead field goal.

When Lyons describes the sequence, he turns deliberate, almost as if he’s remembering a tedious task.

Bad snap.

Konawaena ball.

Game over.

“There are not many good teams that can make mistakes in crucial times and survive them,” Lyons said.

A fourth-quarter turnover caused by a bad snap also was the turning point in the Warriors’ other BIIF loss, a 28-14 defeat at the hands of Hilo on Sept. 22.

And no one on Kamehameha’s sideline needs to be reminded that the Warriors fell less than a yard short in last season’s D-II final as an interception sealed Konawaena’s 27-23 victory.

Cosier has the unique opportunity to affect the game by going up against the Wildcats’ biggest playmaker on each side of the ball.

As an offensive lineman, he’ll at times be tasked with blocking Paka Cacoulidis, one of the BIIF’s most menacing defensive players.

“They bring a lot of pressure and you can tell that’s something they’ve been working on,” Cosier said. “That’s what’s good about having these two weeks. We’ve been able to practice our pickups and communication.”

As an defensive lineman, Cosier will try to help the Warriors set the edge to keep containment on quarterback Austin Ewing, who is one most dangerous when he’s making plays outside the pocket.

“That’s what kills us,” Cosier said.

His high school career is about to come full circle.

As a freshman, Cosier spent his first junior varsity game chasing Ewing at Julian Yates Field, and he’s ready be a road Warrior again.

“I was just thinking about that. I’m a senior now and this could be my last game, and I find myself going back to the very same place,” he said.

“We’re ready for a good fight,” he added. “It’s been four years in the making.”

 

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