Kalani Meets Cougars In Crucial Football

You know the Kalani football team has turned the corner when you start putting their games into the “must win” column. That’s plainly the case this week, as head coach Greg Taguchi and team need a win to stay in contention for one of the East’s two berths in the OIA White playoffs.

Kalani must finish in the top two during the season to earn a berth, but it has a date next week with East league-leader Kaiser. (The outcome of Kalani’s game with Kalaheo last weekend (after press deadline) also is crucial.) A preview of Kalani-Pearl City game fol- lows.

Kalani at Pearl City – 7 p.m. Friday
For Kalani, this week’s matchup comes opposite a team that’s been on a roll of late, having won three in a row, heading into last weekend’s game with win-less Waialua. The Chargers are likely out of the playoff hunt among West teams since Radford and Nanakuli already hold the head-to- head tiebreaker with them, but Kalani should expect to face a spirited Pearl City team that will be observing “senior day.”

The Chargers started the season 0-4 before going on a mid-to-late-season run under first-year head coach David Hallums. Its turn- around has been in large part because of getting its passing game untracked behind quarterback Brock Teixeira, who had thrown for 1,219 yards and 17 touchdowns (against just four interceptions) entering last weekend’s action. The Chargers also have two of the league’s top playmakers in receivers Daicorri Briscoe and Isaac Amorin. They combined for 14 touchdown receptions through the first seven games.

Kalani’s best defense here could be its offense, which can help the cause by pos- sessing the ball with long drives to keep Pearl City’s own explosive passing game off the field. The Falcons will rely on a long list of playmakers to accomplish that task, including quarterback Noah Brum, running backs Gavin Kim and Genta Hammani, and receivers Enrique Gruver, Kanoa Wong, Blaise Manabe and Ikona Mamiya.

Anuenue versus Kalaheo — 6 p.m. Saturday at Kailua High
Anuenue is coming off its bye week, giving it an extra week to prepare for this matchup. The good news for Na Koa is that they gathered some momentum heading into their open week following their most cohesive effort of the year — a 42-25 win over Roosevelt Sept. 21. Its run game has been among the bright spots for the team, led by Kainalu Kaleo, who has 1,236 yards on the ground, including an average of 12.2 yards per carry to go with 13 rushing touch- downs. Fellow backs Anuenue Tui, Malaeloa Liua and Kakela Lee all are averaging 4.6 yards or better per rushing attempt.