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FOOTBALL WRAP PART 3: Coach Kyle Linoz Revived The Pride Of Waimea Football In Grand Fashion

Third In An 8-Part Series: Coach of the Year

They’re still feeling the euphoria in Waimea.

Two weeks ago, the Menehunes capped an amazing revival with a dominant 45-6 victory over King Kekaulike in the Division II title game of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships.

There was a huge concert for the team on Friday night (Dec. 9), they’ll be honored at the town’s annual Christmas parade next weekend, and sometime in January, there’s going to be a banquet to top it all off.

Yes, this type of stuff is a joy for these boys after a job well done all throughout the fall under the guidance of coach Kyle Linoz, who is Bedrock Sports Hawaii’s choice for state coach of the year.

Hungry to make their presence known in state competition, Waimea (9-2) kicked off its season with two wins against teams from other islands, including a 21-10 affair against the team the Menehunes would vanquish in the state championship game — those Na Alii from Maui.

Despite having come out on top in that nonleague game, King Kekaulike earned the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye at states, while Waimea needed to play in the first round and win two games just to get their shot at beating Na Alii again.


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“We’re still celebrating,” Menehunes defensive lineman Kaizen Castillo told Bedrock Sports Hawaii earlier this week. “It’s still sinking in.”

Two fortunate events came to pass for Waimea to get the team back to the big stage for the first time since 2003.

One: Linoz came on board for his second stint as head coach before the 2021 season.

Two: KIF opponent Kapaa gave the Menehunes a road map on how to get it done one year ago.

Linoz, a former Menehunes quarterback, reinstalled a system based on tough defense and ball control and the team’s trademark fundamentals and discipline harkened back to the schools proud roots put down years ago under coaches Tommy Rita, Pat Pereira and Jon Kobayashi.

And those rival Warriors did in 2021 what Waimea got done this year — brought home the D-II koa trophy.

With Kapaa moving up to D-I this year, the Menehunes went on the warpath, not only in an attempt to get to and win states, but also to take over supremacy of the KIF.

That latter part, however, was unsuccessful. After splitting two games against Kapaa, the rubber match for the league championship went the Warriors way in a close-to-the-vest 3-0 slugfest.

In order to get a full grasp of Waimea’s relative strength statewide, remember that Kapaa went on to take a 22-point lead on Waipahu in the state D-I first round before falling 49-41, and that those winning Marauders made it all the way to the state D-I title game in a 38-28 loss to Konawaena.

By winning so handily in the D-II state final, it’s possible Waimea showed it belongs up one division in the future, if not next year.

“Kapaa opened our eyes by winning it all last year,” Castillo said. “And even more so after we beat them (7-3) in the first game. We had two downhill games against them that if we came together we would have beaten them. But it all came to a good ending — the ending we wanted. Next year, we’ll do even better.”

Fitting the pieces together is something Linoz did exceptionally well, according to Castillo.

“He coached a lot of us boys (in youth football) for so long so he knows our strengths and weaknesses and puts us in positions to where we can do our best. He sees stuff in us that we don’t see in ourselves. He helps that power rise up in us. That’s a great quality to have.”


The Rest Of The 8-Part Series

Already Posted:
>> FOOTBALL WRAP PART 1: Kahuku’s Leonard Ah You Was, Literally, The Closer In Second Straight State Championship Run
>> FOOTBALL WRAP PART 2: Waipahu’s Liatama Uiliata Showed Unique Ability On The Way To Becoming Bedrock’s State Offensive Player Of The Year
Upcoming Posts:
>> FOOTBALL WRAP PART 4: Kahuku Dealt With Intense Pressure En Route To 10th Top-Tier State Championship
>> FOOTBALL WRAP PART 5: Konawaena Took Oahu By Storm For School’s First D-I State Championship
>> FOOTBALL WRAP PART 6: Shang HI Media’s MUST-SEE Video Compilation Of Waimea’s 45-6 D-II State Title Victory Over King Kekaulike
>> FOOTBALL WRAP PART 7: Nacnac Productionz’s MUST-SEE Video Compilation Of Konawaena’s 38-28 D-I State Title Win Over Waipahu
>> FOOTBALL WRAP PART 8: Shang HI Media’s MUST-SEE Video Compilation Of Kahuku’s 20-0 Open State Championship Win Over Punahou




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