POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Sep 7, 2010
Eleven years without a win on the football field can feel like an eternity.
But for the Ka'u Trojans, going 33 years without a win over old-time rival Konawaena bordered on anguish.
Ka'u ended both droughts with a 12-0 victory over the Wildcats on Friday at the Trojans' field.
With a small enrollment and a local economy that has struggled for decades, the football program has made do with limited resources. One of them is Greg Rush, a multi-sport coach who utilizes a variation of the A11 offense popularized in California.
Michael Alcoran was a key factor with a 20-yard touchdown catch and a 5-yard scoring run. That brought smiles to Ka'u, which once flourished as a sugar-plantation region. The Big Island Interscholastic Federation penalized the program with a two-year probation at the varsity level shortly after the last time it beat Konawaena.
"It's awesome for the entire Ka'u community and for all the alumni that are around the world," said Robin Gomes, who was not quite in high school yet when the Trojans, including his brother Jeff, beat Konawaena. "It's such a small, tight-knit community. Everyone pretty much knows everyone."
Competition in girls volleyball has always been the domain of powerhouses like Kamehameha and Punahou, though upstarts like Hawaii Baptist and Molokai have enjoyed the spotlight in Division II during recent years.
Many programs, especially the ones at the top, make it a habit to fortify their ammunition. Punahou has long been among the best, but that didn't stop coach Peter Balding from securing his own video footage during Kamehameha's win at 'Iolani on Saturday.
"I respect that," Kamehameha middle blocker Talia Jardin-Fermentez said.
Warriors coach Chris Blake wasn't surprised.
"Their whole team was here," he said. "Peter's going to do a great job preparing them."
Kamehameha and Punahou do not meet until October.