Thursday marks as the four year anniversary of the state championship game between Saint Louis and Kahuku, which was won 30-14 by then quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the Crusaders.
This Saturday, former Red Raiders star Kekaula Kaniho will return to Aloha Stadium when his Boise State Broncos face off with the University of Hawai’i.
Kaniho, who was the 2016 KHON2 Cover2 Te’o Award Winner as defensive player of the year has continued his success at BSU, recording 151 tackles in 45 games having captured multiple awards including 2019 Mountain West Conference first-team honors.
Although not the experience he imagined when he circled the date on the calendar ahead of the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic with no fans or family in attendance, Kaniho is still counting down the days for his homecoming game.
“First game since my senior year state championship. I still remember what both locker rooms look like and feel like, so kind of getting back there I’m sure is going to be flashbacks to when I was there in my junior and senior year playing in like the state championship games or league championship games,” Kaniho told media members on Thursday from Boise.
“It’s going to be a lot of the same vibes I feel like we had in high school. I think going back to that place you always kind of flashback to those memories of when I was here playing in high school. I’m excited really, even though there’s going to be nobody in the stands. I know there’s going to be a good vibe to the place because I played a lot of games there at that same time and it is really nice when the sun is starting to go down, the lights are on, it’s perfect temperature and perfect environment to play some football.”
Kaniho won’t becoming alone either as his younger brother Kaonohi, a freshman defensive back with the Broncos will also be making the trip along with fellow Hawaii natives Keola Downing of Kamehameha, Lahainaluna’s Dalton Lins, and Waimanalo’s Riden Leong.
“All those guys back home, a lot of them on the team are local guys who you know, you’re born snd raised on the island and we’re very prideful people and proud of the place that we come from and the people that we have in our circles so I know exactly how they feel because that’s the same pride we took in high school with our high school home field,” said Kaniho. “It’s the same pride we take now, so I know exactly how they grew up, what their mentality is about home and how they really love that place and how they feel about it and the things that they’ll do to protect it. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us and we know that. Hawaii is going to do everything that they can to protect that place and elevate their game when they’re playing at home too.”
Kickoff between the Broncos and Rainbow Warriors is scheduled for 6:00pm at Aloha Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.