For the first time three decades, Konawaena will make a trip to the mainland to take on Utah’s Granger High School

The defending BIIF Division I champions left the islands on Sunday, arriving in West Valley City for its game.

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Outside of school work and practice, the team has planned a number of activities which include collegiate visits and sightseeing around the area. About 25 players on the roster have never left the state of Hawaii.

According to head coach Brad Uemoto, it’s paramount that the trip provides experiences that go beyond football.

“We ultimately planned this trip after the state tournament loss last year to Lahainaluna, sitting in the lobby of the hotel and saying maybe we’ll take a trip to the mainland and get this senior class some experience, not only football wise but for life,” Uemoto told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “It’s a great group of kids that have been around the program for four years now.”

As for the football field, the Wildcats are taking the trip seriously and take great pride in having the opportunity to not only represent the Big Island, but the entire state.

“Our kids just being from such a small town to represent the state of Hawaii, it’s a really good experience for them and they definitely feel the weight of that,” Uemoto said. “Just knowing that Hawaii high school football has definitely been on the map and so we want to replicate what other teams have done on the continent as well.”

Kickoff between Konawaena and Granger is scheduled for 3 p.m. HST.