Defending champ Kahuku ready for season opener against Leilehua

It’s easier to win a championship than to defend one.

The Kahuku Red Raiders believe they attacked the off-season with the required regimen to render the target on their backs bulletproof.

“We always have to look to be better than last year, so we have the windshield mentality. We’re just looking forward,” said Red Raider cornerback Kekaula Kaniho.

Kahuku’s teflon belief is based on a defense that figures to be just that. The Red Raiders return five starters and three Cover2 All-State players from what was statistically the best defense in state history in 2015.

“Our goal this year is to top that,” Kaniho said.

The Red Raiders only allowed 4.1 points-per-game a season ago despite only having 108 days from head coach Vavae’s hiring last spring until their first game.

A full off-season of learning Tata’s scheme and training program is a scary thought for the rest of the state.

“It helps a lot for the defense,” Kaniho said. “I know because we’ve already put in all of the stuff we learned last year, so now we can just build on top of that, and the whole off-season, we kind of grasp it more and understand the ins and outs of it.”

Kahuku kicks off its 2016 season at Leilehua Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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