Unranked and Underdogs: Boys Soccer Play in State Finals

Hope Ishizaka, Director of Sales

      Prior to the Queen’s Medical/HHSAA Division 1 State Championships, the MHS boys soccer team was unseeded and did not have a first round bye. However, despite being unranked and having a full schedule, the Trojans advanced to the championship game on Feb. 15 at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex. After a full 80 minutes of regulation play, the Trojans fell short to Punahou with the final score of 3-2.

    “Losing against Kalani was all part of God’s plan. We played a lot of panic soccer this season, and even though we were the better team, God let Kalani beat us in order to show us that we can’t accomplish anything by panicking,” said Junior and center back Kyle Foss. “After that game, we changed a lot. We refocused, and we made it to the championship game. Losing OIA’s was exactly what we needed to make it to the final state game.”

   In the second minute, Punahou scored. However, four minutes later, the Trojans answered back. Senior and forward Jordan Fernandez drew a foul in Punahou’s box and was awarded a penalty kick (PK). Senior and midfielder Liam McGehee took the PK and sank it past Punahou’s goalkeeper. The score remained tied at 1-1 until the twenty-sixth minute when Punahou scored their second goal. 

     “The entire game seemed full of great defensive moments for us. Me and Josh and even our outside backs had each others back the entire game,” said Foss. “I speak for the whole defense when I say that we left everything we had on the field.”

     Heading into the second half with the score being 2-1, the Trojans continued to press hard and create opportunities to score. In the seventy-eighth minute, the Buffanblu had a foul in the box and made their PK. Despite the score then being 3-1, the Trojans did not give up. In the last minute, Sophomore and outside back Seth Uson scored the final goal of the match with a long shot outside the 18-yard box. 

    “So me personally, there was a lot of pressure on me because I thought like, ‘Yenno how I’m underclassmen and there’s so much to be put for the seniors and it’s their last game.’”  said Uson. “And I was like, ‘Yenno what, it doesn’t matter, let’s just play the game. God was my strength and with him for me who can be against me.’”

  Throughout the game, the defense held their ground, stopped the Buffanblu from scoring and created multiple scoring opportunities that the midfield and forwards built upon. The defensive line was comprised of Juniors Joshua Ishizaka, Brandon Flores and Foss along with Sophomores Noah Fujikane, Uson and Senior Nicholas Gaston in the goal. In the midfield Seniors Jvon Cunningham, McGehee and Junior Micah Murakami, strung together passes to control the ball through the middle. Up top, the forwards rotated throughout the game with Seniors Jacob Nakasone, Dennis Tadeo-Gilbert and Fernandez, Juniors Zachary Namoca, Noah Wilson, Kaulanaikaleoaukahiokala “Kaulana” Navares and Sophomore Nicolas Kashiwai. Throughout the game, the team played as a unit with each other. 

   Although the Trojans fell short of a state title, they have come a long way from the start of the season. Prior to the state championships, MHS finished in fifth place in the OIA which required them to travel to Maui for the first round game against Kamehameha Maui. The Trojans won with a score of 2-0, advancing them to play in the quarterfinals against the OIA Champions, Kapolei High School. In the quarterfinals, the Trojans scored early with a PK made by McGehee. Upsetting the OIA Champs, the boys advanced to the semifinals against Waiakea, winning that game with a score of 3-2. 

   ¨You know, I kind of like it. It’s every time you get a setback, it’s always good for a comeback cause people could say stuff but it doesn’t really matter what they say,¨ said Uson. ¨It’s what you say about yourself. And I liked how people didn’t think we were going to make it that far, but then we did which really proves their points wrong and it doesn’t matter what you say, but what you do.¨