When you’ve only lost a handful of games in your career, it’s easy to remember the setbacks, especially the ones that really sting.
Three years ago, a BIIF team had never won a Division I state football tournament game when Hilo played Leilehua in the first-round game at Keaau High.
It was a sentimental contest for the Vikings, who took the field just four days after former teammate Skyler Ogata died of cancer.
“To us it, was a really huge game,” senior quarterback Kyan Miyasato said Thursday. “We were supposed to score 26 for (Skyler, who wore No. 26), but we lost 26-25.”
The teams will meet for the first time since then Saturday night in the HHSAA Division I semifinals at Wong Stadium, and the two seniors who played in that game, Miyasato and linebacker Kalen White, and are still on the team will have more on their minds than a chance to reach the title game in Honolulu.
“I look at it as revenge,” Miyasato said.
The Mules advanced by blocking a go-ahead 39-yard field in the final two minutes. Miyasato threw a touchdown pass in a game that was coming-out party for Kahele Huddleston, who ran for 216 yards and two touchdowns. It was a sneak preview of what was to come. Huddleston returned the following season and helped lead Hilo to its first state championship.
White is looking forward to playing Leilehua again.
“This is revenge game for us after losing by one point,” White said. “We were fighting for the seniors that were there for us when we were freshman.”