Game of the Week
Top seeds Kapaa, KS-Hawaii to vie for D2 crown

Joshua Layaoen and the Kapaa Warriors take on Justin Kenoi and the KS-Hawaii Warriors in the Division II state final Saturday at 5 p.m. Michael Lasquero | SL

WAIPAHU — The top two seeded teams will meet in the final game of The Queen's Medical Center/HHSAA Division II Boys Soccer State Championship Saturday.

Kamehameha-Hawaii, the No. 1 seed in the eight-team tournament, will try for its first state crown when it takes on second-seeded Kapaa at 5 p.m. at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex main stadium.

KS-Hawaii (13-1) snuck by PAC-5 in penalty kicks, while Kapaa (9-2-3) routed McKinley, 4-0, in Friday's semifinal round.

The Warriors from the Big Island are led by junior center-midfielder Jonathan DeMotta, who has scored a team-high 20 goals this season. Sophomore Buddy Betts and senior David Erskine have amassed 16 and 15 goals, respectively.

"We like to play quick attack," first-year coach Kevin Waltjen said. "We like to play the wings, try to control the middle, and send it either to the wings or through balls, and that's what they were looking for (Friday)."

KS-Hawaii has won 13 consecutive games since a season-opening 5-2 loss to Hawaii Prep — which will try for its first D1 state title when it takes on Baldwin at 7 p.m. Saturday — on Dec. 7.

"We know HPA is always a strong team and for Kamehameha to play them close and that be their only loss, they're going to be the team to beat," Kapaa coach Kevin Cram said.

After qualifying for their first state tournament in three seasons, the Warriors from Kauai will be playing in their sixth D2 state final since 2008. They capped their 2009 and 2013 seasons with championships — both under Cram, who spent 10 years as the boys' coach prior to a two-year stint coaching his daughter and the girls' program.

Kapaa rebounded from a 1-2 start to the year, including back-to-back one-goal losses to Island School and Waimea back in late December. Since then, however, it has not dropped a game and has won four straight.

Senior forward Gabe Franklin leads the team with 11 goals scored, while junior Ryan Banasihan and senior Joshua Layaoen have chipped in six goals apiece this season.

"It's a young crew overall. We have some seniors — we'll be losing four senior starters, well three, and one has been (a starter in the past) — but we do have younger kids and if they can learn the system, I think it bodes well for the coming years," Cram said.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected]