For the second year in a row, the Maui Interscholastic League football champions come from Moloka‘i. It’s an eight-man team—with a long road to success. Catherine Cluett Pactol has more on their story from the Moloka‘i Dispatch.
Molokai old timers remembered a thriving football team but up until just six years ago, the island hadn’t seen a game for 50 years. With the last football program ending in 1961, teacher Mike Kahale and his wife Nichol were determined to bring the sport back. They presented Maui Interscholastic League leaders with a five-year plan to build an eight-man game. The smaller team size is more financially feasible for Maui County schools.
In 2009, Kahale received a grant to buy equipment and the dream began to take shape. The following year, Molokai, along with Maui schools St. Anthony and Seabury Hall, played their first season as a club. The Molokai High Athletic Department couldn’t fund the team, so players raised $41,000 on their own to cover travel and equipment. Two years later, the sport was officially sanctioned by the MIL, and Hana High joined the game.
In 2015, coached by Kahale, the Molokai Farmers won the MIL championship over rival Seabury. And last week, the celebrated a repeat victory, beating Seabury 45 to 25. Finishing this season with a five and oh record, the 2016 championship marked the 11th straight win for the Farmers.