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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, August 25, 2002

Kamehameha debuts stadium

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

It was evident kinks had to be ironed out during last night's non-league football game between Baldwin and Kamehameha. And it wasn't so much the football teams.

Kamehameha varsity football player Asti Merino inspects the new Kunuiakea Athletic Stadium before the game with Baldwin.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

The water sprinklers in the west end zone went on after Kamehameha scored its second touchdown, but otherwise the football debut of Kunuiakea Athletic Stadium appeared to be a success as a near capacity crowd of 3,000 watched the Warriors march over the Bears, 35-7, last night at the Kapalama Heights campus' latest crown jewel.

Caleb Spencer threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in the first half to give the Warriors a 21-7 lead at the half.

But clearly, the highlight was the stadium's football debut.

"This is beautiful," said Maui resident Liliu Kauhaahaa, grandmother of Baldwin's first-year football coach Chad Kauhaahaa.

What was the most impressive aspect of the stadium?

"The scenery," Kamehameha alumnus Taylor Kaaina said.

Added Baldwin quarterback Michael Donohoo: "When I came out on the field, wow, that view is unreal."

Spectators enjoyed a spectacular view stretching from Honolulu Harbor to the Wai'anae Range when the sun was out. At night, they get a spectacular view of the Honolulu city lights.

The complex, which includes an all-weather track, is subtle. It sort of blends itself on Kapalama Heights. Except for the three light standards on the makai side, there isn't a hint that a football stadium is nestled among the other buildings at the school. Since the bleacher side is built against a hill, the stadium fits into the landscape. There is enough greenery surrounding the complex to balance the concrete and aluminum structure.

Football boosters ran the concession that featured typical stadium food — hamburgers, pizza, hotdogs, popcorn, nachos, saimin, candy, chips, smoothies sodas, bottled water and cappuccino.

Since it was the first game, it took some improvisation to control the lines. At first, people lined perpendicular to the booth. But because the line blocked the concourse, stadium personnel had the lines run parallel to the concession.

"The service is great," Tiny Hewahewa said.

Still, campus facilities manager Bob Ramsey said that there might be a need to open more lines.

Parking is like a puzzle because the campus is on a hill. Several athletic fields — including the old football field and softball field — are used for parking. Then there are stalls along the road leading up to the stadium. About 600 vehicles can be accommodated altogether. Stadium security added that portable lights are used at the parking sites. Rain, though, might be a problem on the makeshift grass parking lots.

The bermuda grass is putting green smooth, but also high maintenance, Ramsey said. Ramsey said the football team must rotate to different areas of the field when doing certain drills at practice.

One drawback is that the bleachers face the west, so a late afternoon game means sun in the eyes. Sunscreen is advised. But Ramsey said there aren't many afternoon games scheduled.

Kamehameha co-athletic director Blane Gaison said there will be a meeting tomorrow to assess last night's performance.

"But for the most part, it was a success, especially when you win," Gaison said with a laugh.