As the high school football season approaches, the Kahuku Red Raiders are gearing up for another run at the HHSAA State title.
However, this year will be different. After the departure of long-time coach Reggie Torres, new leader Lee Leslie was brought in.
And with him, came a completely altered system for the boys of Kahuku.
"I've put in 12 different sets of offense, they are dialed in on all of it. Our new defense is in and the kids have picked it up very quickly," Leslie said.
But, the changes transcend the field into the classroom.
Leslie has introduced a renewed focus on academics, raising the minimum GPA for participation from 2.0 to 2.3.
"We're going to teach them how to organize themselves and get the stuff done in the classroom so that when we do win these championships, or whatever goals we set for ourselves, these kids can go off and get college scholarships," Leslie added.
With a new standard set, the team is ready to accept the challenge.
"It pushes us to not only be good on the field, but in the classroom too. I mean if these kids love the game that much, they are going to have to push themselves in the classrooms to be on the field every Friday night," said senior defensive lineman Salanoa-Alo Wily.
Despite the changes, the team will maintain its identity as the physical Red Raiders the state has come to know.
"They're Kahuku through and through," Leslie said. "And I think, we are a bit of every one of those coaches in the past. I think we're a little bit of that and I think we're going to be a bit of me and altogether, we're going to hopefully raise the bar as high as we can raise it."
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