Kekino makes her mark

Hana’s freshman QB suffers injury, but not before making history

Tiare Kekino played quarterback for Hana High School in the second and third quarters of its 53-18 loss to Seabury Hall on Saturday.
• Tia-Mae Sinenci photo

Tiare Kekino played quarterback for Hana High School in the second and third quarters of its 53-18 loss to Seabury Hall on Saturday. • Tia-Mae Sinenci photo

Tiare Kekino is just a 5-foot-3 freshman at Hana High School, but she made some history in the Maui Interscholastic League on Saturday.

Kekino played quarterback for the Dragons in the second and third quarters of their 53-18 loss to

Seabury Hall on Saturday in their eight-player game at Hana Ball Park. Kekino is believed to be the first female to play quarterback at any level of MIL varsity football.

The fact that she left the game with a knee injury didn’t dispel her excitement for the achievement. With less than two weeks left in the season, she will sit out the rest of the Dragons’ schedule.

“I wasn’t planning on being a quarterback this year — I wanted to be a running back and linebacker, but the coach wanted me to be a quarterback because of my arm,” she said Sunday via phone. “It’s different, it is fun. It’s better.”

Kekino

Kekino

Kekino played from 5th to 7th grade for the Wailuku Rainbows Pop Warner team, mostly as a running back. She moved to Hana a little more than a year ago and the idea of playing for the school’s eight-player team came to mind, mostly from her future teammates.

“They actually wanted me to be quarterback, that’s what actually pushed me to go out for the position,” said Kekino, who hopes to play again next year.

When starter Nahinu Lind was injured early in the Seabury Hall game, Dragons’ offensive coordinator Duane Kaupe turned to Kekino.

“We’ve just had her for the beginning of the season,” Kaupe said. “Her work ethic is good and she’s a tough girl. We had her doing some quarterback, but she can’t really throw the deep routes for our offense, so we had her doing the Delaware sweeps and stuff. She can throw, like, out routes and stuff.”

In their opener against Lanai, the Dragons used Kekino as a running back and defensive end because they had only 12 players available.

“She kind of got laid out, she was playing DE on Lanai, but she stood right back up, man,” Kaupe said. “We had her running some of the smash and she was doing good, man. She would just hit the holes, not hesitate like some of our guys.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

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MIL STANDINGS

W L Pct PF PA

x-Molokai 2 0 1.000 107 64

Seabury Hall 1 1 .500 79 53

Lanai 1 1 .500 92 74

Hana 0 2 .000 20 107

x-clinched berth in championship game

Today’s Games

Seabury Hall vs. Lanai at War Memorial Stadium, 4:30 p.m.

Hana vs. Molokai at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.

End of regular season

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