Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said the same thing four different times after Friday night’s 17-10 loss to Farrington in the OIA Red playoffs.
“This one hurts,” he repeated again and again.
How could it not?
Kapolei’s 0-4 record all-time against Farrington was well documented heading into Friday night’s quarterfinal matchup.
Neither team led by more than four points until Farrington quarterback Montana Liana threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Baguio to break the hearts of the Kapolei faithful. The play broke a 10-10 tie midway through the fourth quarter and proved to be the difference.
“The longest pass play we gave up before that was like 25 yards,” Hernandez said. “All year.”
The Govs had just one first down and 37 total yards in the second half before the big pass play. With running back Sanele Lavatai out with a hamstring injury, the Kapolei defense had taken over, bottling up a Farrington team that couldn’t run the ball, forcing Liana to try and beat them with the pass.
Liana also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Baguio with 30 seconds left in the first half. Kapolei took its first lead at 7-3 on Triston Pebria‘s 29-yard touchdown run with 3:22 remaining. The Hurricanes couldn’t keep the lead as Liana completed two big passes to answer with a score and go into the break up three.
In the second half, Kapolei wasted multiple opportunities to take the lead. Pebria had a 33-yard touchdown run called back on a holding penalty. Makings things even worse, he was hit in the throat on the run and had trouble breathing, forcing Hernandez to bench his star running back the rest of the game.
With the game tied 10-10, Kapolei faced a fourth-and-1 at the Farrington 12 and decided to go for it. Backup Mana Reis tried to bounce the run outside and was stopped for a loss, turning the ball over on downs.
Kapolei got the ball right back as Tristan Centeio intercepted Liana on the very next play, giving the Hurricanes the ball on the Farrington 20. The Hurricanes started the fourth quarter with a first-and-10 on the Farrington 11 but were whistled for a personal foul and two consecutive false starts, moving the ball back to the 36. They then missed a 35-yard field goal that would have given them the lead.
Kapolei was given another chance, getting the ball on the Farrington 44 after a Govs fumble. Reis’ 28-yard run set up first-and-goal on the 9, but Kapolei was again stopped on third down and missed another field goal, this time from 24 yards.
On the very next play, Liana hit Baguio for the go-ahead score and Kapolei turned the ball over on its final two drives to end the game.
“Bottom line is we can’t win the game when you have so many mistakes,” Hernandez said. “I thought we were in a good spot (after the second missed field goal). I thought we were stopping the run and playing really well. A couple of missed tackles on a short pass turned into a long run.”
A run that sends the Governors into the OIA Red semifinals against Campbell, and the Hurricanes heading home thinking, “what if.”