Kapolei receiver De’Zhaun Stribling looked awfully good Friday for a guy who missed the entire week of practice leading up to the game.
Stribling, a senior, caught 10 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown as host Kapolei prevailed 31-28 over Downey (Calif.) in a nonleague game.
The Hurricanes were coming off losses to undefeated teams Saint Louis and Punahou. Stribling got banged up in those contests.
“He got hurt in the first quarter against Saint Louis and he played last week against Punahou with bruised ribs,” said Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez. “We rested him this whole week and he was close to 100 percent.”
The rest and rehab work did wonders for Stribling, who matched his career high in receiving yards.
“I felt better. I did all the rehab to work myself up and I feel really positive and good,” he said.
Against Downey, Kapolei committed turnovers on its first three possessions, including a fumble by Stribling after a short completion.
Early in the second quarter, Stribling caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Noa Bailey to open the scoring.
“It was adversity. When adversity hits, it’s yourself and how you recover from that and I responded in a good way,” Stribling said.
The Hurricanes finished with six turnovers and allowed the Vikings to recover two onside kicks.
“When we play clean football, we can be pretty good, we can compete with a lot of teams in the Open Division,” Hernandez said. “When we kill ourselves with turnovers, we dig ourselves a hole and it’s tough to come back from that.”
The Hurricanes were outscored 78-19 against Saint Louis and Punahou, but the losses allowed them to be battle-tested.
“We feel like those are the top teams in the Open (Division) and we feel like we’ve been through the fire,” Hernandez said. “Our team feels like those two games are behind us (and) we got to continue to get better.”
Added Stribling: “It just made us tougher. We had some down moments, we also had some good moments and we learned from everything and that’s what made us a better team.”