Adkins-Kupukaa has Campbell thinking division title

Campbell's Pokii Adkins-Kupukaa, the leading receiver in the state, reached over the goal line for a touchdown against Aiea. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

The state’s leading receiver is also making his presence felt on defense.

Campbell sophomore Pokii Adkins-Kupukaa was sensational on Friday night in a 35-19 win at Radford, hauling in four passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. He also added two interceptions on top of returning kickoffs and punts for No. 10 Sabers (5-2, 5-1 OIA Blue), who have won five of their last six.

“The struggle is real, just gotta fight through it every day,” he said when asked about his approach. “I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve been working hard.”

Adkins-Kupukaa’s meteoric rise hasn’t come as a surprise to Campbell coach Darren Johnson, who sees similar production whenever he steps on the gridiron.

“He practices like that so he does it every day, not just game night,” Johnson said. “He leaves it on the field everywhere we go.”

Adkins-Kupukaa’s ball-hawking ability has compelled Johnson and others to make comparisons to his son, Kahuku alum Kawehena Johnson, the Star-Advertiser’s 2012 defensive player of the year, who went on to play for New Mexico State.

The elder Johnson, also a Kahuku product, let out a laugh when recalling an exchange he had with his son on Adkins-Kupukaa, who was first offered by Hawaii last month.

“I said that to Kawe. He said ‘Dad, he still don’t have my brain,’” Johnson joked. “But he’s special. He’s gonna get bigger, he’s gonna make someone really happy and UH has a good inside track on him. They like him a lot so hopefully good things happen, we just gotta get his grades right.”

For the younger Johnson, who coaches the defensive backs for his dad’s team, having Adkins-Kupukaa at his disposal helps.

“Oh my gosh, he makes my job easy,” he said. “Put him in the middle of the field and he makes plays, sideline to sideline. He’s a great football player, got great instincts for the game. You just give him his job and he’ll do it full speed every time.

As for the comparison?

“He’s probably better than I was as a sophomore so he’s ahead of his time, definitely,” he said. “He’s making plays that seniors make and even people in college have a hard time making.”

Up next for the Sabers is a Sept. 29 matchup with Kahuku to close out the regular season for both teams. Campbell will have two weeks to prepare for the game, which will determine the overall champion and the top seed in the OIA playoffs out of the Blue division.

Both Johnsons, and Kupukaa-Adkins for that matter, understand what the matchup means.

“It’s the big test, they’re still the team to beat in the league,” Darren Johnson said. “We’re gonna go out and put our best foot forward and hope for some good results.”


  1. HI HS FOOTBALL FAN September 16, 2017 1:55 pm

    Campbell versus Kahuku will be a big game. Up fo grabs will be the Blue Division championship and top seed. Canmpbell has the offensive weapons. While Kahuku has a staunch defense. Campbell’s defense has been good so far. However, Kahuku’s offense has been struggling to find an identity and being consistent. Bingham proved that by shutting down Kahuku’s rushing game. The passing game has not Looked good as well. Campbell’s passing game could pose a problem for the young Red Raider secondary. However, Coach Sola Soliai liked to mix up his blitzes and go after the QB. It’ll be an interesting game.

  2. Insider September 16, 2017 5:54 pm

    Kahuku has no offense, all these coaches always trying to change our culture, when are they going to learn? Dammit we are a running a school, always has and always will. Beef up the line and get aggressive and get back to run block, short pass game with play action. We can’t even run. The staff is constantly trying to change our culture. Dammit run the dam ball and get good at, right now, they can’t even run . The passing scheme, there is no passing scheme. Wake tfu coaches ,it’s not too late to focus on the run for the playoffs. BIngham did to us what we usually do to others. Go Big or suffer another year like Lee Leslie, that’s what it looks like,Lee Leslie’s offense! Don’t waste another year Faa! Do what we do best and let the chips fall,stop trying to change our identity! REFL!! Let’s do this, DJ is laughing at you guys,they all want you to pass,thats because they know ,no matter what we do,we’re just not a passing school, BUT THEY FEAR THE RUN!!!! So stop it and Run the dam ball with fierceness! Go Big Red

  3. HI HS FOOTBALL FAN September 16, 2017 9:02 pm

    There is no consistency or rhythm to Kahuku’s offense. Unlike past years when the running game was dominant, so far it has been spotty. Nawahine is a proven running back but Bingham shut him down. The Mahe kid did well in the Moanalua game. However, some sources have said he has left the team. Bingham dared Kahuku to pass by loading up the box with eight at times knowing that it wasn’t their strength.

  4. Choloropicrin September 16, 2017 10:26 pm

    Division title? They better hope Waianae loses because they hold the tie breaker for second if (and when) Kahuku beats Campbell.

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