Analysis: Total yardage, turnovers can be a sharp victory gauge

Waianae receiver Saege Ayala (30) took a pass reception into the end zone during the first half of the Kapolei Hurricanes and Waianae Seariders game played on Friday. Steven Erler / Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Swept up in a rush of football games to start the Hawaii high school season, it can be hard to get a close-up take on single games.

Everyone knows by now, for instance, that Kapolei defeated Waianae 28-20 on Friday night. Close game, right?

Those who were there or watched on TV saw a back-and-forth, tit-for-tat first half followed by Kapolei slowly taking control and wrapping it up in victory formation after a late interception. But just how close was it?

The yardage tells a story. The Seariders — despite the loss — outgained the Hurricanes 294 (84 rushing, 210 passing) to 292 (62 rushing, 230 passing). By that yardage measure, a toss-up in yardage was congruous to the final scoreboard showing.

And then you add in the turnover count and see that Kapolei clearly got some mileage in that category. The Hurricanes finished with three interceptions and those were the only turnovers in the game. That helped to offset the fact that Waianae sacked Kapolei quarterback Noa Bailey four times, including two by the Seariders’ Arnel Valdez, for 42 yards.

Take it a step farther by focusing in on one of those interceptions — Zechariah Kanahele-Mone‘s pick in the end zone with time running out in the first half and Kapolei holding a slim 21-20 lead — and one can begin to realize just how important individual plays can be, regardless of the overall yardage tally.

Jacob Saole-Su’e came up with some major plays as well for Kapolei in its slowing down of Waianae’s offensive momentum. He contributed with two sacks and another tackle for loss.

The teams were mirror images in the ground game, with Waianae’s Kolu Quisquirin-Sabalaga (103) and Kapolei’s Jayven Reyes (91) tearing off large chunks of yardage.

Another key factor was the Bailey to De’Zhaun Stribling game of backyard catch that resulted in 132 yards on 13 connections.

In the first weekend, there was a defensive slugfest when Kealakehe topped Pearl City 13-7. A look back at that total yardage shows that the teams combined for 264 — and, fittingly, it was 132 by each team. Not a lot, and it stands to reason there were a ton of punts — 12 to be exact.

The Waveriders held off the Chargers’ comeback, and that 132-132 tie in yardage was a solid reflection of the outcome.

Glancing at the relatively close total yardage of another game on the first weekend, it’s a bit surprising that it ended in a blowout.

In Leilehua’s 35-0 win over Farrington, the Mules gained 322 yards (111 rushing, 211 passing) to Farrington’s 244 (96 rushing, 148 passing). The difference of 78 yards does not reflect the wide final margin.

Three turnovers — all fumbles — hurt the Govs and so did seven tackles for loss by the Leilehua defense.

For the Mules, the easier-than-expected win pointed to their solid execution, balanced attack and red-zone capability.


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