Before Punahou football head coach Kale Ane uttered the word “unique” to describe his quarterback situation on Wednesday during a phone interview, it was already evident among Hawaii high school fans.
How many teams can boast not one, not two, but three highly capable quarterbacks? Ever in Hawaii? Doubtful.
But Ane was also thinking ahead to a point in the near future, when some hard decisions might need to be made.
Right now, it’s pretty simple. Senior Ephraim Tuliloa was the starter all the way through the ‘Iolani game (the team’s fourth of five contests so far), and did a fantastic job by all accounts. He hurt his shoulder against the Raiders and in stepped junior Nick Kapule, who has also played at high level.
Tuliloa has been rehabbing the shoulder that he hurt when he landed on it hard in the 59-22 win over ‘Iolani.
“Ephraim is day-to-day,” Ane told Hawaii Prep World on Thursday before No. 2 Punahou hit Alexander field for practice in preparation for Friday’s huge showdown against No. 1 Saint Louis (8 p.m. at Aloha Stadium). “He’s doing much better, but we’re going to play it by ear (on whether he plays against the Crusaders). It will be up to the doctors and trainers, and we will do what’s best for the team. He hasn’t been able to practice that much and hasn’t taken many reps.”
Ane didn’t specify who would start at QB against Saint Louis (4-0, 2-0 Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I), but reading between the lines, it sounded as though Kapule would likely get the start and that Tuliloa could see action if he is cleared to play. Sophomore Stephen Barber is also in the mix at the position for the Buffanblu (5-0, 2-0).
But what will Ane do when Tuliloa is healthy?
“That’s a delicate situation that could change every day,” he said. “We are in a unique situation. The real answer is, ‘It depends.’ It could be a difficult decision. We’re fortunate to have three quarterbacks who are respectful and supportive of each other. We are lucky that they get along and that they are all classy individuals.”
Kapule (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) is 50-for-82 for 853 yards, nine touchdowns and one interceptions in four games.
Tuliloa (6-3, 230) is 39-for-66 for 518 yards, eight TDs and two interceptions in four games.
Barber (6-3, 205) is 5-for-6 for 46 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions in four games.