These cats have known their share of bumps and bruises.
Losing linebacker Tyrese Tafai to another shoulder injury could have devastated Campbell’s defensive unit. But as the talented junior underwent surgery earlier in the week, his teammates found their second wind. Just seven days after a rejuvenating 28-27 win over Kahuku, No. 4 Campbell went to Kapolei and shut out the Hurricanes 28-0 on Saturday night.
“The defense threw its first shutout. Our defensive coaches did a great job,” Campbell head coach Darren Johnson said. “One of our coaches had an emergency and had to go to the mainland, but he kept everyone prepared.”
Kapolei’s trio of talented quarterbacks were a combined 12-for-33 with 126 yards and two picks. Campbell constantly disguised coverages and kept the Hurricane passers from getting into a consistent groove. Starter Christian Rapis began with four incompletions, then connected on five passes in a row before finishing the half with an interception.
Campbell safety Kaipo Enos-Ho came up with that pick, and he also intercepted a pass by Kapolei sophomore Noa Bailey in the second half. Kapolei freshman Mason Gomez had his share of moments, as well, but as a whole, the ‘Canes couldn’t sustain a drive to paydirt.
Kapolei finished with 158 yards of total offense, averaging 2.8 yards per play. Taelase Gaoteote came up with Campbell’s first sack, and another senior, Bryson Tuisaloo , had two takedowns. Caleb Jarra and Pookela Piilani combined on the fourth sack by the visiting Sabers.
“Everyone’s trusting each other, players and coaches, and guys are making plays. We’re starting to see good play,” Johnson said. “We actually played shutout defense. Backs were to the wall, but they finished.”
The offensive side, bolstered by ironman Poki‘i Adkins-Kupukaa, gets plenty of opportunities. Krenston Kaipo had spent most of the season platooning at QB with Kaniela Kalaola, but Johnson went with the hot hand. Kaipo finished 19-for-26 with 301 yards and three TDs with no interceptions. He connected on six of his first seven throws and had 205 passing yards by halftime.
Campbell’s mastery of deep routes was on display, but all of the Sabers’ pass catchers also have their share of crossing patterns. Titus Mokiao-Atimalala was huge again with 10 receptions for 164 yards and two TDs. He was targeted a team-high 12 times, probably because few defenses can afford to double the 6-foot-1 sophomore when Campbell’s other receivers can do so much damage.
Running back Sky Lactaoen sort of duplicated his performance from the Kahuku game, racking up big carries and yardage after halftime. He finished with 61 hard-earned yards on 16 carries, including 55 yards in the second half.
Campbell finished with 413 yards of total offense and averaged 8.3 yards per play. Kaipo tallied a yards-per-attempt of 11.6 and posted a whopping QB rating of 208.4. He was sacked just once.
The Sabers close regular-season play at Waianae next Friday.
Kapolei will visit Kahuku, also on Friday.