>> 4-6 overall, 1-4 in OIA Open Division
>> Darren Hernandez is 125-112-2 in his 24 seasons overall as a head coach and 92-84 in 18 seasons as Kapolei’s coach.
KEY UNDERCLASSMEN IN 2019
>> WR Bula White, 6-3, 210, Jr.; QB Noa Bailey, 6-2, 205, Jr.; OL Ian Tuitama, 6-4, 290 Jr.; LB Jacob Saole-Su’e, 6-0, 190, Jr.; DE Iosefa Tapeni, 6-0, 229, Fr.; DB Kelekolio Taylor, 6-0, 165, Jr.
KAPOLEI THROUGH THE YEARS: 2002-2019
The Kapolei Hurricanes‘ second trip through the Open Division began with high hopes with a returning quarterback for the first time since Taulia Tagovailoa in 2016.
The results were largely the same however.
The Hurricanes suffered a second straight losing season for the first time since 2010-11. But take note Kapolei fans, coach Darren Hernandez followed those dark days with a 6-4 mark in 2012 as he has never had three losing seasons in a row in 24 years as a head coach.
The Hurricanes used more of a running game this season, throwing passes at a 54-percent clip compared to their 59-percent mark in Noa Bailey‘s sophomore season. That similarity has been rare in the Hurricanes’ recent history. Expect the trend to continue if he returns for his senior season, when he would become the first Kapolei quarterback to lead the team in passing in a game for three years in a row since Noah Pascua in 2009.
Despite running the same scheme, the 2019 squad struggled on offense, scoring just 16.6 points per game. That is the program’s lowest since its 16.1 mark in 2011 and that number has decreased for three straight years after 2016’s outstanding 33.2 mark with June Jones as offensive coordinator.
Perhaps the offense’s greatest failure was in dragging the defense’s numbers down with it. Maceal Afaese‘s unit certainly passed the eye test, especially in the finale against Mililani, but the raw numbers had Kapolei yielding a program-worst 28 points per game with 45 allowed to Campbell and 44 to Punahou.
Given its point differential of minus-11.4, it is probably appropriate that it was able to squeeze out four wins even if only one of them came in the Open Division. The last time Kapolei had a similarly bad point differential, -13 in 2010, the Hurricanes went 1-7.
In the last 50 years, 62 teams (not including the 2019 Hurricanes) have had a negative point differential of 11 and they averaged 3.54 victories. There have been only two teams with a negative point differential of 11.4 like Kapolei this year: Joe Francis‘ 1979 Pearl City squad that went 4-5-1 and Lincoln Barit‘s 4-4 Waialua team in 2014.
Kapolei’s biggest problem on offense was at quarterback when Bailey went down against Farrington. Bailey started his season lights out with seven touchdowns and only one interception against the likes of Castle and Waianae, but finished with an 11-11 ratio once the gauntlet began. Sophomore Mason Gomez and junior Freddie Gregorio were serviceable in his stead, but the dropoff was evident. For all of his problems, Bailey improved on his 990 yards and eight touchdowns to 10 interceptions last year.
Receiver De’Zhaun Stribling, who has offers from Hawaii and San Diego State, might have been Kapolei’s most talented quarterback but he threw only two passes and completed both of them.
Stribling was a lights out receiver for the school, catching 64 passes for 872 yards and nine touchdowns despite being shut out by Saint Louis and held to three catches by Punahou. All of his season marks were the most for Kapolei since Jaymin Sarono put up 113-1,133-22 with Tagovailoa throwing to him in 2016.
Stribling had 23 catches in his first two games but it took him his next five games to match that number. He went over the century mark five times, including a 10-178-1 mark against Downey (Calif.) that put him third on the school’s single-game yardage list behind only L.J. Esperas and Ty-Noah Williams in 2015.
Stribling led the team with 46 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns last year, but he had a lot more help. Bula White was his running mate this year, grabbing a catch in every game but accounting for only 386 yards and three touchdowns with Dycen Coyaso (231-1), Jason Carmarillo (113-0) and Haleola Thomas (107-1) behind him. That supporting cast pales in comparison to last year’s, with Ikari Stokes (430-4), Keoki Kaluhiwa (210-2) and Elijah Badoyen (198-2) all providing relief with seven different players catching touchdown passes. Only five receivers caught scores this year.
Even with all eyes on Stribling’s position on the field, the running game failed to take advantage. Jayven Reyes was the unquestioned horse, getting 106 carries while the rest of the non-quarterbacks being handed the ball only 51 times led by Dustin Lino-Adkins and Josh Nahulu with 14 each.
Reyes turned that workload into 448 yards and three touchdowns. For all of the underwhelming numbers, Reyes was Kapolei’s most dependable running back since Tristan Pebria toted the rock 143 times for 816 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013.
He never got over the century mark in a game this year, but chewed up 91 yards on 14 carries against Waianae. Other than that game, he never went over 75 yards and was handed the ball 10 or more times in six of 10 contests. Kahuku was particularly tough on him, holding him to minus-8 yards on six carries.
Reyes is a senior and will certainly be missed if the Hurricanes keep their commitment to the run. Sophomore Ezra Sidotti will be the top returning running back but he gained only 16 yards on five carries this year. The quarterbacks will all be back, and White appears ready to replace Stribling at wideout, but he is going to need some help.
2019 FINAL TEAM STATS
Updated: Oct. 6, 2019