CLOSING THE BOOK: Kapolei Hurricanes

Kapolei's Kevin Burkel (55) celebrated after one of his three sacks against Waianae. Photo by Jordan Fong/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

The Kapolei Hurricanes probably knew that competing in the Open Division might bring some struggles, but the Hurricanes suffered their first losing season since 2014.

The numbers say there was not as much of a difference between this edition of Hurricanes and some of the past ones. Kapolei averaged 19.2 points per game, its lowest since 2014 but only a few points lower than last year’s 21.6. While the offense did its usual thing, the defense was victimized by the new schedule to yield 22.9 points per game after stifling opponents to a 14.7 mark last year.

Judging by margin of victory, Kapolei’s minus-3.7 made this the toughest season in the second city since being outscored by 5.1 per game in 2011. The Hurricanes lost seven games for just the second time in program history.


2018 TOP PERFORMANCES

Passing

Kapolei’s revolving door of underclassmen quarterbacks was led by Noa Bailey, who threw for 990 yards and eight touchdowns but was victimized by 10 picks. Christian Rapis didn’t fare much better in avoiding turnovers, throwing six interceptions to go with his four touchdowns. Mason Gomez actually took care of the ball more than the starters, but he only had 38 attempts. Bailey showed what was possible against Waianae, putting the ball in the air 39 times and completing 19 of them for 360 yards and three touchdowns, but he was picked off twice. Bailey’s yardage was the most in program history since a certain wunderkind named Taulia Tagovailoa in 2016, jumping on the school’s top-10 single game list at No. 8. The other nine spots are occupied by Tagovailoa. Kapolei had three different quarterbacks lead the team in passing in 2018. The last time the position was so unsettled was 2011 when Brandon Cambra, Trey Kamachi-Allen and Mason Alfaro all took turns running the offense.

Rushing

Ezekiel Waiolama was Hernandez’s horse in the return to the ground game, carrying the ball 88 times for 429 yards and five touchdowns while suiting up for every contest despite the tough run defenses encountered by the Hurricanes. Zion-Jabez Robello was a more efficient version of Waiolama, toting the rock 47 times for 342 yards and two scores. Waiolama represented Kapolei well on the team’s trip to California, carrying the ball 12 times for 114 yards and a touchdown at Downey, just two weeks after Robello touched up Punahou for 111 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown thrown in. Robello didn’t have more than five carries in a game the rest of the way. The back-to-back century efforts were the first time two different Hurricanes did it since Seth Roman and Keaka Fernandez in 2010. Robello’s performance against Punahou was the first time Kapolei had a rusher over the century mark since Triston Pebria in 2013, a dearth of 46 games and easily the program’s longest without a workhorse back.

Receiving


When so much receiving talent moved down the road to Campbell, De’Zhaun Stribling stepped up to fill the void. Stribling caught 46 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns while Ikari Stokes found 31 passes out of the slot for 430 yards and the team lead with four scores. Keoki Kaluhiwa and Elijah Badoyen, the top returning receivers after the defections, combined for 30 catches for 308 yards and four touchdowns. Stribling was without a doubt the top target for the young quarterbacks, as evidenced by his stellar game against Saint Louis. Stribling caught seven passes against the top dogs for 178 yards, moving him to No. 3 on the list of receiving yardage in a single game for the school, behind only Ty-Noah Williams and L.J. Esperas in 2015. Stribling was at his best against the private schools, notching his only other 100-yard game against Punahou.

Defense

Kapolei’s defense let out a lot of frustration in a visit to Waianae, throttling the Seariders 46-0 in a parade of stellar defensive plays. Linebacker Peni Naulu ended the destruction with a pick-six. He was joined by Bubba White for another one on the previous series. Isaac Sheridan and Landon Shove also had interceptions and Kevin Burkel was a force on the defensive line with three sacks. All told, the Hurricanes held the Seariders to 102 yards passing and 15 yards rushing. Nine different Seariders got carries in the game, but five of them ended the evening with zero or negative yardage. It was the fifth straight year the Kapolei defense pitched a shutout, next year they can match the longest streak from 2007-12.

HEAD COACH
>> Darren Hernandez is 121-106-2 in 23 seasons overall and 88-78 in 17 seasons at Kapolei.

STAT RANKINGS
>> QB Noa Bailey finished sixth in the Open Division in passing yards.
>> QB Christian Rapis finished ninth in the Open Division in passing yards.
>> WR De’Zhaun Stribling finished fourth in the Open Division in receiving yards.


KEY UNDERCLASSMEN IN 2018
>> WR De’Shaun Stribling (6-2, 180), DL Maceal Afaese (6-5, 260), DL Junior Ioane (6-2, 270), LB Sonny Semeatu (6-1, 220).

FINAL TEAM STATS

PASSINGGC-A-IYdsTD
Noa Bailey1076-183-109908
Christian Rapis848-109-67394
Mason Gomez716-38-02352
Landan Shove30-1-100
RUSHINGGAttYdsTD
Ezekiel Waiolama10884295
Zion-Jabez Robello8473422
Dustin Lino-Adkins610220
Sinai-Taheed Robello76200
Landan Shove31190
Elijah Perreira12110
Peni Naulu10310
Sonny Semeatu1100
TEAM101-20
Tevai Amina11-30
Noa Bailey1031-50
Mason Gomez717-130
Christian Rapis825-520
RECEIVINGGRecYdsTD
De'Zhaun Stribling10466823
Ikari Stokes10314304
Keoki Kaluhiwa6182102
Elijah Badoyen6121982
Ezekiel Waiolama1081501
Sinai-Taheed Robello7131471
Sheldon McLeod34981
Zion-Jabez Robello82120
Branden Tsuchiyama11100
Christian Rapis81-50
Kapolei receiver Ikari Stokes found open field for a gain on Friday at Kahuku’s Carleton E. Weimer field, but the Hurricanes lost 33-13 and now await the fate of a coin flip for their season’s fate. / Photo by Steven Erler, Special to the Star-Advertiser
Kapolei receiver Elijah Badoyen (9) got past Campbell’s Kaipo Enos-Ho (32), bottom, and Peter Manuma (6) during a game. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kapolei’s Julius Buelow, a 6-foot-8, 320-pound offensive lineman, committed to Washington. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kapolei quarterback Noa Bailey threw a pass down the field in the first half against Saint Louis. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kapolei receiver Ikari Strokes (3) celebrated with teammate De’Zhaun Stribling (7) in the end zone after hauling in one of four touchdown passes thrown by Kapolei in a 46-0 win over Waianae. Photo by Jordan Fong/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

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