De’Zhaun Stribling did it all for Kapolei, scoring a touchdown passing, receiving and rushing in a 27-3 drubbing of No. 10 Kamehameha at the Hurricanes’ home field on Friday night.
Stribling, a receiver by trade, put on his rushing shoes and also tested his arm.
Aside from all of the measurables (6-foot-2, 195 pounds, 4.5 speed) and the fact that he is shifty like a fox, one of Stribling’s greatest assets is his ruggedness. Rarely (if ever) do you see him getting tackled by one or two players. It’s usually a pile and that gives him a sense of pride.
Asked if a single player has tackled him this season, Stribling replied in the negative.
“Twice, two people took me down,” the senior with two Division I college offers (Hawaii and San Diego State) said. “One person? I don’t think that’s happened. I look forward to the day when that happens. It’s a mind-set thing. You gotta run angry. You gotta have that dog in you to not let one guy stop you. That’s how I carry myself on the field.”
The most players it took to take him down?
“Against Waianae on one play, probably about eight people,” Stribling said.
Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, who improved to 4-5 overall, they won’t be playing in the postseason. Due to Farrington’s 19-14 victory over Waianae that finished a bit later on Friday night, Kapolei (1-3 OIA Open) was eliminated from the league playoff chase. The Govs (2-2 in the OIA Open) clinched the fourth and final postseason spot, behind Mililani, Kahuku and Campbell.
“Even if we had the upset of the century against No. 3 Mililani (next week), we’re not in,” coach Darren Hernandez said about the season finale against the Trojans.
But Hernandez was super happy with his team’s performance after three straight losses (to Farrington, No. 5 Campbell and No. 4 Kahuku) by a 106-8 margin.
“We are 4-5, but we didn’t win when we had to win,” he said. “The Farrington game (22-8) was a big showdown game. They have a way of dragging us down in the muck — of playing their game.”
That 4-5 mark, the coach added, is something to build on.
Hernandez also gave big props to quarterback Noa Bailey, who returned from a sternum injury suffered Aug. 15 in a loss to No. 1 Saint Louis.
“In that Farrington game (Sept. 6), as brave as he is, his arm was shot and he went out there, trying to play through the injury,” Hernandez said about his junior QB.
Bailey got off to a flying start in Friday’s game, going 11-for-11, and he ended 16-for-21 for 225 yards with no interceptions with a 39-yard TD pass to Stribling.
In last week’s loss to Kahuku, Kapolei was down to its third quarterback, Freddie Gregorio. Second-string QB Mason Gomez (who played two weeks ago against Campbell) is still hurting from a twisted ankle and Gregorio did not suit up Friday night because of a stomach flu.
Due to having only one healthy QB, Kapolei mixed in a lot of wildcat plays with Jayven Reyes (73 yards rushing), Coyaso and Stribling taking the snaps.
Stribling’s TD pass was to Dycen Coyaso for 26 yards and his rushing TD was from 23 yards out. Stribling wound up with 94 receiving yards on six catches, 40 rushing yards on five carries and those 26 passing yards.
Hernandez finds it amazing that Stribling has only those two D-I offers.
The Kapolei defense helped secure the win with four takeaways in the second half — fumble recoveries by Johnson Savusa and Isaiah Mareko as well as interceptions by Branston Gasper-Birgado and Zechariah Kanahele-Mone, who had one of four sacks of Kamehameha’s Kiai Keone. Macael Afaese chipped in with two of those sacks.
For the Warriors (2-5, 1-5 ILH Open), linebacker Dayne Maeva was a hound in the loss. He finished with two sacks and three other tackles for loss. Keone passed for 190 yards, connecting with 10 different receivers. Kamehameha’s only points came on Preston Rezentes‘ 48-yard field goal.