Faoa leads Kapolei into the OIA playoffs

Things are looking up for Kapolei Hurricane quarterback Lonenoa Faoa with the playoffs beginning. PHOTO BY STEVEN ERLER / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER Kapolei Hurricane quarterback Lonenoa Faoa (8) hands-off to Kapolei Hurricane fullback Jarad Fonoti (40) during the first half of a final regular season OIA D-1 game between the Kapolei Hurricanes and the Nanakuli Golden Hawks played on Friday, September 29, 2017 at Nanakuli High School Field, Waianae, Hawaii.

Lonenoa Faoa joined the Kapolei football program in late August and helped ensure the Hurricanes’ season would reach October.

The sophomore quarterback transferred to Kapolei from Bishop Gorman (Nev.) after the start of the school year and moved into the starting role three weeks ago in a win at Kailua to snap a three-game losing streak.

After a 42-21 loss to Mililani on Sept. 15, the Hurricanes needed a win on Friday at Nanakuli to qualify for the OIA Division I playoffs and Faoa delivered a four-touchdown performance in a 36-0 win to close the regular season.


“We’re all 0-0 now,” Faoa said on his way to the team bus. “Back to square one and just have to get prepared for next week, whoever we play.”

The Hurricanes (4-4, 3-4) could finish anywhere from fourth to sixth in the OIA Red depending on the outcome of Saturday’s game between Mililani and Kailua. A Mililani win will create a three-way tie between Kailua, Castle and Kapolei at 3-4. If Kailua wins, Kapolei will be sixth with Castle holding the tiebreaker for fifth due to the Hurricanes’ forfeit of their Aug. 19 meeting.

“It was do-or-die so it was like the playoffs,” Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said of Friday’s scenario.

The Hurricanes established the ground game early with Dreydon-Steele Kawewehi grinding out 34 yards on his first four carries. Their opening drive stalled at the Nanakuli 4, but the Hurricanes scored on their next three possessions to take control.

Kapolei Hurricane wide receiver Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala (5) reaches out with the ball at the goal line on Friday.

After his first throw fell incomplete, Faoa completed his next 15 attempts and went into halftime 21-for-23 for 198 yards. Titus Mokiao-Atimalala opened the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown reception on the opening play of the second quarter and Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala turned a short throw into a 40-yard touchdown later in the period.


“First we wanted to establlsh the running game and see where the game went from there,” said Faoa, who repeatedly completed quick darts to finish 24-for-29 for 228 yards.

After his third start, Faoa enters the postseason completing just under 60 percent of his passes and 6.7 yards per attempt.

“I was comfortable my first game, the Kailua week,” he said. “It was just taking time with film, preparing with the coaches and just making the bond stronger (with the team).”

The Kapolei offense was on the field for 42 plays and picked up 268 yards in the first half while the defense limited Nanakuli to minus-27 yards on 14 plays.


Kawewehi finished with 45 yards on 10 carries. Josh Kansana, who returned from injury last week, ran for 58 yards and a touchdown and Jarad Fonoti, a fullback making the transition from rugby, rumbled for 56 yards on nine attempts.

The Kapolei defense forced Nanakuli to go three-and-out on five consecutive possessions and allowed three first downs. The unit contributed a safety early in the fourth quarter before closing out its third shutout of the season.

Kapolei’s defense pitched a shutout in the valley on Friday. PHOTO BY STEVEN ERLER / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER
Kapolei Hurricane defensive lineman Maceal Afaese (97) and Kapolei Hurricane defensive lineman Tyger Faavi (94) are credited with a sack for a safety during the first half of a final regular season OIA D-1 game between the Kapolei Hurricanes and the Nanakuli Golden Hawks played on Friday, September 29, 2017 at Nanakuli High School Field, Waianae, Hawaii.

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