If the name Aaron Faumui sounds familiar, it’s because the Kapolei senior defensive lineman who was carrying a big stick Friday night in a 23-7 nonleague, season-opening road win over Campbell was a member of the 2015 Radford Division II state champions.
Faumui was a youngster for the Rams before he transferred to the mainland.
He’s back on Oahu and was an integral part of the sixth-ranked Hurricanes’ victory in the second installment of the Sledgehammah Showdown. Faumui had three sacks of Sabers quarterback Krenston Kaipo, including a game-preserving safety early in the fourth quarter.
Faumui’s defensive mate, linebacker Rocky Savea, believes the team can get better on both sides of the ball. Coach Darren Hernandez, while seeing some good things in the opener, also said he sees a lot of room for improvement.
The Hurricanes were held to 41 yards rushing, and quarterback Kaniala Kalaola, in his first high school start, had a good start and a solid ending with some so-so moments mixed in during the second and third quarters. He threw three touchdown passes, but he also had three interceptions.
On the bright side, the Kapolei offense spread the ball around from sideline to sideline in crunch time and Campbell didn’t have an answer for it.
The Hurricanes were clinging to a 14-7 lead before Kalaola’s 35-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, and that was followed directly by Faumui’s safety to pretty much clinch it.
Kapolei brothers Titus Mokiao-Atimalala and Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala combined for 11 receptions for 125 yards and three scores.
Pokii Adkins-Kupakaa (two interceptions) and Jacob Covington (71 yards rushing) were solid performers for the Sabers. Teammate Vernon Etrata-Daite had five receptions for 42 yards, but he dropped what looked like a sure touchdown in the end zone as time ran out in the first half. Instead of tying it up, Campbell was still down a TD going into the second half.
“We gotta finish on offense,” Sabers coach Darren Johnson said. “We had some opportunities to put points on the board and came away empty.
“Our group of coaches and 90 percent of our football players are disappointed because we didn’t come in here expecting to lose this football game. We really expected our kids to play better and come out with a victory, but you know, Kapolei came with a good football team. We knew that. They won the football game.
“We eliminated a lot of penalties, the personal foul kind and that was a positive. We gave up big plays, but this is a preseason game. What we have to do is worry about next week. This week is done, finished. We’re going to correct our mistakes and look forward to prepping for Farrington.”
Next Friday, Campbell (0-1) hosts Farrington (0-1), a 34-15 loser to Kamehameha (1-0) in a Friday nonleague season opener.
Next Saturday, Kapolei (1-0) visits Waianae in the Oahu Interscholastic Association opener for both teams.