No mistaking it, Kahuku is still a run-first team.
Forty carries for 222 yards on the ground say it all, especially against a big, physical Kapolei defense in a tough 33-19 nonconference win. But it was the way the Red Raiders amassed their yardage that was different. Counters. Options, which weren’t altogether different, except that quarterback Tuli Wily-Matagi was able to stop on a dime before pitching and fire spirals for first downs
Over time, the variations of Kahuku’s offense spread out Kapolei’s defense and nothing completely shut down Big Red. Lining up in those spread formations, mixed into the playbook with blasts up the gut and quick tosses — not totally different from Kapolei’s offensive packages — were something different to see for Kahuku’s loyal fans.
Wily-Matagi was 7-for-12, 145 passing yards and one touchdown with just one fumble. Throwing the ball 14 times in 54 offensive plays isn’t offensive balance, but the threat of the pass out of any formation makes the big (6-3, 230 pounds) senior a very valuable weapon, especially when coverage is tight and he has room to run.
Ah-Hoy rushed 12 times for 97 yards, caught two passes for 69 yards and had a 94-yard kick return for a touchdown.
Kapolei looked better offensively as the game went on. First-year starting quarterback Alton Julius passed for 116 yards despite a furious pass rush. The ‘Canes rushed for 97 yards on 36 attempts, getting some nice runs from Ekolu Young, Ronald Matautia, Trensten Spragling and Kepa Kaina.
But this night won’t be remembered by the Hurricanes for a loss on the field. It was a surreal night for Kapolei, which saw one of its parents collapse during the second quarter. Medical help arrived quickly. Kapolei’s trainer, Alex Lo, administered compressions to the parent’s chest. Three doctors were also there, a Kahuku official said. An AED was used in an attempt to revive him. He didn’t make it.
Coach Darren Hernandez called it the toughest night of his coaching career. The Hurricanes gave it a great effort, but they just weren’t the same after that tragedy during the second quarter.
Nobody on the Kahuku sideline knew for sure what had happened over on the Kapolei side of Carleton Weimer Field. Coach Hernandez told Kahuku coach Lee Leslie after the game, and Leslie was in shock. All Kahuku fans on the other side of the field knew was that the public announcer had asked for medical help. The game went on. I’m not sure on Kahuku’s side went home knowing the tragedy that had fallen upon Kapolei’s football family.