Hoku Arias was all over the place Friday night.
He was part of a gnarly defense for the Kamehameha Warriors in a grueling, 21-7 victory over Kapolei in a historic OIA-ILH alliance opener at Aloha Stadium.
Arias had three sacks and a tackle for loss —- all in the first half — and then he scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter to put the Warriors up for good at 14-7.
Four plays and 32 seconds later (the kickoff, an interception by Kamehameha’s Kalau Morikawa, a 27-yard reverse by Skyler Ramos and a 1-yard TD run by Laakea Ane), the win was pretty much in the Warriors’ hands.
Kamehameha coach Abu Ma’afala chose not to speak with reporters after the game, but he pointed to Arias to talk about the team’s effort.
“I liked our energy,” Arias said. “We came out with a ton of energy and we didn’t let it slip. We kept consistent. This was (due to) hours of preparation from our coaches.”
Arias, a tenacious linebacker, didn’t mind one bit playing offense for one play.
“I could get used to that,” he said.
The other hounds, otherwise known as his Warriors’ defensive teammates, also played big parts in the victory. Kalani Kamakawiwoole and Dayne Maeva had two sacks each. Akalea Kapono also had a tackle for loss, and Tiger Peterson added an interception.
Asked if he thought the Hurricanes (1-1, 0-0 OIA Open) got worn down, Arias said, “I’m not sure about them and I can’t speak for them, but for us, we were ready. It doesn’t matter who’s across from us.”
Most of the first half of the physical game looked like a Baltimore Colts vs. Cleveland Browns contest, circa 1968, before the days of intricate passing offenses. The pass rush and run defenses were in control, and it took a while to break out.
“At times in the trenches, it was a street fight,” Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. “We don’t (usually) play them. It was a refreshing thing for the fans. It was touch and go until (the fourth-quarter turning points).”
Kapolei was hit with two first-half injuries — to starting quarterback Christian Rapis (hip) and starting right guard Keahi Hosaka (leg).
Noa Bailey, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore, came in for his first real varsity action at quarterback.
“I was second and third string last year,” he said. “I was nervous in the beginning. Christian went down and I stepped up. As the game went on, the line started doing better and giving me more time.”
Bailey completed nine of his 30 passes for 140 yards (100 in the second half, including a 52-yard TD pass to Ikari Stokes).
“It was baptism by fire for Noa Bailey,” Hernandez said. “He did some good things. He’s going to be a good one. We’re still hoping and praying that Christian will recover.”
Christmas Togiai (who was the third QB into the game for Kamehameha; after Kiai Keone and Moe Tanuvasa) finished 10-for-13 for 92 yards and showed that he’s adept at escaping the rush.
It is uncertain who the starting QB will be going forward for the Warriors (1-0, 1-0 ILH Open).
Kapolei hosts Punahou next Friday. Kamehameha is at Mililani next Saturday.