Kapolei adds Saint Louis transfer at QB

Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez got the water bath after his Hurricanes beat Punahou in 2016. The longtime Hurricanes head coach lost his starting quarterback in the offseason but has added a talented transfer from Saint Louis Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Kapolei suffered a huge, at least somewhat unexpected, loss with record-setting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa’s departure to Alabama earlier this year to be closer to his brother, Tua.

Taulia posted incredible numbers as a freshman and sophomore and seemed well on his way to the greatest statistical career for a quarterback in Hawaii high school history. And it wasn’t just all numbers: Tagovailoa led Kapolei to a win over Punahou in the state tournament’s open division semifinals last year.

But coach Darren Hernandez and others are impressed with Kaniala “Ala” Kalaola, a recent addition who will likely start at quarterback. He is a junior transfer from Saint Louis who can play right away.

“Last year he beat out six guys to be the starting quarterback for Saint Louis JV,” Hernandez said of the 6-foot, 175-pounder whose older brother played at Kapolei. “He has a quick release, he’s very accurate, he’s a good runner, athlete and has a good head on his shoulders.”

Kalaola had worked out for just three days with a group of Kapolei players before he led them to third place in a 7-on-7 pylon tournament at Farrington two weeks ago.

“There were a lot of stacked teams in that tournament,” Hernandez said.

Prior to the arrival of Kalaola, Hernandez tried 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end Kukea Emmsley and Nainoa Fong (last year’s third-string varsity QB) behind center.

“But, to be frank, you don’t replace a talent like Taulia, a kid who threw 42 touchdown passes last year,” Hernandez said.

June Jones, who was Kapolei’s offensive coordinator, left for an administrative job at Saint Louis, and has been replaced by former Campbell head coach Amosa Amosa.

Quarterbacks coach Andrew Manley and receivers coach Ricky Lumford have also left, to be offensive coordinators; Manley at his alma mater, Leilehua, and Lumford at Castle.

Taulia Tagovailoa, who has a scholarship offer from Alabama, will play at Thompson High in Alabaster, Ala. In his two seasons at Kapolei, he passed for 6,703 yards and 64 touchdowns.


  1. Mahatma Gandhi June 12, 2017 9:16 pm

    wow, does St Lulu really bring in that many QB prospects to eventually battle for the Varsity starting QB position? Then they expect those that losts out in the competiton to then give up their free rides and transfer out? Is that how it works at Kalaepohaku? St Lulu is a win-at-all-costs football program. Just like Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas.

  2. Hawnheat June 12, 2017 9:34 pm

    That’s funny none of the Qbs at St. Louis is on a free ride. You should really know what you talking bout before posting, makes you really look stupid.

  3. Katoosh808 June 12, 2017 10:02 pm

    Is Gandhi another salty poons/kahuku fan? Go cry someplace else

  4. The Watcher June 12, 2017 10:07 pm

    A lot of jealousy in Ganhi’s writing. It’s a little sad that a grown adult has to negatively about a kid deciding to change schools.

  5. Tasha Kalaola June 12, 2017 10:14 pm

    Your comment is not accurate either so maybe you should get your facts straight before badgering a highschool student.

  6. Chloropicrin June 12, 2017 10:27 pm

    Why don’t they say, he came back to play for the home team. Seems like he lives in kapolei and isn’t attending STl for what ever reason..

  7. anywaaaays!! June 12, 2017 11:34 pm

    Wasnt the Mililani QB Gabriel also a student at STL but transfered because he wasnt going to get playing time. College coaches dont care if you were groomed in a private school system anymore especially with off-season camps and the OIA teams getting better. This sucks for the ILH because kids want playing time and are not willing to wait in line, no wonder the ILH is in panic mode.

  8. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate June 12, 2017 11:39 pm

    welcome to kapolei lets make da oia great again

  9. Hyn June 13, 2017 1:56 am

    Anyways. What are you talking about. How does this have anything to do with the ILH in panic mode. Why does it always have to be ILH vs oia. Can’t you people just be happy for the kid. GET A LIFE!

  10. Conrad June 13, 2017 3:38 am

    You no nothing about Gorman.

  11. NoMakeSense June 13, 2017 6:14 am

    Mililani QB Gabriel was never in the St. Louis system. His dad played for Pac-Five and graduated from Maryknoll. It would have made more sense if he went that route. Most private school students do tend to go to the school that their parents graduated from, however, many others do not, Gabriel is an example. As far as OIA teams getting better, last years scores tend to indicate the opposite, especially those playing against Kahuku.

  12. The Watcher June 13, 2017 7:53 am

    What panic mode is the ILH in? And do you have any evidence suggesting that the ILH is panicking?

  13. braddah June 13, 2017 8:44 am

    Gabriel was at Punahou, not at St. Louis. The reason why he transferred was probably because of this year’s starting QB at Punahou, Steven Barber. He would’ve probably waited until Nick Kapule who just graduated this year as the previous starting QB and then beat out Steven Barber who graduates next school year. Gabriel would’ve started his senior year.

  14. Alpha June 13, 2017 9:00 am

    Probably the same story here with Gabriel. Opportunity somewhere else then why not? Taulia didn’t go to st Louis cause he garuntee wasn’t starting over Tua, so the parents saw the opportunity at Kapolei nd took advantage. It’s a win win for the parents, the kid gets a shot to start right away and the parents get to put some money back in there pockets going back to oia.

  15. 7399Hawyn June 13, 2017 10:17 am

    Every one should just wish all the kids good luck! Whether they are playing at a OIA or ILH school, this is their future.To that transfer student to Kapolei may you continue to strive for your goals, continue working hard, don’t let anything hold you back or anyone tell you different, shoot for the stars and be blessed with the opportunities that present itself, GOOD LUCK ALA!!

  16. Coach_B June 13, 2017 11:13 am

    Yup. You got the Gabriel story pretty much spot on. He wouldn’t have started until his senior year if he stayed at Punahou even though he came up through the intermediate ranks as the starting QB. Barber is only a year ahead of Gabriel and was brought in as a freshman to be next in line behind Tuliloa, who was the starter at the time, and Kapule who eventually unseated Tuliloa as starting QB. Gabriels dad probably saw the writing on the wall that Bare was gonna get every opportunity to start as a senior over Gabriel, who would be a junior when Kapule graduates, since Barber was recruited. Makes sense for Gabriel to transfer to Mililani since he’s been starting since Milton got hurt midway through Gabriels freshman year

  17. Ka Iwa June 13, 2017 12:24 pm

    Does this QB need to sit out a year? If not …..is it because he is going from ILH to OIA? Only OIA to OIA needs to sit out a year?

  18. The Watcher June 13, 2017 1:41 pm

    Garrett and I are good friends. That is not the story at all. The Gabriel’s love competition even if it meant sitting and learning or waiting their turn.

  19. Hawnheat808 June 13, 2017 3:15 pm

    @ka iwa.. A student can leave the Ilh for his home School ( The school district he lives in)and not sit out. He can also return back to St. Louis and not sit out either.

  20. Coach_B June 13, 2017 3:57 pm

    @The Watcher
    Then why did the son transfer then? He was at Punahou throughout junior school and had success as a starting QB at the lower levels.

    I was never of the opinion that they didn’t want competition. I actually think transferring was a shrewd move by the Gabriels, regardless of intentions, especially considering the politics in the Punahou athletics dept. I just think that your statement that they love competition and would’ve stayed and competed contradicts what actually happened without offering a better explanation

  21. The Watcher June 13, 2017 4:08 pm

    Not my place to say. The island is small. It’s easy to reach out to Garrett, Darryl, Babes, Sis, or Tweety to find out the real story. I think it’s a little irresponsible for people to make assumptions with no evidence about kids.

  22. The Watcher June 13, 2017 4:12 pm

    There are so many variables that many do not take into account before jumping to conclusions. Here are some (I am not saying any of these are the truth). I am saying this is what it could also be if I was a spectator.

    1) Financial Situation
    2) Drive to Punahou from their home
    3) Parent’s work situations and distances to Punahou
    4) Academic fit
    5) Fit with varsity coaching staff
    6) Financial Aid situation changed

    I could come up with dozens more. But I am pretty sure you get the point. And who is to say the decision to leave had anything to do with athletics. To some families, academics and finances are more important than throwing a football.

  23. Oia#1 June 13, 2017 6:41 pm

    Should’ve went to waianae.

  24. Coach_B June 13, 2017 7:01 pm

    @The Watcher
    No doubt there are always numerous factors, but considering what I know, I do have some understanding of the situation beyond these comment forums, I didn’t think I was drawing an unfounded or judgemental conclusion. What I wondered was why people wanted to avoid saying IF football was at least ONE of the reasons for transferring considering how well it turned out for them.

    Also, I am very aware of the fact that finances and academics take precedence over football. I might not have made my understanding of that as clear as I should have, but I am indeed aware. If it was due to finances it would’ve been a real shame. Money should never get in the way of an education

  25. ilh June 13, 2017 8:05 pm


  26. Haha June 13, 2017 8:54 pm

    So does the rules apply for PRIVATE school transferring to PUBLIC?. You have to sit out for a yeat.

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