Kapolei enters the 21st century

Kapolei receivers Ty-Noah Williams, left, and Jenesus Tago-Sue are thrilled with the new signal callers for the Hurricanes. Photo by Krystle Marcellus/Star-Advertiser.
Kapolei receivers Ty-Noah Williams, left, and Jenesus Tago-Sue are thrilled with the new signal callers for the Hurricanes. Photo by Krystle Marcellus/Star-Advertiser.

That headline could seem a little harsh, but it came from coach Darren Hernandez himself after watching his Kapolei offense open the season with a 49-28 win over Kaiser on Friday night.

The only head coach Kapolei has had since starting its varsity program in 2002, Hernandez is ready to shun the physical, run-oriented offense he’s preached the entire time he’s been at Kapolei.

Just look at Kapolei’s history. Only nine times in Hernandez’s first 12 years at Kapolei had he had a 100-yard receiver in a game. He’s never had a quarterback throw over 300 yards and only once has a receiver topped 150 receiving yards.

All of that WILL change this year. That’s a promise. With Campbell transfer Ezra Savea and freshman Taulia Tagovailoa (yes that last name sounds familiar for a reason) taking turns behind center, the Hurricanes have a real quarterback duo they can rely on.

Savea finished 11-for-15 for 196 yards and two touchdowns while Tagovailoa completed his first four passes en route to an 8-for-11, 160-yard performance with three TDs in the win over Kaiser.

“Way back when I was at Campbell and Amosa Amosa was my offensive coordinator we threw the ball a lot,” Hernandez said. “We went to the OIA championship in 1996 and ’97 with passing offenses and so I just made the move and said we’ve got to get into the 21st century.”

The 49 points were the most in a game for Kapolei since 2011. Savea had his moments and is a dual threat as a runner while Tagovailoa, in his first varsity action, seemed comfortable staying in the pocket, making his reads, and delivering the ball quickly.

Both seem capable of directing the Kapolei offense and Hernandez is content with letting both of them share the spotlight.

“I think football can be a sport that can change,” Hernandez said. “Maybe not at the NFL level, but high school and college you can have two different athletes that bring a little bit different stuff to the table. Ezra Savea is like Randall Cunningham in that he can scramble and run and he’s tall and Taulia is a freshman and threw three touchdowns.”

Ty-Noah Williams (seven catches, 123 yards, 3 TDs), Jaymin Sarono (4 catches, 91 yards, 2 TDs) and Jenesus Tago-Sue (3 catches, 65 yards) look to be the biggest beneficiaries to the new-look Hurricanes offense.

Hernandez’s biggest concern Friday was a defense that gave up 565 total yards and 433 rushing yards to the Cougars.

“First of all, all the props to Nic Tom. He looked like he was a quarterback at Georgia Tech or Navy because he was killing us,” Hernandez said. “We’ve got to do better at our assignments. We didn’t handle our assignments well and we had a lot of guys out, almost 20 guys out with injuries.”

Tom ran for 200 yards and two scores for Kaiser and was 15-for-21 passing for 132 yards.


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