That sinking feeling is over for Kapolei.
The Hurricanes (3-3, 2-3 Oahu Interscholastic Association Red) broke a three-game losing streak by routing No. 8 Kailua 33-0 at Alex Kane Stadium on Saturday night. They did it by securing eight turnovers, a performance that may put them back into the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10.
Simply put, had it been a fourth loss in a row — to a ranked team — the hole may have been one that they may not have been able to climb out of.
Now, things are looking much, much brighter.
New quarterback Lonenoa Faoa started in place of Kaniala Kalaola. It was the first varsity start for the recent Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) transfer. Faoa, before he went to Nevada, played for Saint Louis in Hawaii in intermediate school.
“It feels great being home with my boys and it was great to play a tough team like Kailua,” Faoa said. “I had to put trust in the O-line and listen to what the coaches say and execute.”
Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez, when asked midweek about his plans for the quarterback spot for the Kailua game, was somewhat coy in avoiding the question, saying, “We’ve lost three games in a row. There’s really nothing to say.”
Kalaola played in the fourth quarter, going 3-for-7 for 56 yards.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Hernandez said about the two signal-callers in a situation where only one can start.
“(Faoa) was a little jittery early and he overthrew some passes. But he’ll get more reps in practice. This was his first varsity game and he played well.”
Kevin Burkel had a breakout game for the Hurricanes. He recovered three fumbles and had an interception.
“Burkel is a stud,” Hernandez said. “We’re trying to get him on the field. He can play D-end and linebacker.”
Said Burkel: “It’s nice working our way back up again. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. We have the talent. It all depends on the players. Really, no one can stop us except ourselves.”
Kapolei’s road does not get easier. The Hurricanes host undefeated No. 4 Mililani on Friday.
As it has been most of the year, the Hurricanes’ defensive front was immense, with Aaron Faumui, Treven Maae, Dylan Naehu and Rocky Savea making Kailua quarterback Aaron Mejia scramble and keeping the Surfriders offense off balance all night. The Kapolei defense helped score points, too — Matt Gututala‘s interception led to a touchdown and one of Burkel’s fumble recoveries made it possible for Braedon Bantolina‘s 28-yard field goal. In addition, the Hurricanes’ defense recorded a safety, and Peni Naulu‘s 98-yard interception return for a TD put was the final dagger with 5:16 left in the game.
In the final count of yards from scrimmage, Kapolei outgained Kailua 314 to 157.
Coach Joe Wong of the Surfriders (3-3, 3-2) was expecting a better result.
“You can’t turn over the ball like that to a team like Kapolei,” he said. “We’ve got to protect the football. There’s a lot of football left. Our defense is doing a fine job. They did a great job tonight … (and that becomes more clear) if you take away those turnovers that Kapolei capitalized on. They took advantage of every opportunity they had.
“We’ve got to continue to work and we’ve gotta trust the process. Things were open for us out there on offense and there was a little miscommunication on our part with the QB (Mejia had to deal with a handful of shotgun snaps that went over his head). We’ll fix that and get it squared away.”
Backup quarterback Cole Weber had some success moving the offense late in the game when the outcome was already decided.
“We wanted to get Cole in there and clear his mind,” Wong said. “Aaron is our guy. Cole can come in if Aaron can’t. We’ve got to give Aaron better stuff to work with.”
Kailua hasn’t scored in two complete games in a row and that has Wong concerned.
“Two straight goose eggs hurt,” he said.
The Surfriders visit Windward rival Castle on Friday before traveling to Leilehua on Sept. 23.