Kapolei impressive in opener, but road gets tougher

Kapolei quarterback Christian Rapis got off a pass before getting hit by the Castle pass rush in a game on Friday. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez will not be fooled into thinking early-season wins mean much.

The Hurricanes opened 2018 with a 53-7 smashing of Castle, but beating a Division I team is what’s supposed to happen.

Still, the team got a complete win. The offense looked good and the defense looked, as usual, mighty imposing.

Hurricanes defenders Bubba White, Peni Naulu, Liam McMoore, Tariq Lacaden, Isaiah Mareko, Zechariah Kahelemone, Kevin Burkel and Maceal Afaese put down the thunder on Castle’s offense.

Offensively, two quarterbacks were highly effective — starter Christian Rapis (206 yards passing, two TDs) and first backup Noa Bailey (53 yards passing, two TDs). A third, Mason Gomez, also got into the game.

Six receivers caught passes for Kapolei, including De’zhaun Stribling, who had seven catches for 95 yards. In addition, Micah Fonoti kicked two field goals.

Hernandez made sure his boys know what’s next — Kamehameha on Friday at Aloha Stadium in the Hurricanes’ debut in the OIA-ILH Open Division alliance.

“Last I looked, nobody has anything locked up yet,” he told his players.

Castle’s Senituli Punivai triec to get past Kapolei’s Peni Nauliu on Friday. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Interestingly, two hyphenated names took over for two hyphenated names who departed. Wearing jersey Nos. 2 and 5 are the Robello brothers. Gone are receivers, the Mokiao-Atimalala brothers, Titus and Tamatoa, who wore the same jersey numbers. They’re at Campbell now. You can find a hyphen in the Robello brothers’ first names — Sinai-Taheed and Zion-Jabez.

Sinai-Taheed Robello caught four passes for 35 yards, including a 10-yard TD. Zion-Jabez Robello carried the ball seven times for 79 yards.

Knights coach John Hao was stung by 21 players who were not able to suit up due to either academic probation or injury.

“I had three defensive linemen playing on the offensive line, guys that never blocked,” he said. “It was an ugly struggle. We had small guys playing D-line, too.”

Three Castle QBs played — Kanaipono Kahala-Giron, Austyn Acosta and Samuel Judd. Judd threw the lone TD pass — to Kanekulani Kahala-Giron.

Chaz Ciacci turned in the Knights’ lone sack of the night.

All told, Kapolei outgained Castle 440 yards to 67.

The Knights won’t see another Open Division team the rest of the way. They start the OIA-ILH Division I alliance next Friday at home.

Kapolei won’t play another D-I team.

After Kamehameha, it doesn’t get any easier, with games in August against Punahou and Kahuku before a trip to play Downey High in Downey, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb.

Kapolei’s De‘zhaun Stribling broke away for a big gain against Castle’s Ryan Schenk. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.


  1. Rebel August 4, 2018 4:01 pm

    Castle’s Academic Probation numbers have gone up the past 2 years….

  2. Real Deal August 4, 2018 4:10 pm

    Must be the “new direction” the Castle AD wanted. It’s a long season, we’ll see how the Knights do.

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