Kapolei leaves Leilehua stunned

Kapolei used defense and a strong running game to blitz Leilehua on Friday night. Photo by Bruce Asato.
Kapolei used defense and a strong running game to blitz Leilehua on Friday night.

(Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser)

From beginning to end, it was simply a weird and wild night in Wahiawa.

The weirdness started in warmups when a power outage knocked out the lights at Hugh Yoshida Stadium. The night ended with a wild Kapolei comeback in the fourth quarter as the Hurricanes scored 35 unanswered points in a 48-27 win over host Leilehua to pick up their third straight win.


About an hour after the game and back on the Kapolei campus, Hurricanes head coach Darren Hernandez said he was “still kind of in disbelief.”

“What’s huge about it is we had all these home games and we didn’t know how we were going to react to our first away game, especially on homecoming and the atmosphere and Leilehua’s so tough to beat at home. So it was a big win of our boys.”

MORE PHOTOS: Kapolei vs. Leilehua photo gallery

Leilehua took a 27-13 lead with 3:12 left in the third quarter when Kalanimoku Pauole threw his second touchdown pass of the game.

Rather than try to come back through the air, Kapolei stuck to its ground game and capitalized on Leilehua turnovers to catch then blow past the Mules in the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t panic because we knew we had a whole quarter,” Hernandez said. “Even though we are primarily a running team, we are a no-huddle team. Most no-huddle teams in Hawaii, they throw it around. We no-huddle and come right at you and run the ball.

“It’s kind of a different look and we’re hopeful we can continue to find the groove.”


That groove was elusive in the first half when the Hurricanes lost 14 yards on their first three plays and managed 80 yards in total offense going into halftime, 38 coming on the first of Mana Reis’ three touchdown runs.

Kapolei picked up 18 yards on its first possession of the third quarter before punting and Leilehua used a 42-yard gain on a fake punt to extend a drive that ended with Pauole’s touchdown pass to Tristin Kamaka to give the Mules a two-touchdown lead.

From that point, the Leilehua offense ran just 11 plays for three yards, losing the ball on a fumble, an interception and another fumble on a kickoff return. They also gave the ball away on downs at their 6 after a botched snap. By then, Kapolei led 41-27.

Kapolei, meanwhile, ran 29 plays and picked up 162 yards — attempting just one pass covering four yards — while scoring on all five possessions over the final 15 minutes and 4 seconds.

“We were kind of running in place (in the first half) and we found our grove and I think the O-line started to mesh,” Hernandez said. “It was really the second game they played together as a unit because of injuries and guys moving around.”

With quarterback Aizona Kahana orchestrating the option attack, Reis finished with 104 yards on 12 carries and Triston Pebria had 96 yards on 23 carries.

“When you’re on the field that long against a big, physical team, it’s going to wear on you, no matter how good your conditioning is,” Leilehua head coach Nolan Tokuda said.


Leilehua finished with 103 passing yards between Pauole and starter Mack Eberhardt, with the duo completing a combined 12 of 28 pass attempts with three interceptions and two touchdowns, both coming from Pauole.

“We’re going to watch the video and we’ll see what happens and what we decide,” Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said of the quarterback situation heading into next week’s game at Aiea. “We trust both of them and we’ll continue to trust them and continue to coach them up.”

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