Not many had a Friday as eventful as De’Zhaun Stribling just experienced.
On Friday morning, the Kapolei senior woke up to an offer from San Diego State.
On Friday night against Castle, he showed why, catching a game-high 10 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns in a 40-24 win.
“It motivated me to push for more and keep working and always be humble,” Stribling said of the gameday offer.
Stribling, who is 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, also earned an offer from Hawaii over the summer, setting the tone for a senior season with big goals.
“Get my team to the championship,” he said, “and get the state receiving record.”
As a junior, he caught 46 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns. He almost matched the touchdown total on Friday alone if not for a negated 65-yard touchdown on a jailbreak screen in the fourth quarter.
“Amazing. Yeah, he’s amazing,” Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said of Stribling. “It’s too bad we keep killing ourselves with the penalties, though.”
Kapolei junior Noa Bailey completed 20 of his 37 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns against the Knights. A big chunk of those numbers are credited to Stribling. Bailey knows what he has in his top target.
“He’s pretty useful on third or fourth down when we need that big gain,” Bailey said. “He’s there. He just balls out.”
Though satisfied with the season-opening win, Hernandez knows his team will need to be sharper against steeper competition.
Next Friday, the Hurricanes travel to Waianae, who are fresh off a 35-20 win over No. 7 Waipahu. The week after that? A matchup with nationally-ranked Saint Louis.
“We made a lot of mistakes. I liked a few things but there was a lot of things we have to clean up,” he said. “It’s preseason, we made a lot of mistakes. Overall, I’m happy with the win obviously but not when there were stretches when we made a lot of mistakes and we killed ourselves.”
Stribling will be asked to shoulder a big load this season. In addition to his receiving duties, he also returns punts and kickoffs for Kapolei.
“It felt very good,” Stribling said. “It was a very fun experience playing with the boys again and be back on the field. “We can play as a team and we can play with anybody. We just gotta keep pushing and play as one.”