Leilehua no longer ordinary in OIA Red

Leilehua quarterback Kona Andres came up big to help the Mules shock No. 8 Kapolei on Saturday. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Leilehua coach Mark Kurisu is a believer in the bigger picture, those small decisions and actions that have a cumulative impact on his program.

It’s why he holds his players to higher standards in the classroom, for example. He believes that it will help his players respond to adversity on the field. He was seen saying “trust the process” to players, coaches and parents after the Mules’ 20-19 comeback victory over No. 8 Kapolei in overtime on Saturday night, and it was the culmination of what he’s been trying to preach in his first full year at the helm taking over for Nolan Tokuda.

“Whatever we went through, it’s building us for our future. This is the fruit of our labor right now. We did our job, we worked hard,” he said. “Yeah, we had to go over some big hurdles like Kahuku and Mililani, but we trusted the process. That’s all you can ever ask of anybody when they play this sport. These kids are showing it.”


The first conference win of the season for Leilehua (2-2, 1-2 OIA Red) was a total grind for the Mules, who were shut out in their previous games against Kahuku and Mililani and trailed 13-0 at halftime.

They finally broke through in the third quarter when quarterback Kona Andres and Jeremy Evans connected for a 20-yard touchdown. Andres’ second touchdown pass tied things up with 4:42 left in the game.

“Just do my reads, trust the process and execute. Simple as that,” Andres said. “Nothing was really going through my mind. I’m used to it already. Just keep an eye out because we’re not underdogs.”

Kaolei had multiple opportunities to take the lead in regulation but couldn’t finish. The Hurricanes elected to defer in overtime. After that, Andres got his third touchdown of the day, this time a 3-yard sneak up the middle.


The Hurricanes answered with Dylan Toilolo’s 3-yard rushing score, and then the decision to go for two came. After both teams exchanged timeouts, Kapolei quarterback Kaniala Kalaola was picked off in the end zone by Odin Mersberg and the upset was complete.

“There’s no way an average person looks at these two teams and says ‘Leilehua’s going to beat Kapolei.’ No way,” Kurisu said. “Being in that type of game against them and being able to win, it truly is humbling. For us, ordinary people look at the game and they think we would get smashed based off of the last two games.

“Because of the way we conduct ourselves with our character, we’re not ordinary anymore.”

COMMENTS

  1. Mason September 3, 2017 11:15 am

    Total failure of the coaching staff, no discipline, not correcting players, no adjustments on the field and players fighting on the sidelines. Coach Hernandez get it together or get the hell out, football is beginning to pass you by.


  2. Education First September 3, 2017 1:29 pm

    Coach Toothpick has arguably as much talent as Kahuku and Mililani yet his teams consistently underperform. Year after year after year. They were good last season because of JJ. How does this guy keep his coaching gig? Disservice to the players and school who deserve better. Go call Spectrum HS games full time.


  3. 808plate September 3, 2017 1:46 pm

    California Ave. goin off!!!!!


  4. Choloropicrin September 3, 2017 3:11 pm

    Kapolei needs a change foreal. They have (and recruit talent) every year and they under perform. I agree with the above, JJ was part of the reason why Kapolei had an outstanding year last year. With that loss, they definitely have the long road in the playoffs.

    Word is that OC Amosa is out?…any confirmation?


  5. Scoops September 3, 2017 3:19 pm

    Maybe if the Kapolei AD moves on after the whole Probation Mess, Coaching may change. (All of this, is not happening soon.)


  6. RootedNotRecruited September 3, 2017 3:26 pm

    get choke talent.. plus recruit like millilani.. this year was there year. loaded with players especially on D thanks to “transfers” and recruiting and still cant get it done.. they lucky waianae qb was out most of the game.. i think Waianae beats um in rematch


  7. Exit8 September 3, 2017 4:54 pm

    Olive Ave. joining California Ave. and its Poppin off UP HEIGHTS!


  8. Mason September 3, 2017 6:03 pm

    Amosa got demoted to running backs coach, Hernandez was calling plays out there!


  9. BK September 3, 2017 7:12 pm

    How come Amosa not OC? Thought Darren and him were colleagues?


  10. Tupac Smalls September 3, 2017 8:38 pm

    I thought Kapolei o-line was supposed to be the best out there, if not one of the best. D1 college recruits all over that team. But yet the QB get sacked how many times a game?! I mean damn!!!!! Even if you put the new QB in, O-LINE won’t block, cannot block. Kapolei O-line: OVERRATED!!!!!! OVERRATED!!!!! OVERRATED!!!!


  11. RUN DMC September 3, 2017 8:53 pm

    Oline is allowing QB to get sacks. How many times a game? Cmon man. D1 recruits all over that oline…..still qb get sacks more than 4 times a game. Cmon man. Overrated.


  12. NothingPersonalItsOnlyFootball September 3, 2017 9:45 pm

    Now ALL of Hawaii knows that demoting Coach Amosa wasn’t the problem because they still lost without him signal calling. So if they have more talent on the team then Leilehua and Farrington have offers put together then there’s only one conclusion we can come to, and he has admitted to it already. So now, why has Kapolei HS decided to keep rolling the dice with this Coach Hernandez? Who is making the decision of keep doing the same thing to get a different result? That’s where the problem lies, not in Coach Hernandez or Amosa or even the Team. Until Kapolei can fix that, then you will have a different result but until then, keep trying or keep crying!


  13. Leeboy September 4, 2017 9:26 am

    That’s a total failure on the coaching staff this was their year. I don’t think they can get a better squad than this. You will never see players fighting on the ST Louis sidelines. nough said


  14. Hau'ulaBoy September 4, 2017 10:50 am

    Kapolei overrated? Nah. Just Leilehua coaches very underrated. They been pulling off upsets like this since way back. I remember when they upset Kahuku back in 2007. That team was pretty good. Spencer Hafoka’s senior year. Kahuka was smashing everyone that year. Then got upset in the quaterfinals by a well coached team. There D was the reason. Very well Discipline team. Great job. RR4L._.


  15. 88 September 4, 2017 11:35 am

    Leeboy, this was their year for what? Kapolei plays like individuals in a team sport. Instead of congratulating their teammates for making a good play the players seem envious like they wish it was them who had just made the play. I’ve never seen anything like it.


  16. Leeboy September 4, 2017 1:20 pm

    88, this was their year to become elite and win some trophies. Lots of D1 talent on both side of the ball, but no team is better than Kahuku right. Even if St Louis will win the Koa head again. Cheeehuuu


  17. 88 September 4, 2017 2:42 pm

    Yeah they’re winning the 2nd place Koa trophy this year. The question is will they stay and accept the trophy or show poor sportsmanship again and leave. Oh and your right, if your counting trophies, in the past 17 years there has been no better team than Kahuku.


  18. anywaaaays!! September 4, 2017 6:02 pm

    LeeBoy the coach is still at Kapolei because he is a genius. He created the fork and spoon koa trophy for his rivalry against waianae and campbell that he has won every year. I believe you can view the trophys in the gym.


  19. Austin Chang September 4, 2017 7:28 pm

    So disappointed with Kapolei coaching staff they should have been the most dominant team in Hawaii right now but no they are dealing with a coach staff issue that is causing them their game. If Kapolei keeps this up they will not make it to the playoffs at all. Kapolei needs a change ASAP. They receuited those people for nothing and it is a waste of time for them. Hats off to Leilehua they dominate out there especially that Defense 2. Leilehua still got a long way to go. But overall good game.


  20. Douglas Hu September 4, 2017 7:59 pm

    Austin Chang…I’m curious as to how you came to your conclusion about Kapolei’s expected dominance? June and Taulia took them as far as they will ever go…replaced by Amosa and Kalaola?? And they’re supposed to do what with those two??? Hernandez is comfortable over there…and the admin, who does not seem to have an issue with his on air stuff DURING FOOTBALL SEASON, is very comfortable with him as well…perfect match…zero expectations…I have to give Hernandez some credit for playing his cards so well…in all honesty, I think he would be an excellent politician…


  21. Austin Chang September 4, 2017 9:48 pm

    @Douglas Hu Will you have to think though even though Kapolei is not dominated, there’s lots of people that’s actually moving there and trying to join their team. There has been lots of transfers going on in Kapolei. It not Hernandez fault. They already replacing some coaches. And those two coaches are still learning the system. Here example I never heard those these two before, and they surprised me. Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala, and Titus Mokiao-Atimalala those two are underclassmen and they can change their program around. Sorry for the off topic. Kapolei is a young team the quarterback is still learning. Just like Mililani Campbell and Kahuku.


  22. Choloropicrin September 4, 2017 10:27 pm

    “I think he would be an excellent politician”….best comment on this thread. Haha

    I agree with the poster above that Kapolei is an undisciplined football team.


  23. Scooby Doo September 5, 2017 7:44 am

    Kapolei coaches thought they had a good thing going. Excitement was there. Transfers and all. Coaches and players got big headed. Not a good mix. Can they turn it around……HC, DC and OC needs to go. Team needs restructuring. Duh!!!! Cmon, you let Mules score on you. How did that happen? All State, D1 recruits are all over this team and they just totally blows it every week. Cmon, whats really the excuse. Needs a new staff. Indeed OVERATED!!!!


  24. Douglas Hu September 5, 2017 1:21 pm

    “Austin Chang”- Atimalala…..those boys are HORRIFIC blockers….they believe their own hype…no coach has held them accountable to the concept of TEAM…a real coach will enter their lives one day…it will be a rude awakening…


  25. TCK September 6, 2017 12:35 am

    Not sure what everyone means with this was Kapolei’s year? Especially with big changes in coaching and in the locker room. If anything their year was last year when they had an elite coaching staff with JJ and Manley (who is now at Leilehua). But none the less hats off to coach Hernandez for a stellar season so far can’t be easy starting from scratch with a new coaching staff and his star QB gone as well a number of other all star players graduated. Cant compare teams as far as coaching staff. But what the two teams did have in common? Manley. They forgot to mention that on Leilehua side this is Manleys first season ever being an OC and in just his second season coaching ever. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but seems like he did learn a few things from JJ last year?


  26. TCK September 6, 2017 1:09 am

    Not sure what everyone means with this was Kapolei’s year? Especially with big changes in coaching and in the locker room. If anything their year was last year when they had an elite coaching staff with JJ and Manley (who is now at Leilehua). But none the less hats off to coach Hernandez for a stellar season so far can’t be easy starting from scratch with a new coaching staff and his star QB gone as well a number of other all star players graduated. Cant compare The two teams as far as coaching staff. They forgot to mention that on Leilehua side this is Manleys first season ever being an OC and in just his second season coaching ever. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but seems like he did learn a few things from JJ last year?


  27. Choloropicrin September 6, 2017 8:10 am

    In the OIA It’s always somebody’s year during the preseason, until they play the big dogs aka the Big Red Machine.

    What’s sad is Kapolei has all the talent but they are a VERY undisciplined team; personal fouls, taunting, undciplined in their fundamentals and techniques. That’s why they’re losing. Coach H is slowly turning into Aiea’s coach .500 career 25 plus years coaching.


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