Finally, here we go. Looks like kickoff will be in a few minutes, around 8:15 p.m.
Kapolei stops Kahuku on the ground in three plays, but the punt is muffed by the Hurricanes and recovered by the Red Raiders at the KPO 14-yard line. Three plays later, Kesi Ah-Hoy scores on a 2-yard run. KAH 7, KPO 0, 9:02, first quarter.
The ‘Canes’ first possession: high snap for a 10-yard sack and another sack for a 4-yard loss before punting.
Kahuku has prime field position at the KPO 31, but gets no deeper than the 25 before self-destructing with penalties and a lateral pass that goes nowhere. Kekoa Sasaoka lines up for a 49-yard field goal, but another procedure call pushes the ball back to the 36. That would be a 53-yard try and Coach Vavae Tata opts to punt.
Third and long for Kapolei and it’s another bad snap. Ezra Savea chases the ball down and makes a wise decision, kicking it out of the end zone instead of risking a Kahuku TD. KAH 9, KPO 0, 11:55, second quarter.
Kekoa Sasaoka powers through a 39-yard field goal after penalties stall another Kahuku drive. High and deep by Sasaoka. Kahuku has scored by every way possible: TD, safety, FG. I suppose there’s the 1-point drop-kick PAT, but that won’t happen, right? KAH 12, KPO 0, 7:20, second quarter.
Pass by Savea sails a bit and is nearly a pick-6. Then another bad snap, loss of 7 to the KPO 3. KPO has to punt again and Sasaoka is turning into a major weapon with his kickoffs for touchbacks, and he’s getting nice hang time and location on his punts.
Sasaoka lines up for a 50-yard FG attempt with 2 seconds left in the half when Kapolei has a blunder or two. First, they jump offside. Then the holder, Stokes Botelho, scoops up a bad snap and rambles right to the 18-yard line as the half ends. But Kapolei commits a horsecollar penalty, the ball advances to the 9-yard line. Sasaoka then drills a clean 26-yard FG to end the half. Finally. KAH 15, KPO 0, halftime.
The Red Raiders aren’t playing pretty football and all hats off to them for knowing they don’t need to. They play solid defense, good special teams and don’t turn the ball over. Their offensive stats are nothing great — 59 rushing yards, 34 passing yards — but they are dominating the battle for field position, and Kapolei’s issues with the shotgun snap are giving the visitors all kinds of cushion to stay conservative.
Kapolei has 2 yards of total offense at the half, derailed by the snap problems and muzzled by Kahuku’s stellar coverage. Freshman Taulia Tagovailoa took the snaps on that last series before the half and was 0-for-3. Red Raiders taking away Kapolei’s routes and the receivers are not offering any resistance. Well-scouted by Big Red.
The second half opened with more dominance by the Kahuku defense. A big momentum changer, a completion by Savea for more than 30 yards, was wiped away by a holding call. Then another bad snap left Savea in trouble in the end zone. Swarmed by a handful of Red Raiders, he was flagged for intentional grounding — another safety. KAH 17, KPO 0, 10:03, third quarter.
Kapolei’s offense started to roll after that with Savea and Tagovailoa rotating. A personal foul on Kahuku DB Keala Santiago cost the Red Raiders 29 yards (spot foul), and after a facemask call on the visitors, Kapolei had the ball on the 3-yard line. But a low snap got away from Savea and Bradlee Anae recovered for Kahuku at the 4.
The ‘Canes got on the board on their next drive. Tagovailoa’s 6-yard post pass found Dillon Pakele in the end zone. KAH 17, KPO 7, 11:17, fourth quarter.
The Red Raiders drive 80 yards in eight plays, very convincing drive. Sefa Amerperosa’s 38-yard blast on the left side pretty much seals it. KAH 24, KPO 7, 8:02, fourth quarter.
Sasaoka’s third FG, a 38 yarder, adds more cushion. KAH 27, KPO 7, 2:49, fourth quarter.
Hot afternoon at Kapolei — 87 degrees — where the parking lot is almost filled and the JV game hasn’t even started (as of 5:20 p.m.). Big crowd expected, but I don’t think Kahuku will have as many fans in their bleachers because this game is on TV.
This is another big challenge for both programs. Kapolei made quite an opening statement last week with a 49-28 win over then No. 8-ranked Kaiser. Kahuku routed a Top 10 squad, Campbell, 50-0, at Carleton Weimer Field in Vavae Tata’s debut as head coach.
What many of us will probably be looking for is the resistance level of Kapolei’s run defense. That unit surrendered well over 400 rushing yards last week against Kaiser. Kahuku promises, in Tata’s words, to play smashmouth football no matter what the score. Of course, he could change things up and have his QB throw the ball 30 times tonight. But I doubt it. If it ain’t broke…
JV game has started as of 5:30 p.m. Varsity will likely kick off somewhere around 8 p.m. If we’re lucky. Factor in the extended time outs due to TV, and the varsity matchup may not end until 10:45 p.m.
Update: JV game, Kahuku leads Kapolei 13-7 at the half.
Update: End Q3, Kahuku leads 19-7 (JV).
Update: Final, Kahuku 25, Kapolei 7 (JV).
Here’s some foodie art. My mid-afternoon breakfast at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers. Wasn’t planning on eating there, but they have a restroom and I needed a pit stop after that easy drive (before the brutal Friday rush-hour traffic). Laulau bowl is at Kapolei’s field, $6. Pretty good 🙂