Kailua takes the lead on Noah Auld’s 8-yard TD pass on fourth down to Martin Tigilau. KAIL 7, KPO 0, 1:04.
Kailua had stalled on its previous possession with an incomplete pass by Auld on fourth and 4 at the Kapolei 13. The wet field — it rained during pre-game warmup for about 15 minutes — played a factor. Kapolei QB Ezra Savea lost control of a low snap but recovered for a 1-yard loss. On the next play, the ball slipped out of his hand as he wound back to throw. Recovered by Kailua’s Taylor Tagupa at the KPO 21. That set up Auld’s TD pass.
Hurricanes sticking to the ground probably due to the conditions and Savea’s earlier issues. It’s not getting them points, but buying time to get their defense some rest.
** STRANGENESS: Kapolei got a fifth down when officials/down marker guy didn’t flip it after a third-down play. Kapolei wound up punting and it appears nobody on the KAIL sideline was paying attention. (Down marker is on the KPO sideline.)
Nonetheless, the Surfriders eventually score again after another quick exchange. Auld threw a deep INT (Leon Lee), but on the ensuing Kapolei offensive snap, hard-running L.J. Esperas fumbled and Isaiah Damo-Agcaoili recovered at the KPO 18.
Quick strike on the next play, Auld to Gaspar on an 18-yard alley-oop toss. Gaspar outjumps two defenders for the TD. KAIL 14, KPO 9, 3:39.
Halftime: Kailua 14, Kapolei 0.
It’s been Kailua’s half, though the Surfriders did miss out on two more red-zone scoring opportunities. This run-oriented spread formation seems to suit Auld. He’s tall enough and strong enough to make plays. On one read, he faked to the RB, broke a tackle and still threw a bullet to a receiver near the sideline — very similar to what David Stant did at Kamehameha some years back (2008 or ’09) — for a 16-yard gain.
Auld is willing to stand there and keep the play alive, and he’s willing to keep his eyes down the field. He is 10-for-23, 106 yards and two TDs with one pick.
Kailua is in the same spot Kapolei was in to start the game, and Auld — like Savea — loses grip before recovering for a 7-yard loss. They drive to the KPO 37, but again like Savea, Auld loses the ball as he winds up to throw. Ball recovered by KPO’s Dylan Naehu.
The Surfriders drive 60 yards in 14 plays, with a crucial fourth-and-4 pass from Auld to Hano Kohatsu for a 6-yard gain and first down at the KPO 10. Gabe LeLesch scores on a 1-yard blast. PAT snap bad. KAIL 20, KPO 0, 10:34.
What was perhaps most notable about Kapolei’s previous possession was seeing Savea at WR. He’s a real threat out there, great hands and obviously knows the routes. He caught a 39-yard pass. Thing of beauty, Taulia Tagovailoa to Savea.
‘Canes drive 67 yards in seven plays to get on the scoreboard. Ty-Noah Williams takes a bubble screen pass and slips through three tacklers for a 31-yard TD from Tagovailoa. PAT blocked by Damo-Agcaoili. Dude is an all-around player. KAIL 20, KPO 6, 9:00.
KPO has momentum now. They lost out on a TD (screen pass to Esperas for 56 yards) due to an illegal block. Then Tagovailoa almost had Savea on a bomb, pass just bit long. Savea was beside himself for not making the catch but that was a tough one and he laid out 100 percent for that. His heart is in it no matter what position he’s at. Whatever happens tonight, this is a great sign for the ‘Canes offense.
That sequence didn’t end well for KPO. Another illegal block call, and on fourth and 8, a high snap that Tagovailoa can’t snatch, and he’s sacked.
Fourth and 4 for Kailua at the KPO 24. LeLesch finds a crack on the left side and slips through for a key 9-yard pickup, just 4 minutes to go. When there have been key situations, the Surfriders have come through a few more times than the ‘Canes. As June Jones used to say, a game can swing on just three or four plays.
The temperature according to the talking voice in my newfangled smart phone (no, I don’t miss my old flip phone that much) claims that the temperature here at Kailua High School as of 5 p.m. is 82 degrees with the humidity at a mere 79 percent.
Eighty-two degrees, OK. But humidity here is probably just 79 percent because it was actually a nice day on this side, according to one of the folks here at Alex Kane Stadium. So the clouds are doing that blanket effect again since there is absolutely no breeze here.
Does that have anything to do with tonight’s resumption of the Kapolei-Kailua football game? Yes and no. Yes, nobody likes wearing helmets and pads in muggy conditions. Conditioning is a major factor. But the field is in top shape, scarcely a semblance of a dirt patch on the natural grass field.
I’m already hearing a complaint or two about the lack of a concession stand tonight — can’t blame anybody for that since nobody schedules a Monday night snack bar for football season — but I stopped by 7-Eleven and picked up my necessities.
And now, as of 5:22 p.m., it is beginning to drizzle. Kapolei arrived at roughly 5:15 p.m. and is kneeling near their sideline as Coach Darren Hernandez talks. This much is certain: Kapolei is a passing team this year and Kailua is a running team this year. Rainy weather usually favors the running team, all things being equal.
According to the “Bonecrusher”, Billy Hull, the game was tied at 0, first quarter, and Kailua had the ball at the Kapolei 27-yard line, third down and 4 yards to go when the game was halted on Saturday due to threat of lightning.
And in the past 30 seconds, the rain s really starting to come down. Tiny drops and a lot of them. I recall back in the 1990s on the Big Island, there were downpours all the time on the Hamakua Coast. Teams would switch out their leather footballs in favor of rubber footballs. Haven’t seen that on Oahu. Ever.