Yuen is warming up with Cauley separately on the field. He’s in full gear (see photo below), not sure if he’s actually playing tonight. Cauley termed Yuen’s injury at the Farrington game as a “stinger.” Depending on the MRI and his doctor’s decision, it could be very little to no damage, or it could be something risky. Hoping to find out soon.
Word is Yuen practiced this week and was cleared by his doctor to play, which is amazing considering he reportedly could not feel his legs when he was hurt on the field at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium in the Farrington game last week. There are varying degrees of damage to a neck when it comes to stingers. Depending on MRI results, it could a month or more before the affected area is healed. For Yuen to be healed up and cleared this quickly is a minor miracle.
Here’s hoping all the kids are safe tonight throughout the state.
Moanalua gets a 48-yard kickoff return by Michael Feliciano, but stalls at the Kapolei 27. Yuen fumbles trying to run for a first down on fourth and 8 and Kapolei takes over.
Taulia Tagovailoa is on point, hitting six of his seven passes, including a 5-yard out route to Jaymin Sarono for the TD. KPO 7, MOA 0, 7:17.
Moanalua picks up a first down on its second series, but Yuen is dialing up Rodson Kealohi often and the coverage is pretty good. Not sure if Kapolei is just doing a stellar job from sideline to sideline, but the drive ends with a sack of Yuen by Johnny Morrison.
The ‘Canes drive almost effortlessly again, going 67 yards in four plays, aided by two Moanalua penalties. A 30-yard strike from Tagovailoa to Sarono is big, and he finds Alika Bantolina for a 6-yard TD. KPO 14, MOA 0, 3:22.
Moanalua struggling along. Yuen’s pass is intercepted by safety Leon Lee at the Kapolei 49. Nice diving play. But KPO stalls at the 18-yard line as Tagovailoa hot streak cools off.
Kapolei’s third 15-yard penalty of the game comes during a punt return by Moanalua. That takes the bonus off a nice 52-yard punt and gives MOA first down at the KPO 48. Two plays later, MOA OL Ricky Angelo goes down with an injury. He’s playing with a brace on his right knee and manages to walk off the field.
Penalties (and a very deliberate officiating crew) have slowed this game to a crawl. Kapolei had a whole bunch, but Moanalua’s returning the favor in this quarter. They have a combined 15 yellow flags for 189 yards. Still 8:11 left in the half.
The ‘Canes drive 48 yards in six plays and score on another TD pass from Tagovailoa to Bantolina. This one is a 5-yard out pattern. KPO 20, MOA 0, 5:09.
Scary moment for Moanalua when Feliciano is brought down with a low (and perfectly legal) hit as the KPO defense strings him out on a toss to the left. He limps off the field. He got dinged up last week against Farrington, too.
Yuen picked off again by Lee, who returns the ball 20 yards to the MOA 40 with 2:09 left in the half.
After the pick, Kapolei drives to paydirt in seven plays. Tagovailoa finds Bantolina for a 3-yard screen pass and the receiver goes airborne to stretch over the goal line. KPO 27, MOA 0, :43.
Yuen picks up 13 yards up the middle on a scramble and finds Kaimi Kinni for a 33-yard pass play. On the final play of the half, Yuen finds Feliciano on a post route for a 16-yard TD pass. First pass Feliciano has seen tonight. KPO 27, MOA 7, :00.
Yuen seems perfectly normal, though his completion rate is nothing like last week against Farrington (21-for-35). Tonight, Kapolei has him scouted well. Yuen is 5-for-18 with two picks for 77 yards and a TD. Feliciano has rushed 11 times for 26 yards, and as shifty and powerful as he is, he’s taking a lot of licks between last week’s game and tonight’s game.
Moanalua has 118 yards of total offense.
Tagovailoa is 22-for-34, 255 yards, four TDs, no picks. That includes 10 completions in a row early on. Kapolei has 8 rushing yards. Sarano has eight receptions for 92 yards, but Tagovailoa has spread the wealth to eight different pass catchers.
The freshman slinger broke the school mark for single-game passing yardage last week (394 yards) in a loss to Mililani, so he’s on track to blow past that new standard. The state record is 574 yards by Pac-Five’s Kainoa Ferreira, set last year against Kamehameha-Maui.
The ‘Canes open the second half with some running plays. Not working. Then Tagovailoa gets picked off over the middle by LB Kekaulike Kalua. Four plays later, Moanalua fumbles the ball away in the red zone.
The third quarter ended with Tagovailoa taking two shots at Sarono down the left sideline, but he was covered well and almost came up with TD catches each time, but was out of bounds. ‘Canes with more success running the ball this series, maybe some fatigue for Moanalua. But the Kapolei bread-and-butter is Tagovailoa in the pocket and delivering downfield.
‘Canes stall at the MOA 25. Beau Meyer drills a 42-yard field goal. KPO 30, MOA 7, 11:53.
Moanalua won’t give up. They go the distance on a pass from Yuen to Brandon Bender, who bounces off tacklers en route to a 62-yard TD. Pass from Yuen to Rylan Miguel on the PAT is good. KPO 30, MOA 15, 11:07.
Tagovailoa back at it, launching a bomb for 75 yards to Keanu Barboza that breaks the school’s single-game passing mark. Tagovailoa has 405 yards at this point. But four plays later, he’s picked off in the end zone.
Tagovailoa throws his third pick of the second half on a post route as a WR goes down. Nehemiah Saovao returns the ball from midfield to the KPO 15, and Rodson Kealohi carries the ball into the end zone on the next play. MOA’s 2-point try fails. Huge play/stop on the PAT for Kapolei. KPO 30, MOA 21, 5:42.
Tagovailoa is up to 448 passing yards as Kapolei marches to the MOA 18. Meyer drills his second FG, a 34-yarder. KPO 33, MOA 21, 3:09.
Kapolei’s Junior Tuia recovers a fumble with 1:36 left. That should do it.
Michael Feliciano may as well have a bull’s eye target on his jersey tonight when Moanalua (2-2, 1-2 OIA Blue) visits Kapolei.
The standout running back from Moanalua (562 rushing yards, nine TDs in four games) could’ve become the biggest facet of Moanalua’s offense — instead of being practically the only one — if a surging young quarterback Alakai Yuen hadn’t suffered the misfortune of a neck injury. When Yuen went down last week in a 42-35 loss to powerhouse Farrington, so did one of the most prolific and promising passers in the OIA. In four games, he was 52-for-87, 883 yards, 10 TDs and just one interception.
As Na Menehune coach Jason Cauley texted earlier this week: “We’re having tryouts for quarterback.”
He was stretching it a bit. Cauley and his staff will have a workable game plan in place. If every Moanalua player has the game of his life, anything is possible for the team. But it won’t be easy, even though Kapolei has a losing record (1-3, 0-3 OIA Blue). The more Moanalua has to rely on a ground attack, the better for Kapolei’s defense.
Though the Hurricanes struggled in preseason at times, they held their own against a sturdy Kahuku ground attack. However, the dropoff from Yuen, who threw for 345 yards and five TDs against Farrington, to anyone else on the roster will be vast. The ‘Canes will zone in on Moanalua’s ground game.
And yet, Moanalua has a shot. It just won’t be the usual Air Cauley show tonight at warm, but breezy Kapolei High School field. Maybe they run the wildcat. Maybe they stick to the normal offense. Or maybe, the fertile mind of Cauley will draw up something we haven’t imagined just yet.
Kickoff will probably be around 7 p.m. though the JV game is nearly over.
JV final: Kapolei 18, Moanalua 0.