The Saint Louis Crusaders and Kapolei Hurricanes are nearly 30 minutes into their first respective scrimmages of the “fall” season. (School begins so early compared to the rest of the country, as does football season, that it’s still summer time — a long way from fall.) I got here at 5:45 p.m. or so, 15 after the start, for two simple reasons. This head cold and toothache are killing my head; I had to get Tylenol from the drug store. And two, I got lost on the way from Ewa Beach to Kapolei.
I know that sounds like a joke, but in all the years of covering games at Kapolei, I never had to go here from Ewa Beach. I still don’t have a grasp of this fancy new smart phone, and though I looked up the map, I’d never driven Kapolei Parkway before. I actually got lost turning the wrong way way short of the high school campus. Had to get directions the old-fashioned way — from two passers-by on bicycles — to get here.
Since I’ve been here, QB Tua Tagovailoa has directed a TD drive, scoring on a 12-yard scamper between the hashes. Their slotbacks look fine for now, a lot of new faces, not a lot of connections on that scoring drive. The last time I saw Tua throw the ball was at the Maximum Exposure Camp where he had a glut of fine and seasoned receivers to throw to. It’ll take time for the Crusaders’ young receiving corps to get up to speed. And there’s still WR Drew Kobayashi. Patience is crucial, Saint Louis fans.
I’m not 100-percent certain without an official (or unofficial) roster, but I believe it was new QB Ezra Savea who guided Kapolei’s scoring drive. He found a receiver on the left sideline and the pass catcher made a move for a TD play. It was a bittersweet series for the Hurricanes. On fourth-and-1 in their own territory, one of their RBs picked up a first down and sprinted for another 20 yards before suffering an injury on the tackle. Not sure who it was, but it looks pretty serious.
Saint Louis just scored again with a backup QB at the helm. They scored on an 18-yard shovel pass. Both teams testing out the old-school play a bit today.
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Kapolei, with No. 12 at QB, has scored again. Nice 20-yard corner route pass. Target wide open. Just about everything the ‘Canes are doing is a mirror of Saint Louis. Why? The new OC at Kapolei is Galu Tagovailoa, father of Tua Tagovailoa. That’s what I was told a few months ago and I’ll see if that’s true after the scrimmage. But it would explain a lot. Galu also coaches the Ewa Beach Sabers team in the Big Boyz and Hawaii Junior League. The one that has Tua coaching youngsters on Sunday afternoons in the long offseason.
Another injury, this one to Saint Louis No. 20, who just caught a pass. Cart and trainer on the spot.
Lots of time for Saint Louis, but the QB throws a pick down the middle. Kapolei’s No. 4 returns it about 15 yards and goes out of bounds.
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Another pick in the secondary by ‘Canes against a reserve Saint Louis QB. Hard to make out the teal number on the black (defense) jersey, no P.A. for the scrimmage. I’m shooting video, not using binoculars. Guess that will change next time.
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We’re in the late going and KPO is driving again. TD pass from 12 yards out on a rollout left from No. 12 to No. 13. Maybe there are reserves on the field, but there were a lot of big boys in the front seven for STL. Same with Kapolei’s O-line, at least for that series. Saint Louis still going with a reserve QB. Tua probably long done for the day. Almost time to head to the next destination.
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EPILOGUE (Friday, July 31, 8:45 a.m)
So, that explains it. No. 12 for Kapolei is Tua’s younger brother, Taulia. Man, he’s good. Efficient. It’s going to be some battle between him and Ezra Savea for the starting job. Iron sharpens iron. This might be the best QB battle at Kapolei since… ever?