20TH IN A SERIES
In sports, you win some and you lose some, and that’s how 2018 has started for Kapolei.
After a convincing 53-7 victory over Castle, the Hurricanes lost a physical, defensive, 21-7 defensive battle against Kamehameha last Saturday.
The win some, lose some scenario plays out at a different level, too. The past two seasons, Kapolei has lost more than a handful of kids to other schools.
“We have to get better as a program retaining our talented players,” coach Darren Hernandez said. “We lose some kids in the eighth grade, when they go to other schools. Last year, we lost eight or nine transfers to other schools.”
The migration has to be somewhat upsetting.
“But I love the kids we have here,” the coach said. “They have a lot of grit and a lot of heart. I’m not sad about (those leaving). I’m happy for the kids we’ve got because they want to be Hurricanes and that’s important to me.”
Despite those who bolted, Kapolei is loaded with talent. Hernandez gave his impressions of three of his leaders:
>> Julius Buelow, offensive tackle: “He anchors the offensive line. Big, strong, very athletic. Just a guy that we rely on and lean on for leadership.”
>> Peni Naulu, defensive end, linebacker, safety: “He can do so many things and we’re excited about what he brings to the team.”
>> Teriq Lacaden, safety: “A three-year varsity performer, very athletic. Such a great leader and playmaker.”
Hernandez also sees big things ahead from a ton of other starters, including quarterbacks Christian Rapis (who was hurt against Kamehameha) and Noa Bailey, receivers De’zhaun Stribling, Sheldon McLeod and Sinai-Taheed Robello, running backs Ezekiel Waiolama and Zion-Jabez Robello, linebackers Bubba White and Kevin Burkel, and defensive back Liam McMoore.
“We’re excited about the (OIA-ILH Open Division alliance) competition,” Hernandez said. “We get 10 football games and we’re playing in the top division. I would not want it any other way. You want to play the best teams to see how you stack up against the best. If we were to go to a lower division, that would be horrible.
“And we want to be competitive in the top division. Three OIA teams make it to states. It will be a street fight every week. It’s going to be tough. We’ve got to be physically tough and stay healthy.”
Kapolei will try to go over .500 at home against Punahou on Friday.
Next in series: Kailua Surfriders.