Q&A: Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho on Campbell

Kahuku head coach Sterling Carvalho has his Red Raiders back to being a running team. Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser

In a perfect world, the offense has balance.

In Sterling Carvalho’s reality, Kahuku does what it takes to win games. This year, Kahuku has run the ball 76 percent of the time, more so since losing at Mililani to begin the Open Division schedule.

Carvalho, in his second season as head coach, chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Wednesday about the return to heavy-run offense, and a home playoff battle with Campbell and its head coach, Darren Johnson — the former Kahuku player, assistant coach and head basketball coach.

HPW: The trend back to the norm, to traditional, running football is happening at some programs. Farrington. Kahuku for sure.

Carvalho: It’s been Kahuku football. These players that we have, they’ve been doing it since Pop Warner, Big Boyz, JPS. They’re very physical kids out on this side. They embrace it. It’s nothing new.

HPW: And yet, I know you have always wanted to make balanced offense the regular standard.

Carvalho: We would love balance, you know, but at the same time we’ve got to go with what’s been working for us.

HPW: True, and the passing game has a lot of potential in the future with Tiger Adolpho. He’s got savvy and poise that isn’t common for a sophomore. He has an offer, correct?

Carvalho: He’s had an offer from (Nick) Rolovich (of Hawaii) since the end of eighth grade.

HPW: How is the team’s health right now?

Carvalho: It’s as healthy as a we can be at the end of a physical season in Open. A lot of bumps and bruises. Just got to maintain health.

HPW: Let’s go back to Aug. 30, when Kahuku beat Campbell 35-7. It would make sense to keep running the ball heavy. It was 53 carries and seven passes that night.

Carvalho: We’re expecting a different Campbell team. Poki‘i (Adkins-Kupukaa) is a great player, a two-way player of the year before. Now, it’s his senior year. His presence alone is going to ignite the emotions of Campbell. He’s a captain, a leader on the team who will rally the troops. They were preseason No. 2 for a reason. They have athletes.
I know Coach DJ has something up his sleeve. He’ll find a way.

HPW: Whenever Kahuku has been great with rushing offense, the tight ends have been an extension of the core blockers tackle to tackle. Who are your primary TEs?

Carvalho: Jesse Purcell, he’s like our (fullback) Jack Tito. Nobody really knows the hard work they do in the trenches. Jesse has been our No. 1 tight end. He doesn’t catch balls. That’s why he’s unrecognized. He controls the edge, washes down and creates that off-tackle hole that we love to run off of. We have our two-way player in Lokana Enos, scored a touchdown. In Jesse’s case, he’s our blocking tight end and Lokana is our passing-catching tight end.

HPW: Is there a position group or players who have been underrated?

Carvalho: The first game (against Campbell), we were very successful because, bottom line, our defense was on point, went through their quests, did their assignments. Offensively, everyone did their blocks, and hats off to Zealand (Matagi). He ran wild. He made people’s career highlights. Everyone did their job. If we do the job, we are 1/11, being men on the field, trusting each other, back to the fundamentals.

HPW: How is weather this week at Kahuku?

Carvalho: We’re expecting thunderstorms now for next couple days.

HPW: That means the field could be muddy by Saturday?

Carvalho: If it’s muddy, that could be an x-factor.


  1. HailFromDaNorth October 17, 2019 1:13 pm

    These boys gotta go and get some good training in. Especially at the skills positions. Go out and train with coach Kelii Tilton, Andrew manly. They really have to establish the passing game if not they will never be at the top tier level again. A lot of these players have evolved and these up and coming kids have been playing from when they were 6 years old. Kahuku really has to get on it. They have the talent and we’ll discipline kids. Now they gotta go out and get the training in!

  2. 9 | 6 | 7 | 6 | 2 October 17, 2019 1:38 pm

    if Kahuku’s admin wants a “Yes Man” “Mr Do Whatever I’m Told” “Take It Up The Behind” … then Coach Carvalho is the one for them … all i know is, he isn’t the people’s choice … more and more kids from the north shore going end up going elsewhere … to the ILH & mainland … i hope the community is ready to be mediocre for the next few years

  3. Good Story October 17, 2019 7:18 pm

    How you know he not the people’s choice? Speak for yourself. Good Luck to the coaches and especially the Boys!!!

  4. Hau’ulaBoy October 17, 2019 8:02 pm

    Coach has to be less predictable on offense. When you run 100% out of one personnel and pass 80% out of another personnel. Then the other teams DC has an easy day.

  5. Hau’ulaBoy October 17, 2019 8:06 pm

    Let’s go Big Red!!! Pride of the North Shore!!! RR4L

  6. Robocop October 17, 2019 9:22 pm

    “They were preseason #2 for a reason” yeah that reason is who ever had Campbell preseason #2 started watching football the Monday before

  7. Aku Eyeball October 18, 2019 9:55 am

    Coach Sterling is not the guy. He has no idea how to use his player’s especially wen Dey behind the sticks. He has speed, and players that can catch. Tiger is not the QB for dis team not right now. Ask any of the kids who Dey want , it’s Jason Matiangi. The offense flows wen he is in. He is poised, doesn’t make mistakes , plays smart and has balls ! Dis article is a joke. Coaches like Cal Lee & York are playing chess & our coach is playing checkers. Come on Sterling reconize your play makers and give dem the dam ball. Ps. 44 is not the guy u had off to wen it’s 3 and 7, 3 and 15, to slow to get the 1st down

  8. 9 | 6 | 7 | 6 | 2 October 19, 2019 2:57 pm

    Good Story – aye ufa. your name speaks for itself. bcuz you one good story.

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