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.