Three games into the Darren Johnson era at Campbell — including a 2-0 start to OIA regular-season play — the Sabers are finding their new identity.
A week after junior quarterback Krenston Kaipo passed for 386 yards in a win over Farrington, the seventh-ranked Sabers found more running room in a 48-13 win over a pesky Aiea squad on Saturday night at Campbell. The Sabers rushed 26 times for 163 yards while Kaipo was 9-for-16 with 191 passing yards. That balance made Campbell much less predictable to defend, and it hasn’t compromised the explosiveness of Poki‘i Adkins-Kupukaa.
The sophomore finished with six receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns catches. He also ran a jet sweep for 13 yards, returned an interception 87 yards to paydirt and returned a kickoff 26 yards. That’s a healthy 283 all-purpose yards on just nine touches. He was targeted a modest eight times, which makes his reception rate 75 percent and his target average close to 20 yards per attempt by Kaipo. That helped open other doors for Campbell’s offense.
Whether it was Viliami Vaimoui (33 rushing yards, TD) or Sky Lactaoen (69, TD) or Jacob Covington (44) or Pasi Faumui (36) or even seldom-used Joshua Salvido (25-yard TD), Campbell’s offensive line attacked consistently from beginning to end.
“Krenston is seeing a lot better, and the O-line is playing better,” said Johnson, looking quite comfy in a black 76 South T-shirt.
The defensive side made some sharp improvements during the half. Aiea’s Ty Matsunami completed 12 of his 15 pass attempts before the break, but threw nine incompletions to start the second half, including two of his three picks. Matsunami kept several drives alive by scrambling for first downs, but Campbell took away his favorite spots when the ball entered the red zone.
Clearly, the Sabers have work to do with penalties, which were mostly of the pre-snap variety. Twenty whistles in all for 160 yards, which negated some of their 376 yards of total offense.
“The kids didn’t let the penalties take away from how good they are. We’ll get it fixed and learn why they happened. Some of the targeting calls, I thought our guys were coming in clean, but the offsides, we have to clean that up,” Johnson said.