15th IN A SERIES
Next: Mililani Trojans
>> 2015 record and finish: 6-4 (4-3 OIA Blue); defeated Castle 41-0 in the first round of the OIA D-I playoffs; lost 56-10 to Kahuku in the OIA quarterfinals
>> Number of returning starters: 12 (6 on offense, 6 on defense)
>> Number of returning seniors: 21
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 10
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 22
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: Sean Auwae (first-team OL), Ty-Noah Williams (second-team REC), Johnny Morrison (second-team DT), Jay Amina (third-team S)
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: None
>> OIA Blue All-Stars lost to graduation: Ty-Noah Williams (first-team WR), Sean Auwae (first-team OL), Johnny Morrison (first-team DL), Jay Amina (first-team S), , Timmy Choi (second-team LB)
>> OIA Blue All-Stars returning: Omar Mareko (first-team LB)
>> Among 2016 key offensive returnees: Taulia Tagovailoa (QB, So.), Jaymin Sarono (WR, Sr.), LJ Esperas (RB, Sr.), Donte Keliiholokai (OL, Sr.), Akoni Kapihe (OL, Sr.)
>> Among 2016 key defensive returnees: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa (DL), Omar Mareko (LB), Rocky Savea (LB, Jr.), Leonard Lee (LB, Sr.), Tyler Vasega (LB, Sr.)
>> Hurricanes with Division I FBS college offers: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa (DL, Sr.), Ezra Savea (WR/S, Sr.) Rocky Savea (LB, Jr.), Taulia Tagovailoa (QB, So.)
>> All-time state championships: None
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1998) championships: None
>> All-time OIA championships: None
>> 2016 conference: OIA Red (D-I)
Head coach DARREN HERNANDEZ on the Hurricanes’ outlook for 2016:
“We started this transition to a passing team a few years ago. Up until then, we still ran the ball primarily. It was with Jason Cauley as our OC that we started to pass a little more. Then with Darren Johnson as the OC, we reverted back to the I formation in 2014. Last year, we committed to throwing the football and I really like the results we had. This is nothing new for me. Back in the 1990s, as head coach at Campbell, we threw the ball all over the place. In 1995 and 1996, Kaleopa Kaleopa led the OIA in passing. We were a four-wide passing team and we had a very good team in 1997, when we won the Red Conference with Rodney Tavui as the quarterback. So, as a head coach, I do have experience in a throwing offense. At Kapolei, we have been mostly an option team, that was our identity until last season.
“In 2015, with the shotgun offense and with Taulia Tagovailoa at quarterback and Galu Tagovailoa, his father, as the OC, we made that passing commitment. Taulia put up incredible numbers. He had 534 passing yards against Castle with six TDs, the second most passing yards ever in a high school game in Hawaii. He was a freshman when he did it. That’s amazing stuff.
“We’re hoping to build on that and take this to the next level, with a quarterback like Taulia and our new offensive coordinator, you might have heard of him (former NFL and University of Hawaii head coach June Jones). Most of our players were born after the year 2000, so some came up to me after he was hired and said, ‘June Jones used to be the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and San Diego Chargers.’ I told them, ‘Yeah that was before you were born.’ They were stoked.
“We’re used to playing that gauntlet at the start of the season, that tough schedule of three in a row — at Kahuku, the next week Farrington and the next week against Mililani. We did that two or three years in a row, and most were on the road. It was an eye-opener. We were 0-3 for like three years in a row because that’s how tough our schedule was. It’s a short season and it’s tough to climb out of that hole. Last year, we beat Farrington, and that was the only OIA team Kapolei had not beaten up to that point. Our schedule is not exactly a patty cake schedule this year either. We play campbell first week, and the second week is Waianae. Campbell will be better. Last year was kind of a fluke with injuries. Waianae is just getting tougher and tougher.
“One of the things we want to do is make it to states. We made states in Division II in our first year (2002), but after that, we moved up and haven’t made it to D-I states. So, obviously finishing in that top three, that’s a goal. Every (team) wants to win the championship and we want to win it.
“For me, those goals are a byproduct of what we do on the field. We as coaches take a lot of pride in helping our kids get to college and get to the next level. For me, that’s my championship, watching them go to college or go to the next level. Success can be a byproduct. of that. A long time ago, I looked at coaching and thought, ‘What if we go to the championship and win or lose?’ It would still be hollow if all you are going to gauge everything on is wins and losses. The journey is what makes it worthwhile. I believe football is a process of education and a vehicle to the next level. There are so many colleges out there.
“I always tell the guys that you only get 48 games in college. That’s 12 per year. It doesn’t matter what level you’re on. I always challenge them to go anywhere they want to go. My own children went to college in the East, New York. I don’t put geographical limits on going to college. If you have an opportunity in Maine, you gotta go. Hawaii will always be here.
“That’s why I like to bring back former players who have had success to talk to the players so they can see the models of players who have made it.
“Every year as a coach and loving it so much, there is always that brand-new team and hope springs eternal. And you always think this is the buy-in group, the special group that will take it to the limits. We have the talent this year to do it. It’s all on all of us, the players, the athletes, the coaches. If we buy in and everyone understands their role on the team, then magical things can happen.”
2016 Kapolei football schedule
Check here for the latest schedule updates: http://bit.ly/2958rWe
>> Aug. 5: at Campbell
>> Aug. 13: Waianae
>> Aug. 20: at Leilehua
>> Aug. 26: at Castle
>> Sept. 3: at Mililani
>> Sept. 9/10: Bye
>> Sept. 16: Kailua
>> Sept. 23: Farrington
>> Sept. 30: Nanakuli
2016 Kapolei varsity football staff
>> Head coach: Darren Hernandez (70-63, 15th season)
>> Offensive coordinator: June Jones
>> Defensive coordinator: Brad Hewahewa
>> Special teams coordinator: Dennis McKnight
>> Offensive line: Al Kaaihue
>> Offensive line: Denver Keliiholokai
>> Quarterbacks: Kevin Wilson
>> Running backs: Kimo Alo
>> Running backs: Jay Amina Jr.
>> Slotbacks: Ricky Lumford
>> Slotbacks: Andrew Manley
>> Wide receivers: Tino Palacio
>> Wide receivers: Mason Koa
>> Defensive ends: Patrick Ena
>> Defensive tackles: Mose Tuia
>> Inside linebackers: Alika Manners
>> Outside linebackers: Jon Thomas
>> Cornerbacks: Chris Broome
>> Safeties: Elliot Helenihi
>> Strength and conditioning: Mike Ioane