Many people were wondering why Kapolei decided to run the ball from the Farrington 3 with less than a minute to go and leading 21-7 on Friday night.
Why not take a knee?
Hurricanes head coach Darren Hernandez has been hearing about it directly from some people and from screenshots from social media sent to him by players and assistants.
Dreyden-Steele Kawewehi, who had not touched the ball all game perviously, got the handoff and rambled into the end zone from three yards out to push the final score to 28-7.
Was it running it up, when taking a knee would have been more gentlemanly? Not at all, according to both head coaches – Hernandez and Farrington’s Randall Okimoto — as well as Kapolei offensive coordinator June Jones.
Right after the game, Hawaii Prep World asked Jones if he was just trying to get a player who hadn’t played much a chance at a touchdown.
“No,” Jones said two seconds before taking a cellphone call. “We were just running a play.”
On Monday, Hernandez was asked about the decision.
“The score was 21-(7) with 59 seconds left,” Hernandez texted to HPW. “I’ve seen things go wrong before. I’ve seen teams score 14 points in 13 seconds before. It was for our first conference title. I wasn’t trying to make a statement or anything. We had our reserves in. If we didn’t score after that play, we would have taken a knee. That’s not my style, so I don’t know why people are making a big deal about it. We took a knee at the end of our Campbell, Mililani and Leilehua games when we were ahead big and had a chance to score from in close.”
That final touchdown run did not concern Okimoto in the least. HPW asked him about it a few minutes after the game.
“It’s OK,” Okimoto said. “You gotta give those guys a chance to play. You got a lot of guys that don’t play. I don’t fault them for that at all.”
Kapolei (6-1, 5-1), which has already mathematically clinched the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red championship, will be trying to beat Nanakuli (0-7, 0-6) at home Friday night to capture the division outright and a bye in the first round of the OIA Division I playoffs.
The Hurricanes have also clinched a berth in the state tournament (at least D-I and possibly the new Open division).
Farrington (5-2, 5-2) has a bye this week and is awaiting OIA playoff seeding. The Govs can clinch an OIA first-round bye and a spot in the state tournament if Leilehua defeats Mililani. If the Trojans win, they will get the playoff bye and a spot in the state tournament.