It’s been a rough opening stretch for Leilehua with three losses to opponents ranked in the Star-Advertiser’s top 10.
But even in the wake of a 44-13 loss to No. 9 Kapolei on Saturday, Nolan Tokuda could smile about the performance of defensive end Braxton Victor.
The junior sparked the Leilehua defense early in the game with sacks of Kapolei quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa on both of the Hurricanes’ first two possessions. Victor caught Tagovailoa again in the third period and finished the game with four tackles behind the line of scrimmage for 30 yards in losses.
“Braxton’s just a good kid. He always has a motor. It doesn’t matter if we play the No. 1, No. 3, No. 7 team in the state, he’s going to bring it on every play,” Tokuda said. “He’s one of those guys who’s not going say much, but his action’s going to speak.”
With Victor exploding off the edge to push the Hurricanes backward and Charles Moku Watson making an interception in the end zone, the Mules held off Kapolei early in Saturday’s game. But two first-quarter interceptions in Leilehua territory set up short scoring drives for the Hurricanes, who maintained a comfortable cushion the rest of the way.
Along with the turnovers, Tokuda lamented several penalties that cost the Mules field position.
“That’s the kind of stuff that’s undisciplined and we have to fix,” Tokuda said.
Mules quarterback Kona Andres struggled early and was replaced by Kaleo Aloha Piceno for the second quarter. Andres returned in the third quarter and threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Jay Jay Antolin early in the third quarter. But two more interceptions stunted any comeback hopes although the Mules closed the scoring with a short scoring pass from Andres to Piceno.
After falling to No. 3 Punahou (70-9), No. 1 Kahuku (49-15) and No. 9 Kapolei, all at Hugh Yoshida Stadium, Leilehua (0-3, 0-2) plays its next three games away from home, starting Saturday at Nanakuli (0-2, 0-1). The Golden Hawks are coming off a bye following a loss to Aiea on Aug. 22.