Kapolei wasn’t at full strength in its regular-season finale but maintained its momentum heading into the OIA playoffs.
Despite playing without their starting quarterback, leading rusher and a leader on defense, the Hurricanes overcame the absences to grind out a 12-0 win over Aiea on a soggy Saturday night.
Sophomore Leonard Lee stepped in for Alton Julius at quarterback and threw for 246 yards and a touchdown in wet conditions that hampered both offenses after an afternoon storm soaked the field.
Julius’ mobility was slowed by a hip pointer, but he made an appearance at tight end and caught two passes for a one-yard loss.
Kapolei head coach Darren Hernandez said he hopes to have Julius available for the Hurricanes’ playoff opener against Castle, “but he has a deep hip pointer and that’s something we’re trying to address and trying to take a long look at.”
In his first start, Lee connected with Naliko Kea on six completions for 158 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown.
Trensten Spragling entered the week with a team-high 216 rushing yards on 56 carries, but also sat out Saturday’s game. The Kapolei staff moved receiver/defensive back Tristan Centeio to tailback and he picked up 38 yards on nine attempts.
“I thought he played pretty well and he’s just an all-around player who can play a lot of different positions for us,” Hernandez said.
The Kapolei defense posted its second straight shutout with linebacker Jon-Rosa Sinclair sidelined. Keoni Taylor snagged two of Kapolei’s three interceptions and linebacker Kone Maluina was in on two sacks and forced a fumble. Lorenzen Panapa recovered a fumble and Sam Naulu also came down with an interception.
The Hurricanes enter the playoffs with three wins in their last four games and haven’t given up a score since Campbell’s last-minute touchdown pass in its dramatic win on Sept. 12.
The takeaways helped the Hurricanes weather three turnovers of their own, including two by Aiea sophomore Noah Taiese.
Aiea finished sixth in the OIA Blue and will travel to Waianae for the first-round of the playoffs.
Despite being shutout in their final two regular season games, Aiea coach Wendell Say sees progress heading into the postseason.
“I think we’re jelling at the right time,” Say said. “Our younger players are playing a lot better.
“Having been in the west division we know how tough (the Seariders) are they’re always a solid group.”