WAIANAE — In a defensive slugfest, Kaniala Kalaola's touchdown in the second quarter made the difference as No. 3 Kapolei held off No. 6 Waianae, 7-0 in an Oahu Interscholastic Association crossover game at Raymond Torii Field on Saturday.
Kapolei (2-0 overall, 1-0 league) held the Seariders (0-2 overall, 0-1 league) to 66 yards of total offense and 38 net rushing yards for the game.
"This is a big rivalry for us and they are a tough team. We were in a dog fight and whenever Kapolei plays Waianae, it's a tough match and street fight. Those guys are tough and rugged so we knew it wasn't going to be a cake walk," said Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez.
Kalaola threw an interception on the Hurricanes' opening series to Kaimana Swann-Merritt, but the junior signal caller settled down to let the game come to him to finish with 230 yards on 15-of-24 passing.
"He settled down and made nice throws on the move. This is his only his second start and we have to work on some things with the offense and get in sync more. He's going to get better," said Hernandez, on Kalaola.
Kalaola piloted a seven-play, 68-yard scoring drive and threw a 40-yard pass to Keanu Barboza on a third-and-11 that set up a 10-yard touchdown to Marquis Montgomery with 4:23 remaining in the second quarter for the game's only points.
"I like what I saw overall, we'd like to score more points obviously, but our quarterback did reasonably well," said Hernandez.
The Seariders were dealt a big blow when quarterback Justin Tacgere went down with a leg injury at the 2:23 mark and never returned, changing the offensive complexion for the Seariders. He finished with 28 passing yards and managed to gain a first down with a 12-yard throw to Atui Valu to move the chains.
Rico Rosario, who did not play in the opener against Saint Louis, played quarterback in the second half. Rosario was bottled up for the night with 13 carries for 10 yards.
Despite the offensive struggles, the defense made some noise as the Seariders notched six sacks for the game — Kalena Sione had three for the game. Waianae held the Hurricanes to minus-30 net rushing yards. Selu Cook gave Waianae life as he recovered a fumble on an errant pitch with 8:56 left in the fourth quarter.
On Waianae's deepest offensive drive of the game, the Seariders gained momentum as Zefften Avilla-Thompson had a big gain to the Hurricanes' 23. However, four plays later it was Kapolei's turn to shine on defense, making a huge stop on fourth-and-2 as Avilla-Thompson was stopped short of the first down at the Kapolei 14 with 5:50 remaining.
Waianae's defense again pinned the Hurricanes deep on their own 2-yard line and took over with 3:10 left on the clock at the Kapolei 45. Kanai Mauga and Francis Mailo had nowhere to run and Rosario's pass was incomplete. Treven Maae came in to sack Rosario for a 3-yard loss and the Hurricanes were able to run out the clock.
"We were aware that Rico (Rosario) was going to play. Our defense, I can't say enough about those guys and they played tough tonight," said Hernandez.
Kapolei hosts Castle (1-1 overall, 1-0 league) on Aug. 19 while Waianae has to regroup quickly as top-ranked Kahuku (1-0) comes to town on Aug. 18.
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