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Game of the Week
Stacy Kaneshiro | ScoringLiveAugust 4, 2018, 1:54am
Fri, Aug 3, 2018 @ Kapolei [ 7:30 pm ]
KAPOLEI — In a game of the haves and have nots, the haves had their way.
Although No. 7 Kapolei was auditioning its quarterbacks, the host Hurricanes had more than enough experience in other areas to dominate short-handed Castle, 53-7, Friday night in a prep football non-league opener.
The Knights (0-1), playing with a number of players out on academic probation or injuries, coach John Hao said, cashed in on three consecutive pass-interference penalties — two were nullified touchdown returns — to account for 45 yards in the 75-yard drive that ended with third QB Samuel Judd's 30-yard TD pass to Kanekulani Kahala-Giron with three minutes, 27 seconds left in the game to pull the Knights to 33-7.
But the Hurricanes (1-0) scored again and later on Zechariah Kanahelemone's 26-yard interception return for TD with 5:30 left that ignited the running clock.
It just wasn't Castle's night.
On its ensuing series, a high snap from center was turned over at its own 2 with 1:48 left. Elijah Badoyen recovered an offensive fumble in the end zone for the final TD of the game on a play that the Hurricanes were going to take a knee. But their third QB, freshman Mason Gomez, lost control of the snap and the ball rolled into the end zone for Badoyen.
"We were trying to take a knee and he fumbled it into the end zone," Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. "I feel bad; you never want to try to run up the score. John Hao is a friend of mine; he was my offensive coordinator back in 2003. It was unfortunate, but sometimes that happens."
Moreover, the Knights' starting QB, Kanaipono Kahala-Giron did not return to the second half because of an undisclosed injury. He was the most effective of the three QBs used by Castle, completing 9 of 17 passes for 38 yards with an interception. Judd and Austyn Acosta played QB in the second half.
"Because all of our guys aren't suited up, we got small guys playing d-line, so it's a little tough," Hao said. "We have to get our o-line back."
For Kapolei, it was case of an embarrassment of riches. Despite losing Taulia Tagovailoa (to Alabama), Lonenoa Faoa (to Nevada), Cody Marques (to Waipahu) and Kaniala Kalaola (to Campbell), coach Hernandez saw a strong outing by sophomore Christian Rapis, who started and passed for 211 yards and two TDs on 14-of-22 passing in the first half. He gave way to sophomore Noa Bailey in the second half, who completed his last five passes for 52 yards and two short TDs after his first four throws were incomplete. Gomez later entered the game and was 1 of 6 for 10 passing yards. Still, Hernandez wasn't annointing Rapis the starter yet.
"This is still preseason and we're still auditioning all three guys," Hernandez said. "For us, it's ground zero trying to get one of these three quarterbacks up to speed. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. This is preseason. (We had) two scrimmages. We're still evaluating them. We're going into next week with no clear cut starter. Chrisitan is ahead of them, but it's still a wide-open race."
From here it's all uphill for the Hurricanes, who make their OIA-ILH Open debut Friday against Kamehameha at Aloha Stadium. That will be followed by Punahou, Kahuku and a non-league game at Downey (California).
Another mismatch for the Knights was in the trenches. The Knights were small and inexperienced on the defensive front against a rather experienced and talented Hurricanes offensive line, anchored by 6-foot-8, 320-pound left tackle Julius Buelow. Other returning starters are right tackle Keahi Hosaka (6-1, 270) and left guard Joe Kimmey (6-5, 320).
The Hurricanes also showed some skill at receiver and running back. Receiver De'Zhaun Stribling had five catches for a game-leading 93 yards and one TD; he could have had another but fumbled just before reaching the end zone and the ball rolled out of bounds for a touchback. The Robello twins — receiver Sinai-Taheed (5 catches for 44 yards, one TD) and RB Zion-Jabez (7 rushes for 78 yards) — were a deadly combination. Running back Ezekiel Waiolama had just five touches but got a team-leading 80 rushing yards, a big chunk coming on a 66-yarder early in the game that set up the first of two Micah Fonoti field goals in the game.
Castle, which is playing in Division I, will host Moanalua Friay night in its league opener.
Trojans sweep the Red Raiders, 25-18, 25-17, 25-14 to win third league title.
The Cougars rallied after a tight loss in set one to win first OIA championship since '09.
Saturday afternoon's game at Vidinha Stadium will largely determine the KIF championship.
The championship games will be on Friday, Oct. 26 at Aloha Stadium.
Both the Red Raiders and the Trojans switched up their offense in their semifinal wins.
The two teams will face off again Thursday at Damien's gym for the league's overall title.