No. 1 Kahuku shakes off slow start to give No. 6 Kapolei its first loss of the year


Fri, Sep 23, 2022 @ Kapolei [ 7:30 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
Kahuku (12-2-0) 0 14 14 735
Kapolei (6-5-0) 0 0 0 00



Whatever it was, top-ranked Kahuku did not look the part to start in its OIA Open Division contest against Kapolei.

The Red Raiders' offense went 3-and-out on their first two possessions, fumbled the ball on their third drive and had just 23 yards of total offense in the first quarter.

But unlike its loss to national powerhouse St. John Bosco six days ago, Kahuku quickly turned it around to get back in the win column.

The Red Raiders shook off a slow start and scored in all three facets of the game for a 35-0 victory over the sixth-ranked Hurricanes Friday night at the Alvin Nagasako Sports Complex.

Kahuku improved to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in league play with the win as it handed Kapolei (5-1, 2-1) its first loss of the season. It was also the Red Raiders' 10th straight win over the Hurricanes.

"We came out flat to be honest," said Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho. "We came out flat, but they picked it up and that's what we needed. We needed them to pick it up real quick."

The Red Raiders converge on Kapolei quarterback Liatama Amisone in the first half. Michael Lasquero | SL    Purchase image

Containing Kapolei sophomore quarterback Liatama Amisone was the key for the Red Raiders, Carvalho said. The Hurricanes' signal-caller entered the game with 16 touchdown passes while rushing for 459 yards and eight TDs.

Kahuku's defense did its thing against Amisone, sacking him five times and holding him to negative yard rushing on 12 carries. He also completed just 10 of his 21 passes for 89 yards.

"That was the emphasis all week. That quarterback leads the league in rushing and is a deadly weapon," said Carvalho. "Once we shut him down, their whole offense was shut down."

A 3-and-out were the Hurricanes went backwards led to Kahuku's first points of the game. With the ball near midfield, Waika Crawford hit Kaimana Carvalho for a 7-yard and 16-yard completion before taking the ball up the middle for a 33-yard TD run at the 6:50 mark of the second quarter.

Crawford threw an interception on the Red Raiders' next possession, but the Kahuku defense got one right back when Brock Fonoimoana returned an interception 28 yards for a defensive TD. This gave the Red Raiders a 14-0 lead at the break.

Kahuku extended its lead as soon as the third quarter started when Aiden Manutai returned the second-half kickoff 81 yards down the right sideline. Zaden Mariteragi tacked on the PAT to make it a 21-0 game.

The Red Raiders rotated in their reserves midway through the third quarter and gave them valuable playing time and experience. Backup QB Sitani Suguturaga added a passing TD late in the third quarter when linebacker Liona Lefau flexed his skills on offense when he caught a one-handed score over two defenders.

Running back Lamana Tapusoa was responsible for the last touchdown of the night. After he gained 67 yards on a run and Clyde Taulapapa ran for 17 yards, Tapusoa ran it in from four yards out. Fonoimoana kicked the fifth PAT of the game to put the running clock into effect at the 7:11 mark of the fourth quarter.

The backups also came up with a defensive stop at the goal line to preserve the shutout. Kapolei backup QB Tuli Tagovailoa-Amosa drove the Hurricanes all the way down the field and was stopped at the 1-yard line after a scramble on the following possession. The Red Raiders then forced an incomplete pass on the last play of regulation to keep Kapolei off the board.

"That's what we have to do, we have to build depth," said Carvalho. "It's a long season and that's what we wanted to do, have them fight at the end and they rose to the occasion."

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].

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