Kahuku clips Kapolei, 33-15
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
KAHUKU — In a span of 26 seconds just before halftime last night, Kahuku scored two touchdowns against upstart Kapolei to take the lead and control of the O'ahu Interscholastic Association quarterfinal before winning, 33-15.
The Red Raiders, ranked No. 2 in The Advertiser's statewide Top 10 poll of coaches and media, improved to 7-2 overall and will play No. 9 Leilehua (7-2) in Friday's Red Conference semifinals at Aloha Stadium. Kapolei's season ends at 4-6.
The Hurricanes, who had an up-and-down year but were coming off two big victories over Wai'anae and Kailua, appeared headed for another impressive showing last night. Kapolei marched 74 yards on its opening drive and scored when Josh Hose pounced on a fumble in the end zone following quarterback Mason Koa's 30-yard run.
The extra-point attempt failed, and Kahuku answered with a 3-yard TD run by Lehi Aumua set up by Justyn Kaka's 95-yard kickoff return. Kaika Sasaoka's extra point made it 7-6.
But the Hurricanes' option offense continued to cause problems for the Red Raiders, and Kapolei took a 9-7 lead on Curtis Kiyabu's 27-yard field goal with 5:52 remaining in the second quarter.
Koa gained 144 yards on 13 carries by halftime, and fullback Kamuela Foki added 36 yards on five carries.
"Their offense is tough," Kahuku coach Reggie Torres said. "We had last year's JV quarterback (Kaka) run the option in practice to help us prepare, and he's a heck of an athlete. But it still was nowhere close to the way Mason ran it. Plus he did it on a bad ankle, which was amazing."
The Red Raiders took the lead back at 13-9 with 1:31 left in the half after Richard Torres' 52-yard scamper on a quarterback keeper set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Aumua. On the Hurricanes' next play from scrimmage, Kahuku defensive back Jede Malufau intercepted a Koa pass and returned it 40 yards to the end zone to make it 19-9.
"I saw the ball hit (Sasaoka) and it bounced off his hands," said Malufau, who bobbled the ball a couple of times before securing it. "I didn't realize I had the ball (at first)."
So just 91 seconds away from a surprising 9-7 halftime lead, Kapolei instead entered the break trailing by 10.
"That was tough," Hurricanes coach Darren Hernandez said. "To beat a team like Kahuku on their home field, you have to play a perfect game, and we didn't. They scored off a turnover, and that hurt."
Aumua's third TD run, from seven yards out, helped stretch the lead to 26-9 with 7:13 remaining in the game. Kapolei closed to 26-15 four minutes later on Koa's 12-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Santiago, but the Red Raiders answered on their next play from scrimmage with Junior Mata'afa's 49-yard TD run.
KAPOLEI (4-6) 6 3 0 6—15
KAHUKU (7-2) 7 12 0 14—33
Kap — Josh Hose recovered fumble in end zone (kick failed)
Kah — Lehi Aumua 3 run (Kaika Sasaoka kick)
Kap — FG Curtis Kiyabu 27
Kah — Aumua 4 run (run failed)
Kah — Jede Malufau 40 interception return (run failed)
Kah — Aumua 7 run (Sasaoka kick)
Kap — Aaron Santiago 12 pass from Mason Koa (pass failed)
Kah — Junior Mata'afa 49 run (Sasaoka kick)
RUSHING — Kap: Kamuela Foki 7-65, Koa 22-121, Cyril Ontai 5-18, Keli'i Aki 1-12, Santiago 1-(minus-7), Hose 2-(minus-6). Kah: Aumua 16-91, Richard Torres 11-113, Neal Lokotui 4-63, Mata'afa 3-76, Blane Beatty 1-(minus-3), Ian Fujinaga 2-12.
PASSING — Kap: Koa 10-21-1—129. Kah: Torres 0-5-0—0.
RECEIVING — Kap: Caleb Spencer 5-74, Santiago 2-20, Jason Recamara 1-9, Nate Dixon 1-16, Foki 1-10.
JV score: Kahuku 12, Mililani 7
Reach Wes Nakama at firstname.lastname@example.org.