Saturday, September 24, 20022
By: Nick O’Connor
Despite Kahuku’s long weekend on the mainland and a slow first quarter, they were still able to blank Kapolei, 35-0, to remain undefeated in league play.
The head coach of the Red Raiders, Sterling Carvalho, did not want to attribute the slow start to jet lag from the mainland trip, saying, “We came out flat. We had a lot of people who weren’t dialed in to start the game.” Sterling added, “Those are little things we just gotta fix. We just need to be dialed in from day one, throughout the week up to the game.”
Both teams sputtered out of the gate as the field was covered by scattered showers for most of the first quarter. The Hurricane defense was able to halt the Red Raiders’ run game out of the gate, even forcing a turnover as senior linebacker Maika Kahele-Akeo forced and recovered a fumble late in the first quarter.
As the conditions on the field began to dry, the Kahuku passing game began to find itself. The Red Raiders’ offense opened the second quarter with screen plays on three straight drives to help the offense get in sync.
“Coach told us to get the ball into our playmakers’ hands and help get us into a rhythm,” said senior QB Waika Crawford, who finished 16-27 with 174 through the air. Kaimana Carvalho was the main catalyst in the passing game racking, up 126 yards on 10 receptions.
Crawford was also able to scamper into the endzone on a 33-yard run in the second quarter for the first score of the game.
The Hurricane offense tried to answer back in the second quarter by utilizing their dual quarterback threat of sophomore Tama Amisome and junior Tuli Tagovailoa-Amoso. However, the duo never appeared to be on the same track. Both the fourth and fifth drives in the second quarter for Kapolei’s offense featured fumbles in the backfield.
The second score of the game was turned in by Kahuku’s defense, as Brock Fonoimoana returned a 28-yard pick-six from Kapolei’s Tagovailoa-Amosa. The Red Raider defense found themselves to be frequent visitors of the Hurricanes backfield as they tallied five sacks and held Kapolei’s offense to only 193 total yards.
The Red Raiders’ special teams unit was able to set the tone for the rest of the game from kickoff after halftime.
Aiden Manutai was able to find a lane on the kickoff to reach the endzone on an 81-yard return and a blocked punt on Kapolei’s first possession of the second half by Kahuku’s Leonard Ah You was recovered by the Red Raiders.
The third quarter was also highlighted by an incredible play from Texas Longhorn Commit Liona Lefau. Lefau was able to make an incredible one-handed grab over three Hurricane defenders on a 15-yard strike from junior Sitani Suguturaga. This play extended the Red Raider’s lead to 28-0 with 1:03 left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter exhibited Kahuku’s “elephant package,” with a direct snap to the running back. This is a formation that the Hurricane defense looked to have under control in the first half.
Leading the late charge was senior running back Lamana Tapusoa. Tapusoa took off for a 67-yard run late in the fourth quarter. He would later score for a 5-yard touchdown run after receiving a direct snap out of the backfield, this score extended the lead to 35-0 with 7:11 left on the clock.
The Hurricanes, who have been able to score at least four times in each of their previous four games, did play until the final whistle, as they found themselves inside the red zone in the final seconds of the game.
Tagovailoa-Amosa, who finished 6-17 through the air and 70 yards rushing, was just inches away from crossing the goal line with 9 seconds left. However, the swarming Red Raider defense was able to hold strong to maintain the shutout.
The Red Raiders will take on Saint Frances (Baltimore, MD) at home next week. The Hurricanes look to bounce back against Campbell at home on October 1st.
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