Posted: September 29, 2012 - 7:35am
Kapolei outlasts Campbell in thrilling 35-34 win
KAPOLEI - Kapolei rebounded in a big way on Senior Night, forcing five turnovers in a huge upset victory over Campbell, 35-34.
"It was an unbelievable win for us. So proud of the boys," said Hurricanes coach Darren Hernandez "This is why I coach. So much love for these boys."
Coming off of two straight blowout losses to Leilehua and Mililani, the Hurricanes needed the win to have any hope of seeing the post-season.
"The last two weeks were kind of a wakeup call," said Hernandez. "We lost 92 to zero. We couldn't score a point and our defense was getting run over. It looked like it was done for us but we turned it around big time tonight."
The first score came after a Campbell fumble resulting in a Kapolei recovery by junior linebacker Micah Paris on the opening kick-off. Three plays later, Hurricanes quarterback Aizon Kahana connected with sophomore Alton Julius for 20-yards to put Kapolei up 6-0 in the opening minutes of the first period. Kahana finished the night with 10 of 21 for 191 yards passing and four touchdowns.
"I had to make something to happen," said Paris. "We gave Kapolei what they wanted, which was a win."
Campbell responded at the 10:09 mark of the first, as senior quarterback Justin Tago-Su'e would call his own number and ran his way through the Hurricane defense for a 5-yard score. The extra point by Tyler Subia was good, giving the Sabers the go-ahead score.
"Getting kind of scared after a while," said Julius. "But I knew we could pull it off."
The Sabers would recover an onside kick following their first touchdown; however their drive was cut short on an interception by senior defensive back Mason Alfaro. The Kapolei defense would force three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in the win against the Sabers.
Rebounding after the interception, Tago-Su'e threw a 61-yard touchdown on the Sabers following drive, connecting with senior receiver Jayce Bantolina to put Campbell up 13-6 with 1:52 to go in the second quarter.
Hurricanes responded to that long receiving touchdown with a 55-yard touchdown to Julius once again, who burned the Campbell defender for his second score of the night. Julius finished the night with four catches for 100 yards and three touchdowns.
"It's great," said Julius. "It's exciting, everybody was happy."
Later in the second quarter, Kapolei's Mitchell Moses picked off another Su'e pass, forcing the third turnover for Campbell. The senior was also on the receiving end of a 29 yard touchdown late in the third quarter of play.
"(About his receivers) They're good. They can read, they can block," said Kahana. "They can do anything you want them to do."
Score was tied 13-13 going into the half.
Kapolei started off the second half by scoring 21 unanswered points against the Sabers. A bad snap to Saber quarterback Tago-Su'e led to an intentional grounding call after being surrounded by Hurricane defenders. The penalty, caused in the Campbell end-zone, resulted in a safety in favor of Kapolei, putting the Hurricanes up 15-13 at the 9:02 mark of the third quarter.
Later in the quarter, defense would come through again for the Hurricanes, this time on a fumble recovery Israel Latu-Reyes.
"Our coach told us to step it up and come out harder," said Latu-Reyes." It's one of those great feelings."
The recovery by the senior captain set up a 10-yard rushing score for senior Jacob Kukahiko, who would end the night with 91 yards from 17 carries and one touchdown.
"Our running game was good," said Kahana. "Jacob's a hard runner. No one can stop him."
Aizon Kahana found Julius again for his third score of the night on a 5-yard pitch and catch to put the Hurricanes up 28-13 with 3:31 to go in the third.
"(About Julius) a tough kid," said Kahana. "I never really thought of him like this. He just stepped up his game."
Tago-Su'e would start off the final quarter on fire, as the Sabers would mount a furious comeback.
Calling his own number at the 11:39 mark of the fourth, the senior quarterback navigated and weaved his way 64-yards into the end zone for a score. The Sabers would go for two and convert as Bronson Ader was there to make the reception, making the score 35-21.
"We looked like we had the game in control. I think we let up," said Hernandez. "That kind of let the momentum back on their side."
Sabers marched their way down the field again, this time at the 7:37 mark of the fourth, as five yard touchdown pass to Amosa Amosa Jr trimmed the lead down 35-28.
"In the fourth quarter, they (Campbell) had all the momentum," said Hernandez. "They were charging ahead. I didn't know if we could stop them. Made just enough plays in the second half to stop them."
And no play was bigger than the one following an Isaac Hurd pass to Bronson Ader to bring the Sabers to 35-34 after the touchdown.
As the entire stadium went quiet for the following extra point, the snap was good, the hold was right, and the kick was up, but Paris, who made the first fumble recovery in the opening series, would explode right through the middle of the Campbell line and block potential game-tying extra point.
"We saw in their protection that there was an inside gap that we could exploit," said Hernandez. "It worked perfectly. It was a gamble and we came out smelling like a rose on that one."
The stadium erupted with pandemonium as Paris blocked the extra point, and the momentum shifted after that play as Kapolei was able to hold off the Sabers for two more drives before the final whistle was blown.
"It means a lot," started Kahana. "We're not the same team. Everyone can believe in us now."
Kapolei will play Aiea next week in their final game of the season. A win against the Na Ali'i could be the deciding factor in whether the Hurricanes will qualify for the OIA playoffs.
"We're 2-3 in the West and we're right back in it," said Hernandez. "We'll come back strong next week and we can finish. Hopefully we can still make the playoffs and make some noise."
September 29, 2012
Alton Julius, 20 yard touchdown pass from Aizon Kahana.
Justin Tago Su'e, 64 yard touchdown run.
Bronson Ader, 5 yard touchdown pass from Isaac Hurd.
> more video highlights
Kapolei players celebrate a win over Campbell. Sherwin Acidera | SL
Campbell running back Tristan Pebria drags a Kapolei defender for extra yardage. Sherwin Acidera | SL