Hernandez returns to Kahuku’s house of horrors
Kahuku's football field is as much a house of horrors for opposing coaches as it was when this picture was taken. Star-Advertiser file photo.
Darren Hernandez can’t seem to shake Alex Kane.
Last week, the Kapolei coach passed the Kailua legend in career wins and this week he can match him with an even bigger victory.
Hernandez can become the first visiting coach to win on Kahuku’s field for the third time since Kane turned the tables with a 20-15 win over the Red Raiders in 1985. Kane, who coached Kailua for 18 years in two stints, also won on the North Shore in 1982 and 1970. He finished his career with a 117-78-5 record with seven of his wins coming against Kahuku.
Hernandez is already in good company with wins at Kahuku with Kapolei in 2007 and with Campbell in 1996. The only other coach to beat Kahuku on its home field twice in the Prep Bowl and State Championship eras (1973-present) is Mark Kane of Castle, who did it in 1983 and again in 1985.
Joe Kahahawai, another Kailua coaching legend, won at Kahuku three times, but only once after the merge. The last time he did it was 1977, before that he won there in 1960 and 1964. Al Espinda of Farrington did it twice (1971 and 1979) as well as John Velasco of Radford (1968 and 1979)
The list of coaches who turned the tables on the Red Raiders on their campus just once has plenty of familiar names: Scott Chan (1989 Kaiser), Skippa Diaz (1988 Farrington), Dwight Toyama (1988 Kaimuki), Sam Delos Reyes (1984 Nanakuli), Rodney Iwasaki (1983 Roosevelt), Hugh Yoshida (1979 Leilehua), Lowell Cambra (1985 Kaimuki) and Darrell Smith (1981 Kalaheo).
Seven coaches who reside on the OIA’s all-time victories list have won at Kahuku, the only ones to fail to do so are still active: Randall Okimoto of Farrington and Aiea’s Wendell Say. Larry Ginoza, the king of OIA coaches, tied Kahuku in 1969.
One thing those coaches who have won in the hostile environment have in common is a stifling defense. None of them allowed the Red Raiders to score more than 19 points in their big victories.
Kahuku hasn’t been held under 20 points at home since 2014, when it beat Hernandez’s Hurricanes 9-0. The Red Raiders have won 47 straight home games going into tonight’s battle with Kapolei.
Hernandez’s 2007 Kapolei team is the only one to beat Kahuku on the North Shore in the state championship era (since 1999).