Kahuku trounces Kapolei in a game dripping with emotion
STEVEN ERLER / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER
Kahuku running back Toalei Lefau finds a large opening for a gain of yards on Friday.
When the Kahuku community lost program legend Tommy Heffernan Sr. on Tuesday, the team was supposed to take the day off.
That is until grandson Duke, a senior on this year’s squad, and the rest of the family had something to say about it.
“Knowing my papa, if he was here right now and he saw all of us crying, he would tell us to shut up,” he said. “He would tell us to ‘be quiet and get your guys’ butts on the field, get to practice.’
“The day he died, we weren’t gonna practice but I made sure everybody practiced that day because we had to prepare for Kapolei.”
The preparation paid off for the No. 5 Red Raiders, who toppled the Hurricanes 33-13 behind Duke Heffernan’s two touchdowns and a defense that had three interceptions.
Heffernan finished with two rushes for five yards to go along with five receptions for 26 yards. He was also 2-for-3 on extra-point attempts.
“It’s an emotional roller-coaster for us this year. We miss Uncle Tommy. We love and respect him. Not just our team, but the whole community,” Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho said. “To get this win and for his grandson to score twice on his behalf, was a sight to see tonight.”
Kapolei struck first when Hurricanes quarterback Christian Rapis hit Elijah Badoyen perfectly in stride for a 52-yard score with 3:33 left in the first quarter.
The Red Raiders evened the score at 7 after Heffernan took a direct snap from the wildcat formation for a 3-yard rushing touchdown and kicked the ensuing extra point with 10:56 to go in the second quarter.
Kahuku took the lead for good when Kainoa Crismon caught a 30-yard pass from Robert Sauvao with 2:48 to go in the half. Joseph Taufa picked off Rapis for a 25-yard touchdown a minute later, stretching the Red Raiders’ lead to 20-10 at halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Hurricanes made it a one-possession game after Fonoti’s 25-yard field goal with 11:50 left in the fourth. Kahuku responded with a Mason Paulo 19-yard touchdown reception from Sauvao to extend its lead to 27-13. Heffernan sealed the game with his second score of the day on a 2-yard rush with 1:33 to go.
“You make as many mistakes as we did, you don’t deserve to win,” Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. “So, we made more mistakes than they did. They outplayed us. Football is players making plays. They made more plays than us.”
Kapolei no longer controls its own destiny for the fourth and final spot in the OIA playoffs. A coin flip will determine which among Waianae, Farrington and the Hurricanes gets in. Hernandez said afterward that he is unsure of the time and place for it, although he says he will be there in person.
For Kahuku, a rematch at Campbell awaits, where the Sabers were 28-27 victors on Oct. 6.
“We play a team that beat us right at the end. We’re looking forward to that rematch,” Carvalho said. “It’ll be a great game. I know coach (Darren Johnson) is a great coach. He’ll have his boys ready. We’re expecting a great battle coming up next week.”
No. 5 Kahuku 33, Kapolei 13 At Kahuku
>> Kapolei (3-7, 1-4) 7 3 0 3 — 13 >> Kahuku (6-3, 3-2) 0 20 0 13 — 33
Kapolei — Elijah Badoyan 52 pass from Christian Rapis (Micah Fonoti kick) Kahuku — Duke Heffernan 3 run (Heffernan kick) Kapolei — FG Fonoti 33 Kahuku — Kainoa Crismon 30 pass from Robbie Sauvao (Heffernan kick) Kahuku — Joseph Taufa 25 interception return (kick failed) Kapolei — FG Fonoti 25 Kahuku — Mason Paulo 19 pass from Sauvao (Heffernan kick) Kahuku — Heffernan 2 run (kick failed)
RUSHING — Kapolei: Ezekiel Waiolama 8-4, Team 1-(minus 2), Christian Rapis 4-(minus 25). Kahuku: Zealand Matagi 16-75, Toalei Lefau 11-61, Heffernan 2-5, Team 1-(minus 2), Sauvao 5-(minus 6).
PASSING — Kapolei: Rapis 17-41-3-190, Noa Bailey 1-4-0-9. Kahuku: Sauvao 16-35-2-204.
RECEIVING — Kapolei: De’zhaun Stribling 8-78, Badoyen 4-66, Ikari Stokes 3-38, Waiolama 2-22, Rapis 1-(minus 5). Kahuku: Heffernan 5-26, Paulo 3-70, Crismon 3-50, Thorton Alapa 3-44, Lefau 2-14.
* JV —Kahuku 42, Kapolei 0