HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Castle's Breydan Torres broke away from Moanalua's Trace Brown during the first half of the Knights' win last night.
Rapozo sparks Castle past Moanalua
When costly turnovers weren't hurting Moanalua, Castle quarterback Blake Rapozo made sure he did.
Rapozo threw for 215 yards on 22-for-27 passing with two touchdowns, and the Knights capitalized as Moanalua fumbled twice at its own 20-yard line and pulled away to win 27-13 last night.
The shifty lefty opened things up with his air game with completion streaks of six, seven and six, and Castle (2-2) won on consecutive weeks to improve to 2-0 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East.
"Good, I felt good," said Rapozo, a 5-foot-9 junior. "Gotta stay composed. Just get the ball to our guys 'cause they're good, they make the plays."
Breydan Torres caught nine passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, and Bronson Kekahuna had seven receptions for 60 yards and a score before leaving the game with a sprain.
Castle had already lost receiver Chauncey Kruse for the season, but Rapozo expressed confidence Kekahuna's injury wasn't severe.
Moanalua (1-2-1) fell to 0-2 in the division. A total of four balls lost on the ground was ultimately Moanalua's undoing.
"No question about it (the turnovers were brutal)," Moanalua coach Arnold Martinez said. "We had an excellent first half of football (to that point). I'm very proud of our team and our boys, but they gotta understand you can't put the ball on the ground."
It was a similar story the whole game; on its first play, Moanalua quarterback Jordan Monico exploded free for about 48 yards ... but lost control of the ball, and Castle recovered it on its own 10-yard line.
Rapozo threw for 140 yards and a score in the first half, when the lefty found quarterback Thomas Ilae -- in at receiver -- for a 45-yard strike on the run early in the second quarter.
Moanalua quickly countered with a 4-yard score from Michael Garingan, set up by two costly Castle penalties and a big run from Emanuel Vierra. But that's all Na Menehune would get until the game's final moments.
A critical fumble cost Moanalua dearly. After Na Menehune stopped a 53-yard Castle drive, they fumbled away the ball on their first snap at their own 10-yard line. The Knights' Kawehi Sablan smashed his way to the 1-yard line, and Ilae, in for the quarterback sneak, helped put Castle back on top. Sablan cleared the scrum for the 2-point conversion and a 14-7 lead with 17.2 seconds left in the half.
A similar error on Moanalua's second play coming out of the half led to a 21-7 Castle lead. Lineman Chris Daniel recovered a fumble at the 20, and Rapozo found Bronson Kekahuna for a 15-yard score on the second of two completions.
"You can't have turnovers when you're playing a tight game like that, against a great opponent," Martinez said.
Monico had 175 yards of total offense, including a 50-yard connection to Eric Quinn in the final 2 minutes. But Castle was able to keep him contained, and Vierra (39 yards on the ground) was Na Menehune's best alternative.
Castle's first two games were losses against ranked opponents Mililani and Kamehameha. After winning their first two league games, their biggest test comes next week against Kahuku.
The Knights lost two starters -- Kruse and linebacker Michael Lum -- for the season against the Warriors two weeks ago.
Castle beat Moanalua for the second time in two years since Na Menehune was promoted to the OIA Red East; the Knights won 27-14 last year.