HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEW
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kapolei's Simione Vehikite picked up yardage against the Kailua defense during yesterday's scrimmage. The Hurricanes host Kamehameha in their season opener on Aug. 22.
Kapolei can boast more than a superior O-line
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Throughout the offseason, Stan Hasiak has received the brunt of attention from near and far.
TOP 10 COUNTDOWN
With high school football starting on Aug. 15, the Star-Bulletin is counting down its preseason Top 10, as determined in a poll of coaches and media members:
1. Next Friday
In fact, the 6-foot-6, 330-pound offensive lineman has become synonymous with Kapolei football. That wasn't the case until this year because Navy quarterback and Kapolei graduate Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada had been, more or less, the face of Hurricane football.
There's more to the 'Canes, though, than the highly recruited Hasiak. Six starters are back to power what could be a stellar defensive unit, and a glut of big running backs - ranging from 210 to 260 pounds - gives Kapolei another shot at the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red championship.
Coaches and media voted the 'Canes No. 8 in the Star-Bulletin Football Preseason Top 10.
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GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kapolei receiver Kalani Brackenridge tried to reel in a pass against the Kailua defense during a scrimmage yesterday.
The Kapolei Hurricanes have always had their share of airborne success, but this year's version may be more ground-oriented.
The 'Canes, coming off a season that included a win over behemoth Kahuku, missed the state tournament and have a hunger that comes after six years of chasing a league crown.
NO. 8 KAPOLEI
Here's a look at Kapolei's recent history and its schedule this season:
||at Pearl City
Previous four years
9-2, state D-II first round
Coaches and media in the Star-Bulletin Football Preseason Top 10 voted Kapolei to a No. 8 ranking.
"Wow, boy, they're giving us a lot of respect," coach Darren Hernandez said. "I don't know why. I haven't seen these guys together yet. We have outstanding individually talented guys. It's like a shiny new Corvette that someone put together for you, but until you drive it, you don't know if it's cherry," he said.
A bruising set of running backs is ready to rev up the hybrid run-and-shoot/spread offense. That's not the only old-school concept in action. The 'Canes closed practice on Wednesday with exhausting bear crawls over the length of their field, a drill most teams started banishing back in the 1980s.
On paper: Offensive lineman Stan Hasiak, a 6-foot-6, 330-pound scholar athlete, is the anchor up front. Hasiak, who has a multitude of scholarship offers, plays everywhere from left tackle to right tackle, and will also see time on defense.
"He has it in him to be a leader. He's kind of a big fish in a small pond and people look up to him," Hernandez said. "There's always a lot of pressure when you're recruited and have expectations to be a role model. It's tough to be Stan right now."
Another stalwart on the O-line is Luke Spencer (6--foot-3, 260 pounds), who also plays any position up front.
Running back Cyril Ontai (5-11, 210) is a third-year starter who Hernandez tabs as an "athlete" more than a single-position player.
With 49 players and 26 returnees, the 'Canes have only three returning starters on offense. On defense, though, there are six starters back.
Defensive end Chad Lopati (6-2, 245) is a force on one side. Outside linebacker Shaden Akuna (6-3, 208) is versatile, and Dustin Elisara (6-2, 225) is another junior 'backer with plenty of experience. Returning seniors Kalani Brackenridge (5-11, 175) and Lyle Santiago (5-10, 175) lead the corner and safety positions.
The skinny: Noa Pascua saw significant playing time last year at quarterback, throwing for 750 yards while splitting time with Mason Koa, who has graduated.
Ontai is the smallest of the running backs, and the posse includes 260-pound Onosai Faumuina.
"We've kind of gone to the Navy game, where the fullback is our horse," Hernandez said.
X factor: Middle linebacker Simione Vehikite (6-1, 245) was a gift from above. Or rather, from Lahainaluna.
"The parents moved to Makakilo, so he fell right into my lap," Hernandez said.
Another X factor could be the return of assistant coach Zack Odom, the former UH defensive back. Odom is now a teacher on campus.