Saint Louis' Aaron Bain tried to get by Kapolei's Po'okela Ahmad, right, and Jameson Chee in the second quarter of last night's game at Aloha Stadium.

Saint Louis rolls
to victory

Kapolei takes a pounding
and some valuable lessons
from a 35-6 loss

Kapolei got the experience of a lifetime last night -- and also got worked over.

A budding powerhouse from West Oahu in their third year of varsity football, the young Hurricanes went up against Saint Louis -- Hawaii's most successful high school program -- for the first time and incurred relentless pounding in a 35-6 interleague defeat in front of 4,462 at Aloha Stadium.

Despite the lopsided loss, Kapolei can learn from the invaluable experience of taking on a team that has won 16 state or Prep Bowl titles.

"This shows us where we've got to go," Hurricanes coach Darren Hernandez said. "We've come a long way and we still have a long way to go. We're still in our infancy. But we like the challenge and we know we have a steep hill to climb."

After falling to Kahuku last week, Saint Louis (2-1) got back on the winning track with more grind-it-out running from Kevin Sullivan and the accurate short passing game led by quarterback Stanley Nihipali and wide receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku.

It took a little while, but the Crusaders' defense figured out Kapolei's spread option attack before the first half ended. Although the Hurricanes moved the ball relatively well all night, they didn't get close to the end zone until they finally punched it in early in the fourth.

"It took a little while to adjust to the option, because it's not something we see a lot," Saint Louis coach Delbert Tengan said. "What it took was all of the players taking care of their responsibilities. Any time you can hold down a big and strong offense like that, you're doing a good job. Maybe we could have made more stops and not let them ball-control us as much as they did. On offense, we bogged down sometimes because of silly penalties, but there were a lot of bright spots. They use three down linemen, so we thought we could run on them. Kevin (Sullivan) has had three great games for us so far."

Saint Louis' Stanley Nihipali looked for an open receiver in the second quarter.

Crusaders linebacker Jared Silva set up the first score of the game, causing a fumble that teammate Kamalu Umu recovered. Eight plays later, Sullivan blasted into the end zone from 10 yards out for a 7-0 lead.

Silva was a madman for Saint Louis, making 15 tackles with a sack, four hurries and two knockdowns. He also recovered a fumble with 8:22 left in the third quarter and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead that, in essence, put Kapolei out of reach.

Nihipali's passes to Kauleinamoku for 39 yards and to Matthew Zablan for 21 set up Nihipali's 1-yard TD plunge midway through the second quarter for a 14-0 Crusaders lead, while Sullivan made it 21-0 with his 1-yard TD run late in the first half.

Led by the running of quarterback Brad Padayao, who replaced starter Jon Medeiros in the third quarter, the Hurricanes finally put points on the board. Padayao ran five times for 38 yards to set up his 11-yard TD toss to Jimmy Stevens early in the fourth.

The Crusaders mopped up late in the game when backup quarterback Cameron Higgins connected with Preston Lynch for a 10-yard score.

"Our O-line played tough today," said Kauleinamoku, who caught four passes for 61 yards. "And Stanley was hitting his reads. We really stepped it up and contained their blitzes. On defense, we stopped the run first and that's what did it for us."

Kapolei's Jon Santiago tried to push past a Saint Louis defender during the second quarter of last night's game.

Sullivan finished with 93 yards on 10 carries -- all in the first half -- and Saint Louis won the turnover battle 3-1.

Kapolei (0-2) won its first nine games last season, but lost to Aiea for the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Division title and then were eliminated from the Division II state tournament by Damien. The Hurricanes have now lost four in a row, including their nonleague season opener to Kailua two weeks ago.

"We practiced against Saint Louis' draw play all week and we need to get better at it," Hernandez said. "Once you start blitzing and they come with the draw, it's very tough to stop."

But Hernandez thinks things will come around when the league season starts. Kapolei visits Aiea on Friday in the OIA Red West Division debut for both teams.

"Boy, losing four in a row, that's going to be a tough one to break out of," Hernandez said. "Those nine wins last year were all White Conference wins, and sometimes those games don't offer you anything to build on as a program."

The Crusaders don't play again until Sept. 25 against ILH rival Kamehameha at Aloha Stadium.

"We'll need to get better in every phase of the game," Tengan said. "They're the (Kamehameha) Warriors and they're the team (for us) to beat in the ILH, always."



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