Kapolei's Ikaika Tan tried to elude Nanakuli's Joshua Gisa in the first quarter of last night's game at Mililani High stadium.

Kapolei delivers
for Kamalani

It was a Kapolei homecoming to remember, and not just because the Hurricanes blanked Nanakuli, 18-0, last night at Mililani High School stadium.

Quarterback Jon Medeiros scored on runs of 1, 10 and 9 yards as Kapolei improved to 4-2 in Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West play (4-4 overall). The Hurricanes solidified their hold on third place in the Red West.

Kapolei has matured significantly since beginning the season with 19 new starters.

"I'm proud of them, going 4-2 in the Red. They're battle-tested now. We can't use youth as an excuse," Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said.

Nanakuli, which already clinched a playoff berth, slipped to 2-4 (3-5 overall). The Golden Hawks were up against a gale force in the Hurricanes.

As if Kapolei needed more inspiration, the Hurricanes got plenty more thanks to Kamalani Quindica.

Kapolei's student body opened its hearts -- and coffers -- to the 3-year-old cancer patient after she underwent a liver transplant recently. On Thursday, the Hurricanes donned teal-and-silver stickers that read, "God bless Kamalani" and the team motto, "Holding the rope."

Kapolei ran the ball for 38 of its 44 offensive plays, wearing down Nanakuli's defense. The Hurricanes' option attack amassed 213 rushing yards (5.6 per carry). Medeiros, who ran 10 times for 66 yards, led three rushers with at least 50 yards on the ground.

Nanakuli finished with 137 total yards. John Henry Palakiko, formerly a starting strong safety, made a game effort his second start at quarterback. He rushed for 47 yards, but was sacked four times in the second half.

Kapolei lineman Chadmond Lucero had two of those sacks.

Consecutive fumbles by Nanakuli in the opening quarter led to Kapolei's first two touchdowns. An errant pitch by Palakiko led to a 19-yard drive for Kapolei. Medeiros scored his first touchdown on a 1-yard sneak with 4:17 left in the first quarter.

The win put an exclamation point on a remarkable week for Kapolei.

The Hurricanes donated proceeds from their homecoming dance to Kamalani. Her father is an old high school friend of lineman Darin Awong's dad, and the idea for the sticker came about naturally to the Kapolei coaching staff.

"It represents what she's doing, holding the rope, fighting for her life every day," said Awong, one of Kapolei's biggest linemen. "I believe in God and I pray for her every day. She's an inspiration to me."

Kamalani and her father greeted the team moments before kickoff on the Kapolei sideline. "When she came to the field, I was tearing up," Awong said. "Everybody said, we're gonna win this for your cousin."

"The community support for our team has been fantastic," Hernandez said. "Hopefully, some people can help her out. Any little ailment we have doesn't compare to what she's been through."

The Hurricanes hope more communities support Kamalani, who has significant expenses due to the transplant. Donations are being accepted at First Hawaiian Bank.



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