Over the past few weeks, the Kaua‘i offense has been the key factor in its 2-0 KIF start.
This week, the defense was king.
The Red Raiders held Kapa‘a to -16 yards rushing in the first half of play and 52 yards of total offense in opening a 13-0 halftime edge enroute to a 34-14 victory on Friday night at Vidinha Stadium.
With the win, the Red Raiders claimed at least a tie for the KIF Division I title.
DJ Higashi pulled in one of five Kaua‘i interceptions and Max Hadwin keyed three late scoring drives to help the Red Raiders pull away from Kapa‘a.
The Warriors (0-3 in the KIF) closed to within 13-7 with 57 seconds left in the third quarter as Bronson Yadao passed Kapa‘a down field.
The 7-play, 55-yard drive ended with Brian Merkel hauling in a 10-yard touchdown from the Warriors’ passer.
However, Hadwin came on in the fourth quarter after Kekoa Crowell suffered an apparent shoulder injury. After Higashi’s interception stymied a Kapa‘a drive early in the final period, Hadwin led the Red Raiders (3-0 in the KIF) on a touchdown march that culminated with a Kevin Cadiente 35-yard scoring run.
With the touchdown, the Red Raiders opened a 13-point lead. Hadwin added a 5-yard scoring strike to Cadiente later in the fourth quarter to help Kaua‘i open a 20-point lead. Yadao (18-of-43 for 174 yards) passed 14 yards for a touchdown to Austin Rosa late in the fourth for the final points for Kapa‘a.
Crowell didn’t have a tremendous first 24 minutes of action as he hit on 9-of-18 passes for 104 yards in the first half. However, his 13-yard scoring strike to Lance Okasaki helped the Red Raiders open a 13-0 lead late in the second quarter.
Kaua‘i jumped on the scoreboard on its first drive which ended on a 16-yard scoring scamper from Brian Rodriguez, who totaled 50 yards on four carries for the half.
Kaua‘i had 138 yards of total offense through the first two quarters.