LIHUE — Warriors junior quarterback Kurt Napoleon threw four touchdown passes as Kapaa High School’s varsity football team defeated Kauai, 53-0, Friday night at Vidinha Stadium.
Napoleon was 14-19 and totaled 239 yards passing in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season opening game that turned out to be one-sided.
“Tonight was kind of a statement game for us,” Napoleon said. “This was just a full team-effort tonight. Special teams, defense, offense, it was all around. It wasn’t just the offense tonight. Everybody just all came together.”
Kapaa (3-0, 1-0 KIF) got an early 14-0 lead in the opening minutes. Warriors senior defensive back Davey Joel ran back an interception 42 yards for the team’s first strike. About a minute later, junior linebacker Mana Kupihea recovered a blocked punt and ran it back 5 yards to the end zone.
Kupihea scored a second touchdown off an interception returned 41 yards in the third quarter.
“We really needed to have a good game offensively. Defensively, there’s no question we are a really good defensive team. I say we’re one of the tops in the state in our division,” said Warriors head coach Philip Rapozo. “Offensively, we haven’t proven ourselves. I think tonight, we started to gain respect on the offensive side of the ball.”
Rapozo said though the offense put up some good numbers, there’s still room for improvement.
“I think we were a little shaky in the beginning — not making the right reads, not running our routes good and penalties,” he said. “We’d move the ball down the field, and then we got a hold. That’s been the story through the two preseason game that we are trying to clean up.”
Kauai (0-3, 0-1 KIF) on several occasions turned over the ball on special teams to give Kapaa favorable field advantage.
The Red Raiders’ offense, though mostly quiet in the first half, had moments in the second half and got themselves down the opposing side of the field but couldn’t manage a score to avoid the shutout.
“In sports, it’s about momentum. Once one team has the momentum, sometimes it can carry throughout the game,” said Red Raiders head coach Derek Borrero. “They got the momentum early. We weren’t able to recover.”
Red Raiders sophomore quarterback Aukai Albao was 4-16 for 34 yards, gave up three interceptions and was sacked four times.
Borrero said he considered switching things up late in the third quarter, but circumstances didn’t allow him to do so.
“Our second-string quarterback (sophomore Christian Manera) went down. Unfortunately, the injury came to the right shoulder,” he said. “We didn’t want to leave him (Albao) in the fire and just let him cook. But Manera went down. We looked at Aukai and asked him if he could finish this thing. He says, ‘Yes coach,’ like he’s always been.”
Senior running back Bulla Rapacon amassed 87 yards rushing off 22 carries. He also had two receptions for 27 yards.
The Warriors also won the junior varsity game, 48-17.
Kauai will play Waimea (2-1, 0-0 KIF) on Friday at Hanapepe Stadium. The JV game will begin at 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
“As a coaching staff, we’re going to re-evaluate what we do on offense and defense and come out next week and try to do a better job down in Hanapepe against a very good Waimea team,” Borrero said.
Kapaa will next play on Sept. 11 versus Waimea at Vidinha Stadium.