LIHUE — In a low-scoring affair, the Red Raiders went ahead in the second half to clinch.
Kauai High School’s varsity football team defeated Kapaa High School, 13-3, Friday night at Vidinha Stadium.
Kauai varsity head coach Jason Apilado said Friday’s game was especially difficult for him because he had a loved one in mind during the game — his mother, Judy Manuel, who died in April.
“Tonight was really tough, a little emotional. I thought about my mom. She lost to cancer recently,” Apilado said. “Knowing what we were going into, I pulled on some strength. (I thought of) some of the things that my dad and her used to tell me when I was growing up playing ball way back in my days of Pop Warner and at Waimea High School. I think somebody’s helping me. So, thank you, Mom.”
Kauai (4-0, 2-0 KIF) broke a 3-3 tie in the third quarter. On the Warriors two-yard line, Red Raiders senior quarterback Tyler Oshima faked a handoff and ran the ball to his right into the end zone for the game’s only touchdown.
“That play, I saw the middle linebacker come in and no one picked him up,” Oshima said. “Our running back was going to get wrecked. So, I just held the ball and hoped for something good to happen.”
Before the score, the Red Raiders faced a 3rd and goal on the 10-yard line. Oshima ran the ball but was stopped short on the two-yard line.
Kauai opted to go for the touchdown rather than the field goal.
“Sometimes, for any play caller, two yards doesn’t seem like a whole lot. But that’s why they call it a game of inches. It’s a huge fight,” Apilado said. “This one, I just said, ‘Look, we’re here. We’re not giving it up. We’re going for it. Let’s go do it.’ That’s exactly what they did. Props to our quarterback for making a beautiful read, pulling the ball, getting into the end zone and scoring. So, great job there.”
The score was set up on a turnover. Kapaa (1-2, 0-1 KIF) started the third quarter by marching down to the Red Raiders two-yard line.
On the ensuing play, Warriors sophomore running back Baba Na’o fumbled. Red Raiders senior defensive end Joshua Rivera stripped and recovered the ball, and then returned it all the way to the opposing five-yard line.
“I think our defense played lights out, and our offensive line and running backs came through tonight. It made my job a lot easier,” Oshima said.
Prior to that turnover, Na’o got the majority of touches on that drive to get Kapaa deep into Red Raiders territory.
Kapaa at times was able to move the ball offensively but wasn’t able to put up more points on the scoreboard.
“I wish I knew that answer right now. We’re going to have to figure that out and get back to the drawing board,” said Kapaa head coach Philip Rapozo. “We need to do a lot better in all phases of the game. Just got to get back to work.”
When the turnover occurred, Rapozo believed his team scored before suddenly seeing Rivera run with the ball the opposite way.
“I don’t know what happened. If we capitalized on that, or even got a field goal, it changes the game,” Rapozo said. “Turning over the ball was big. They made a great play, and they capitalized on the turnover. You got to give them credit for that.”
In consecutive games, Kauai High came away with a win despite being penalized heavily. The Red Raiders were flagged 16 times, and the Warriors were penalized five times.
“Week after week, it’s (about) going back to the drawing board. If it’s going to take us until all the way to the end of the season to get better, then we’re just going to keep working. It’s a work in progress,” Apilado said. “I would have wanted nothing as far as yellow flags, but it’s the game. The officials are doing their job. We’ll just brace for the next play.”
For Kapaa, it’s been nearly a month since they’ve seen full-contact. The team last played Aug. 11 on the Big Island in a 37-0 preseason win over Konawaena.
“I don’t want to use that as an excuse. I got to give Kauai High all the credit,” Rapozo said. “Yeah, they played a week ahead of us, but we cannot use that as an excuse. We got to be ready to play no matter what.”
Kapaa High will play against Waimea High School (1-2, 0-1 KIF) on Friday. The junior varsity game will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
Kauai will play against Waimea on Sept. 21 at Hanapepe Stadium.
06:59 KAPAA Chysen Lagunes-Rapozo 34-yard field goal, 3-0 Kapaa
11:53 KAUAI Logan Noice 42-yard field goal, 3-3
04:44 KAUAI Tyler Oshima 2-yard run, Kaylee Alapai PAT good, 10, 3 Kauai
11:40 KAUAI Kaylee Alapai 38-yard field goal, 13-3 Kauai
Passing: Tyler Oshima, 10-18, 123 yards
Rushing: Tyler Oshima, 8 carries, 32 yards, 1 touchdown
Receiving: Pono Carvalho, 2 receptions, 33 yards
Defense: Hoku Parbo, 4 tackles, 1 interception
Passing: 7-15, 17 yards
Rushing: Baba Na’o, 16 carries, 71 yards, 1 fumble
Receiving: Lanakila Pagtolingan, 2 reception, 9 yards
Defense: Patrick Peters, 5 tackles
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.