LIHUE — The Kapaa Warriors pulled away following a 3-2 halftime lead with a pair of touchdowns and a field goal to spoil Kauai High’s homecoming, 20-2, under the Friday night lights at Vidinha Stadium.
“The offense did a good job of adjusting during the half,” said Kapaa coach Philip Rapozo. “The defense carried us tonight, but it’s not who is going to carry us. We just need to get the job done.”
The defenses on both sides of the field sparred in the first half, with just Kapaa’s field goal and Kauai High’s safety showing up on the scoreboard.
Kapaa struck first, securing what would be the winning points on a 39-yard field goal off La‘akea Gonsalves’ foot after the Red Raider defense pushed the Warriors into a fourth-and-29 situation with 5:41 remaining in the opening period.
Kauai’s first productive drive of the night included a long pass play from quarterback Sean Mulikin to Malu Ralston that drove the pigskin into Warrior territory. Mulikin hit Kainalu Tanaka on another pass that, coupled with a Warrior infraction, moved the pigskin to the Kapaa four-yard line.
“We need to clean up those mistakes,” Rapozo said. “They’re killing us, especially the long ones. They drive me nuts.”
But the Warrior defense rose to the task, keeping Kauai out of the end zone on their own one-yard stripe before the Raiders lost the ball on downs.
With just 45 ticks remaining in the first quarter, the Red Raiders dropped the Warrior ball carrier in the end zone for a safety for the 3-2 score.
Defensive jockeying dominated the second quarter, including Kauai recovering a fumble on the Kapaa 38-yard line with 5:34 showing in the half. But the Red Raider offense could not capitalize on the turnover, and a field-goal attempt came up short, the live ball being returned to the Kapaa 43-yard line following a run back that was aided by another Warrior penalty.
Kapaa’s Baba Na-O drove the pigskin on the ensuing drive, moving inside the Raiders’ 20-yard stripe before time ran out on the half.
Kahanu Davis opened the second half by connecting with Micah Tabura on a 6-yard scoring pass to cap a 56-yard drive with 7:45 showing in the period. Gonsalves’ PAT boot settled the scoreboard at 10-2.
Kapaa got another break on the Raider drive when Jake Lamden recovered a loose ball on the Kauai 20-yard line, the ensuing celebration evoking another flag and long penalty against the Warriors, moving the ball to the Kauai 35-yard line at the 7:40 mark. The ensuing 35-yard drive saw Davis connect with Raphee Khae-chawat to the Raiders 5-yard mark, but the Warriors were pushed back on a Raider sack of Davis, so the Warriors settled for Gonsalves’ 35-yard field goal to make it 3-2 bulge.
The Warriors marked their final score with just 20 seconds peeled off the final period clock, when Davis hit Jericho Castro on a 35-yard score to cap a 69-yard drive that started in the waning minutes of the third quarter. Gonsalves’ PAT boot sealed the 20-2 win after Kapaa’s Tylise Sadomiano-Amorin plucked an Andrew Passim pass with a minute showing in regulation.
“The defense really carried us tonight,” Rapozo said. “But it’s not about who’s going to get the job done. We just need to get it done by everyone.”
“We’ve had two tough games, the first one where we lost by just one point,” said Jason Apilado, the Kauai coach. “The boys fought hard and never gave up until the end. We just need to keep our heads up. It’s not over yet.”
Earlier in the evening, Kauai High’s jiunior varsity squad got by Kapaa’s, 10-6
Kauai next travels to the Hanapepe Stadium Friday for its first meeting with Waimea. The JV match kicks off at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity tilt.