Hurricanes Switching From Triple-option To Spread Offense

Injury reports have commanded as much attention from the Kapolei football coaching staff as scouting reports the past two seasons, as the team found itself down to its fifth-and sixth-string quarterback in each.

With that in mind, the shift this spring from triple-option to spread offense was done in large part to minimize injuries. Hurricane talent at the skilled positions was another factor.

“We’re pretty excited about our offense, especially with the returnees we have,” said head coach Darren Hernandez. “It takes some adjustments, but we’ve had them all spring and in pass league this summer, and they’ve been making great strides.

“Running the option meant our quarterback was taking a lot of hits,” he added. “In high school football, you can’t cut block as in college, so it’s tougher to block the perimeter. When the QB runs outside (in the option), he takes a lot of hits, so our change in philosophy was out of necessity. The triple-option is a run-first offense. In the spread, we’re going from the (shot)gun and throwing the ball more.”

On that note, junior Aizon Kahana and sophomore Alton Julius are currently battling to be starting quarterback when the team hosts Pearl City Aug. 12 in their preseason game.

“Both have worked hard, and they’re in a dead heat for the spot,” Hernandez said. “Both are really good athletes, and they both throw the ball well. We’re not against that policy (of going to a twoQB system), but one of them will probably be playing another position (offensively) because they’re such good athletes.”

Whoever emerges as starter will be surrounded by playmakers, highlighted by running backs Mana Reis, Jacob Kukahiko, Dylan Keomaka and receivers Mitchell Moses and Kaeo Kanoa.

Kanoa was a First Team all-OIA Red West pick last year at safety after leading the league in interceptions with eight. He’ll play slot back and wide-out, offensively, in addition to serving as a return specialist. “We just list him as an athlete – he does it all. He’s 6-0, 190 and runs 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. He’s an all-around spectacular player.

“We have a good stable of running backs,” Hernandez added, “and Mana can also play slot back when we want him to.”

Up front, the Hurricanes will be seasoned with Micah Kapoi (6-4, 275), Andrew Julius (6-2, 290) and Darius Kila (6-5, 350). “Those three have been leading the charge. We think they can be college-type players.”

Kapolei will follow up its preseason game against Pearl City with an OIA-crossover game versus McKinley Aug. 17 (at Roosevelt). Its Red West opener is Aug. 25 at Waipahu. Next up: A preview of the Kapolei defense.