The Molokai High School football team began this season the same way they ended last season — with a 42-0 win.
Hana made the long trip to Molokai on Saturday only to be shut out by a Farmers team that dominated action on both sides of the ball. The game should have been Molokai’s second game of the season but St. Anthony forfeited last week’s game after being unable to make travel arrangements to Molokai from Maui.
“We are just pleased that Hana made it over here because we had that game that was canceled last week and it was a huge bummer,” said Molokai head coach Mike Kahale. “Hana is reflective of our community, a lot of Hawaiians over there … they’ve got a great staff. They host us well and we just wanted to return the favor to them. I’m looking forward to going to Hana (Oct. 17) as well.”
Last year, it was St. Anthony that was trounced by Molokai at War Memorial Stadium to end the season. Molokai finished last season with a 4-2 record, losing its only two games to Seabury Hall by a combined total of four points.
Molokai wasted no time getting on the scoreboard Saturday. After forcing Hana to punt on its first possession, the Farmers marched down the field behind the running of Ena Victorino and Noah Caparida. A 20-yard run by Victorino — who finished the game with 42 yards on seven carries — took the ball into Hana territory. Caparida then ran the ball three straight times, finishing with a 1-yard touchdown run.
The coach’s son, sophomore Kaimana Kahale, scored Molokai’s second touchdown on their next possession with a 17-yard touchdown catch from quarterback David Rapanot.
With nine seconds left in the first quarter, Rapanot, a senior, scored Molokai’s third touchdown with a run around the left side. With the score 21-0, the outcome seemed obvious even before the second quarter had started. The Farmers scored a touchdown in each of the final three quarters to win the game handily.
“We’re just very pleased with the effort from the boys,” said Coach Kahale. “We executed well.”
Caparida completed the first half scoring with a short touchdown run up the middle following a Hana fumble to begin the second quarter. Another highlight of the second quarter was a 35-yard pass completion from freshman quarterback John-Michael Mokiao Duvauchelle to sophomore Moses Espaniola. The drive ended in a Caparida fumble recovered by Hana. Both teams were plagued by second quarter turnovers.
With a 28-0 halftime lead, a lot of younger Molokai players and second-string players were able to receive playing time. “We’ve got a large squad with 37, 38 players out there,” said Kahale, “and everybody got to see the field. I told those boys good job today.”
Freshman Jaymen “Maka” Bagay-Cenal helped the Farmers opening drive in the third quarter with a long run to set up a short passing touchdown to Alika Kaahanui.
The final score came midway through the fourth quarter when Kaimana Kahale intercepted a Hana pass and ran it back 20 yards for a touchdown.
While the team lost more fumbles (three) than Coach Kahale would have liked, overall the offense ran more efficiently than it did in the team’s first three years of existence. Kahale attributes this to improved coaching and player execution.
“The coaching is better,” said Kahale. “I think we’ve eliminated some of the things that we did last year that were slowing down our offense. We started to speed the tempo, make sure kids are executing and doing their jobs, and I think it’s working.”
On defense, junior King Kahana-Kalua had a big game with six tackles and two sacks. “I saw a lot of big plays from King Kahana-Kalua,” said Kahale.
Coach Kahale saw a lot of other standout performances: “David Rapanot got most of the snaps as a quarterback and played well, John Michael came in and threw a couple of nice balls … yes, he’s the quarterback of the future unless someone else shows up. Noah Caparida is always consistent, we can go to him any time (21 carries, 124 yards for the game). Kaimana, my son, played well, he had that one interception. He dropped the ball for a touchdown [in the first quarter], he knows that, but like I tell the kids they just got to brush that off and put it behind them.”
The Farmers now have only two days of practice to prepare for the big matchup with Seabury Hall Thursday night at War Memorlal Stadium. Kahale said the Molokai secondary needs to be prepared for a successful passing attack that has helped Seabury win its first two games of the season.
“We just have to make sure we come with right frame of mind and focus and execute well. If we do our job we’ll be just fine,” said Coach Kahale.
Seabury will be visiting Molokai on Oct. 26 in the Farmers next, and last, home game of the season.