Kapolei Football Kicks Off Spring Program As ‘QB-U’

Wednesday - May 21, 2008
By Jack Danilewicz
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Kapolei football coach Darren Hernandez
Kapolei football coach Darren Hernandez looks forward to adding to his already impressive team. Photo by Nathalie Walker, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

One in a series of spring football reports.

It didn’t take the Kapolei football program long to establish itself as Quarterback U of the Hawaii prep football scene, with three former signal callers currently on Division I rosters.

Hurricanes coach Darren Hernandez wouldn’t have it any other way. Indeed, it is the rare quarterback that slips under his radar in the years before he enrolls at the school.

“We don’t wait for them to come to us,” said Hernandez, who has tutored Kaipo Kaheaku-Enhada (Naval Academy), Brad Padayao (Eastern Oregon Univ.) and Jon Medeiros (UH-Manoa), among others, in recent years at Kapolei High School. “Quarterback is too important of a position. We try to identify quarterback prospects as early as possible. I go over to the elementary school and ask their P.E. teachers who can throw. We usually start out with five (when they arrive as freshmen at Kapolei), and we end up with four.”

Not surprisingly, solidifying the quarterback position was among the team priorities as it began spring football practice Monday. In junior-to-be Noah Pascua and sophomore-to-be Trent McKinney, Hernandez is confident his team will have plenty of skill behind center as they look to replace last year’s part-time starter and all-around standout, Mason Koa.

Pascua split time his sophomore campaign with Koa and fared well, throwing for 750 yards and six touchdowns. McKinney was a member of the JV last fall.

“Noah has experience running and throwing the ball for us,” said Hernandez, who led Kapolei to a 7-4 record last year. “Trent is 6 feet, 175 pounds, and he’s really going to be a good player. Those two are both capable, and they’re ahead of the pack right now.”

Whoever emerges as the starter will have the luxury of being surrounded by a talented veteran cast that includes Cyril Ontai III (LB/RB), Stan Hasiak (OL/DL), Chad Lopati (RB/TE/LB/DE), Kalani Brackenridge (CB/WR) and Luke Spencer (OL/DL). Division I colleges are recruiting all five of them.

“We’re excited about this senior group, and our JV had a solid season, and we have a bunch of them coming up, so hopefully we can put it all together.”

Ontai III leads the way on defense. A starter since his sophomore year, his assertiveness help set the tone for Kapolei.“Our opponents probably think he’s been around forever,” Hernandez joked. “He’s come into his own as a player, and we’re expecting a lot from him.”

Hasiak, who packs 320 pounds into his 6-foot-6 frame, will anchor the offensive line, while Lopati will play both ways in the trenches.

“Stan’s a big, big guy who can move and run for his size,” Hernandez said of Hasiak, who has scholarship offers from Oregon, Hawaii, Michigan State, Michigan and UCLA. among others. “Chad loves football, and he’s such a great athlete for his size that he projects as a ‘rush’ defensive end or an outside or middle (line) backer.”

As a three-year starter, Spencer adds experience to the offensive line.

“He came to us as a sophomore at about 290 (pounds), but he’s really gotten on the weights and now he’s 6-2, 255, and he can run a 4.8 forty (yard dash),” Hernandez said.“He’s real tough.”

Under OIA’s guidelines, the Hurricanes are allotted a two-week period in which they can hold 10 spring practices. This week, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, they were to be in helmets before being allowed to wear the entire top half of their equipment for sessions Thursday and Friday. Kapolei will be in full equipment for all five of next week’s sessions. The Black-and-Teal spring game is set for 6:30 p.m. May 31 at the school.

Hawaii high school teams officially open fall camp July 29.


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