HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Playing against Kahuku is no easy task. But playing the Red Raiders on their home turf is a challenge unlike any other, according to Kapolei head coach Darren Hernandez.
"It's the toughest opponent, and a worthy opponent," Hernandez said after practice Thursday evening. "And it's the toughest place to play … it's really hard to play at Kahuku."
The Hurricanes (5-4) will hit the road to face-off against Kahuku in the quarterfinals of the 2017 OIA Division I Playoffs Friday night. Coming off an impressive 41-0 victory against Aiea last weekend, the Hurricanes are looking to carry over their momentum from their past two wins over Nanakuli (36-0) and Aiea against one of the best teams in the state.
"We're as healthy as we've been in a long time," Hernandez said. "You have to go in there with the correct mindset. They're going to be very physical, they're fast; they're talented. We have a bunch of talent, but they have a ton of talent. So we're going to have to play over our heads for four quarters to compete with them."
For the Red Raiders (7-1), who've only lost once this season in a road game on the mainland against Bingham, they're feeling confident that even though the Hurricanes do pose a threat defensively, they have enough firepower to withstand any storm that may come their way.
"We feel good," Kahuku head coach Makoa Freitas said Thursday before practice. "Kapolei is a good challenge for us. They have a good offense, their defensive line, their linebacking core is good. Their defense as a whole is a strong unit, one of the better defenses in the state. It's gonna be a good challenge for us."
Kahuku have surrendered just 18 points to their opposition on island all season, outscoring their opponents by a large margin (264-18). Hernandez knows that he has to lean on his defense to get the job done.
"Our defense has really carried our team," he said. "We're gonna lean on them and hope that they can put together a brilliant performance tomorrow."
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.