Kahuku begins their State title defense against Campbell this weekend

Kahuku football is getting prepared for a title defense against Campbell this weekend in the HHSAA Open Division Tournament.
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 3:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kahuku football is getting prepared for a title defense against Campbell this weekend in the HHSAA Open Division Tournament.

The reigning State Champion Kahuku is fresh off of their second straight OIA title, coming into states at the No. 1 seed.

According to head coach Sterling Carvalho, everyone wants a piece of you when you’re at the top.

“It’s always harder the second or third time around because now you’ll get everybody’s best and that’s what we got this year, but I’m grateful for my team being able to work hard in the off-season.” Coach Carvalho told Hawaii News Now. “They had this as their goal to win the OIA championship, but what’s next is the bigger prize.”

“I feel like the season has been has been pretty good.” Kahuku quarterback Waika Crawford said. “You know just playing football, but I just feel like the job isn’t done, and I can’t really say anything until we have that koa wood (trophy).”

Their first step in defending their title sees a familiar foe. The Red Raiders downed Campbell 16-6 during the regular season, it was Kahuku’s lowest scoring game of the year, so now they’re making sure that it’ll be different in round two with the black and orange.

“Right now we just have to make sure that whatever we do, we don’t give up the big plays.” Coach Carvalho said. “They’re a big play team, so we’ve got to make sure we minimize their big play ability and for us on the offensive side, we just need to control the ball, control the clock.”

On the other sideline, the boys from the 76 South know that they have a big red obsticle in their way.

“They have one of the best defenses in the state, you know, I’ve got to give respect to their defense, but I think if we just stick to our game plan.” Campbell quarterback Jaron Sagapolutele said. “I think we can just drive down the field and hopefully score.”

The Sabers make it to states for the second year in a row, but this time they’ll have sophomore quarterback Jaron Sagapolutele at the helm — making his state tournament debut.

“First time so you know, I love it and hopefully I get to continue to do this for years to come.” Sagapolutele said.

Sagapolutele is one of a young group of Sabers that has built a culture for success in Ewa Beach.

“You know it’s really exciting, we’ve got a young nucleus, but we’re not too young to win it.” Campbell head coach Darren Johnson said. “We’ve got to establish that and let them know that we can win the damn thing if you just play and be disciplined.”

Kick off is set for Friday at 4:00 p.m. at Mililani’s John Kauinana Stadium.