Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, July 12, 2001


Livai says Lee
should be in on

The Kahuku coach would like
the game played at season's end,
but organizers say that's unlikely

By Dave Reardon

The head coach of defending state champion Kahuku High School is all for a football doubleheader matching Oahu champions against mainland powers De La Salle and Mater Dei at Aloha Stadium on Sept. 21, 2002.

But Siuaki Livai also said the event, which Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive director Keith Amemiya is trying to put together, is better suited for the end of the upcoming season.

"Anything like that is good, the opportunity to get exposure playing the best from other states," Livai said. "However, my input is that I hope we can do it as postseason (this year) instead of next fall during the season."

Livai said the main reason is that St. Louis coach Cal Lee, who is stepping down after this season, could coach if the game is moved up (assuming the Crusaders win their 16th consecutive Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship this fall).

"The most important thing is Cal's situation. It won't mean as much without him," Livai said. "He deserves to be in the game, and I know he would never push this idea himself so I want to do it."

Livai stated three other reasons to move up the event:

>> Seniors from the championship teams would still be on the teams when the games are played.

"It would be the true teams of this year. Next year will be totally different teams," Livai said.

>> The Aloha and Oahu college bowl games are leaving Hawaii this year, creating a void in December.

"(The high school games) could be our bowl games, it could be a real good seller," Livai said.

>> The Oahu Interscholastic Association, of which Kahuku is a member, would not have to make an exception to its bylaws. It would have to do so for the proposed date in 2002, as OIA rules prohibit outside games during the league season.

But several roadblocks exist to moving the proposed event up nine months.

The Sept. 21, 2002, date is nearly ideal for the mainland teams, as they were originally scheduled to play each other on that day. Also, De La Salle athletic director Terry Eidson said a game in December would interfere with playoffs.

"It can't happen at the end of the season because once the sectional playoffs begin, we can't leave. The bottom line is we can't play more games than the section allows," Eidson said.

There's also a problem with the association that governs high school athletics.

"We've already explored that alternative and it looks like it's not possible," Amemiya said in a telephone call last night from Seattle. "First of all, the National Federation of State High School Associations has indicated that they would not approve a postseason high school game involving teams from different states.

"And the HHSAA's football committee is already concerned about the long football season, which has been extended into the first week of December by the state football tournament."

Amemiya's plan for the September 2002 game calls for securing extensive corporate sponsorship to defray the mainland teams' travel expenses. That would be more difficult to do in the shortened time frame.

Also, the National Federation of State High School Associations, which governs high school sports, frowns upon postseason events that could be construed as national championship games.

"This is supposed to be for funsies," Eidson said. "Everyone seems to be making a bigger deal out of it than it should be."

De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) has a national-record ongoing streak of 113 victories, and ended last season ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today. St. Louis has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation, and Kahuku and Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) have both been ranked several times, including two year-end No. 1 rankings for Mater Dei.

Lee was not available for comment last night. Livai said he plans to talk to both Lee and Amemiya soon.

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