Kailua game key
There are five serious Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East Conference football playoff contenders, but one will eventually be left out.
All times 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted
Damien at Punahou, 3:30 p.m.
Kailua vs. McKinley, at Aloha Stadium
Roosevelt at Castle
Kaimuki at Kahuku
Campbell at Leilehua
Nanakuli at Mililani
Pearl City at Waianae
Kalani at Aiea
Radford at Kaiser
Ka'u at Keaau, 7 p.m.
Kohala at Konawaena, 7 p.m.
Kapaa vs. Waimea, at Hanapepe Stadium
Pac-Five vs. Saint Louis, at Aloha Stadium, 4:45 p.m.
Iolani vs. Kamehameha, at Aloha Stadium
Kapolei vs. Kalaheo, at Kailua field, 6:30 p.m.
Waialua at Moanalua, 6:30 p.m.
Waiakea at Hilo, at Wong Stadium
Kealakehe at Honokaa
McKinley knows that when facing a must-win situation tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. against Kailua at Aloha Stadium.
Anything but a victory over the Surfriders would seriously jeopardize the Tigers' postseason chances. As it stands now, McKinley (3-2, 2-2) is looking up the conference ladder at Kailua (4-1, 3-1) and three others -- Kahuku (5-0, 4-0), Castle (4-1, 3-1) and Farrington (3-2, 3-2).
The Tigers are most effective when they have a balanced attack on offense, led by quarterback Abel Werner and running back Michael Vasconcellos.
Surfriders quarterback Kelroy Kohatsu has given his team an aerial spark when needed, but Kailua gets most of its mileage from running backs Kekoa Su'a and Damien Torres.
The game has the potential to become a high-scoring show, but defensive standouts such as McKinley's Randy Faletoi and Daniel Desoto and Kailua's Sione Tuifua, Derek Mailau, Keoki McCabe and Zach Meredith may put a crimp on that kind of wide-open outcome.
A year ago, the Surfriders beat the Tigers 42-22 in the regular season and 41-28 in the playoffs. However, Kailua coach Darren Johnson isn't taking those victories for granted.
"It's a do-or-die situation for us, too," he said. "We've got to take care of business."
The Surfriders have been working hard to curtail critical penalties and mental mistakes that Johnson believes led to the team's loss to Castle two weeks ago.
"We've got to be ready because McKinley is doing a lot of good things, even in the games they've lost," Johnson said. "They have many dangerous offensive weapons and a bunch of defensive guys that get to the football and play with a lot of confidence."
This race is White hot: Up-and-coming Kalaheo (3-2, 3-1) is gearing up for a key OIA White Conference game against unbeaten Kapolei (5-0, 4-0) at the Kailua High field Saturday night.
Led by quarterback David Pershin and running back Jacobe Akiu, the Mustangs are riding a three-game winning streak in which they've scored 42, 31 and 65 points.
"The kids have earned this right to play against a very talented Kapolei team," first-year Kalaheo coach Tony Tuioti said. "They've put in all the hard work to the point where this game actually means something. Our school is excited about football again. There's a change in the school spirit and pride."
The Mustangs were winless a year ago.
"One of our goals is to get these kids into a game at (Aloha Stadium), and right now the only possible way to do that is to get into the playoffs," Tuioti said.
Defensively, the Mustangs have been led by linebacker Aaron Louis, defensive end Toli Ilaoa and safety Jacob Myking.
The Hurricanes are coming off a 14-7 comeback win over Kaiser and won't be resting any time soon. They close out the conference season in successive weeks against contenders Aiea (4-1, 4-0) and Radford (3-2, 3-1).
"Kalaheo's offense is very dangerous," Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. "They're putting up fantasy football league numbers, so we've got to be up for this game."
Jon Medeiros, who took over at quarterback to allow Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada to become a wide receiver, has thrown eight touchdown passes with no interceptions.
The Kapolei defensive unit is led by ends Warren Simanu and Imiloa Sakai and defensive backs Bronson Pieper, Kainoa Enhada and cornerback Roland Mason.
Other notable games: First place is on the line in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation as Waiakea (4-0, 3-0) and Hilo (4-0, 4-0) tangle tomorrow night at Wong Stadium. Kealakehe (4-1, 4-0) is also in the tight three-way race. The Waveriders visit Honokaa on Saturday night.
Also tomorrow night, OIA Red West contender Pearl City (5-1, 4-1) visits Waianae (2-3, 2-2), a team trying to stay in the playoff hunt.