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Thursday, November 13, 2003



[ HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ]



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early showdown


It's highly likely previous state champions Saint Louis and Kahuku will play an early-season interleague encounter next fall, according to Oahu Interscholastic Association football coordinator Richard Townsend.

The 2004 interleague slate of games pitting OIA Red Conference teams against Interscholastic League of Honolulu teams will be decided after both leagues have finished making their regular-season schedules, he said.

Last week, the two leagues announced an agreement to schedule the games -- which do not count in either league's standings -- during the first three weeks of the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Townsend and ILH spokesman Georges Gilbert said many of the games will be played at school sites and that the leagues are looking into the various possibilities.

"A Kahuku (OIA champion) vs. Saint Louis (ILH champion) game (if it becomes official) would be played at Aloha Stadium as part of a doubleheader, " Townsend said.

The other doubleheader match-up would likely involve Kamehameha (ILH runner-up) vs. either Kailua (OIA runner-up) or a top OIA West team.

The Crusaders and Red Raiders have played in three of the four state tournament finals and met five times to decide Prep Bowl titles prior to that. They're also the favorites to make it to the Division I state championship game this year.

"Anything is still possible as far as scheduling the games," Gilbert said. "Nothing is concrete yet."

But it's likely all six ILH teams will play against two OIA Red opponents and that most of the 14 OIA Red teams will play against one ILH opponent during the three-week period. Townsend confirmed OIA White teams wouldn't be involved.

Gilbert said the leagues are weighing the pros and cons of scheduling the games based on attractive match-ups or by rankings or a combination of both.

Townsend intimated that it will be the latter, loosely based on rankings. For example, ILH No. 1 plays the OIA East and West No. 1s, ILH No. 2 plays OIA East and West No. 2s and on down to No. 6.

"But that doesn't necessarily mean Saint Louis will play Mililani (OIA West No. 1)," Townsend said. "If there's a better match-up, we would go for it."

The Crusaders and Trojans meet in the first round of the state tournament Nov. 21.

Townsend also reiterated the OIA's stance that these early-season games aren't the first step toward a merger of the two leagues.

"It's more of a money thing," he said. "We're always in need of generating income to make sure we can operate properly, and creating interesting match-ups is one way to do it."

Gilbert said the ILH didn't discuss the merger possibility when it approved the agreement.



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