HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Quarterback George Kahaku Kaai and Kamehameha will get a shot at Punahou at Aloha Stadium tomorrow.
Big ILH doubleheader tomorrow
While the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference football playoffs get under way and the White Conference regular season closes, the top Interscholastic League of Honolulu teams in the state clash tomorrow.
This Week's Games
» Pac-Five vs. Damien at Kamehameha, 7 p.m.
OIA Red playoffs
» Leilehua vs. Farrington at Aiea, 7 p.m.
» Radford at Campbell, game begins 25 minutes after end of 5 p.m. JV game.
At Aloha Stadium
» Iolani vs. Saint Louis, 4:30 p.m.
» Punahou vs. Kamehameha, 7:30 p.m.
Games begin 25 minutes after end of 4 p.m. JV game
» Kaiser at Waialua
» Waipahu vs. Kalaheo at Kailua
Call it a tenacious doubleheader, or simply tenacious 'D,' as in defense. When Iolani and Saint Louis kick off at 4:30 p.m. at Aloha Stadium, the Crusaders will have defense on their minds.
It was a year ago, but not easily forgotten, when Iolani rallied for an amazing 36-31 win over Saint Louis. Not only did Iolani pull off an upset after a 31-point loss to Kamehameha, but it sank Saint Louis' postseason chances significantly.
That game was essentially the first on-field test for then-backup quarterback Cameron Higgins. The skilled, agile signal-caller was thrust into the fire when starter Stanley Nihipali suffered a shoulder injury. Higgins struggled against Iolani's small, but quick and unpredictable defense.
However, that was a year ago. Higgins is expected to play for the Crusaders (3-3, 1-2) despite leaving last week's game vs. Punahou with an injury.
Iolani (6-1, 3-1) rested quarterback Kiran Kepo'o, a first-team all-state pick last year, and linebacker Jon Takamura in last week's win over Pac-Five.
Third-ranked Kamehameha, meanwhile, will have its hands full with Punahou. The Warriors swept Punahou last year handily, but had to fight to victory when the two teams met four weeks ago.
The Buffanblu trailed by 3, but had the ball deep in Warriors territory late in the game before fumbling away their chance to upset the then-No. 1 team in the state. Kamehameha eventually drove for a late touchdown in the 27-17 win.
Aaron Nichols had a superlative night, catching five passes for 233 yards, including touchdowns of 90 and 80 yards.
This time, there's more than just rankings to battle over. Kamehameha (7-2, 3-1 ILH) can secure a foothold on the ILH race for the lone Division I state tournament berth by sweeping Punahou (6-1, 3-1 ILH).
The Buffanblu, at No. 2, may be ranked higher but are by no means favored. A win tonight would thrust them into the driver's seat. River Kim could prove to be the difference. The junior drilled three field goals in last week's 16-13 win over Saint Louis, including the deciding kick with 1:18 remaining.
McKinley forfeits OIA Red playoff game
Due to low numbers, the McKinley football team has forfeited its OIA Red playoff game with Aiea.
The game had been scheduled for tomorrow night.
McKinley was the No. 5 seed from the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East, but injuries and low numbers took a toll on the Tigers all season long.
The junior varsity game, which also included McKinley, has also been forfeited by the Tigers.
OIA football coordinator Harold Tanaka was not available for comment.
The forfeiture means Aiea will advance into the second round of the playoffs. Na Alii will meet regular-season Red East titlist Castle next Friday.