HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
OIA-ILH clashes highlight tomorrow
The matchups look to be "appetizing" as Week 2 opens
A few years back, the occasional public-school-vs.-private-school clash was mostly limited to a few August dates.
Matchups between the two entities were limited. Roosevelt and Punahou. Farrington and Kamehameha. The rest of the preseason menu was mostly East vs. West, public school against public school. Most players today don't remember that iconic event known as the Prep Bowl, pitting champions of Oahu's public and private schools.
TOMORROW'S HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
» Damien at Campbell, 7 p.m.
» Pac-Five at Radford, 7 p.m.
» Iolani at Mililani, 7 p.m.
» McKinley at Kapolei, 7 p.m.
» Konawaena vs. Kauai at Vidinha Stadium, Lihue, 7 p.m.
» Bassett (Calif.) at Kealakehe, 7 p.m.
» Kailua at Kahuku, 7 p.m.
» Anuenue vs. Kaimuki at Kaiser, 5 p.m.
» Roosevelt vs. Kalani at Kaiser, 7:30 p.m.
» Maui vs. Baldwin at War Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
Today, there are so many appetizing cross-league showdowns, fans across the island are in buffet mode. For the first three weekends, this being the second, many of the state's best teams are engaged in the series of battles between the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and Oahu Interscholastic Association.
That's why, even as defending OIA and state champion Kahuku hosts Kailua in a regular-season opener tomorrow night, several other matchups are in the spotlight. Here's a look at tomorrow's entrees:
» Damien at Campbell, 7 p.m.
-- The Monarchs lost a plethora of talent -- most of the offensive line and 1,900-yard rusher Kealoha Pilares -- to graduation. However, the Monarchs went to Kapolei last week and won 27-13. Sione Tau, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound senior, anchors the line. George Martin, now a senior, is back at quarterback.
Campbell landed at No. 10 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10 after an impressive 17-6 win at Castle last weekend. "For the poll itself, some kids look at it. Some don't. I don't key on it because any day of the week, you could lose and you're out," Sabers coach Tumoana Kennessy said. "The final one is what counts. For now, it serves its purpose. It keeps people excited."
» Pac-Five at Radford, 7 p.m. -- The Rams may have lost to Iolani, but they showed healthy signs of rebounding from the mass exodus of talent. Last year's team reached the Division II state final, but the offense remains dangerous. New quarterback Epa Maika was often effective in finding Kyle Blair and Justin Lord downfield.
The Wolfpack are dressing in retro fashion, wearing the white helmets that were in vogue during two Prep Bowl championships in the 1980s. Shandon Augustus, a 5-10, 175-pound senior, ran for 176 yards in a win over Kaiser. Last year's greenhorn defense -- many sophomores had to learn on the job -- is bigger, faster and wiser.
» No. 8 Iolani at No. 5 Mililani, 7 p.m. -- The Trojans faced bigger foes in scrimmages against Kahuku and Kamehameha, but Iolani presents a different look, no doubt. Mililani's run-first philosophy is intact, but quarterback Rustin Funakoshi has been granted more freedom this season. Jordan Torres, a senior running back, is due for a breakout season.
Iolani's defense will be tested, but the same is true of Mililani's relatively young secondary. Iolani signal-caller Ryan Dung had command of the no-huddle, run-and-shoot offense in the comeback win over Radford.
» Konawaena vs. Kauai, Vidinha Stadium, 7 p.m. -- The three-time Kauai Interscholastic Federation champions are back home after a 26-point win at Keaau. Pono Matthews is back at quarterback, and Kauai is still in a ground-oriented version of their run-and-shoot offense.
"We had six, five and six turnovers in our first three games last year, so we scrapped the passing and went to the shotgun option," coach Kelii Morgado said. Adapting to personnel was key, and though the option had always been in the playbook, it was the first time in his seven seasons that the Red Raiders went that way.
Free safety Justin Jumawan-Perreira is one of the top defenders in the KIF.
» McKinley at Kapolei, 7 p.m. -- The Tigers have another difficult task, but getting used to high-caliber competition is a must because the OIA Red East can be brutal. Quarterback Tilton Kaluna had a promising start last season before suffering an injury.
Kapolei will face a defense that frustrated Saint Louis for more than a half.
» Bassett (Calif.) at Kealakehe, 7 p.m. -- Last year's Big Island Division I champions have a new coach, Cliff Waters, and some familiar names, including quarterback Keoki Limahai.
» Kailua at No. 2 Kahuku, 7 p.m.
-- The Red Raiders open a new era under first-year coach Reggie Torres. Even as late as yesterday, many starting positions weren't locked up, and in Torres' view, nobody is guaranteed anything. That's the nature of competition on a squad that is 97 strong.
The Surfriders opened with offensive fireworks at Leilehua last week before falling 27-21. First-year quarterback Zachary Akamine will be tested by a young, but talented, Kahuku defense. If Kaniela Tuipulotu's ankle has healed well, it could be a challenging night for Kailua's large offensive line.
» Anuenue vs. Kaimuki, Kaiser Stadium, 5 p.m. -- For the pride of Palolo Valley, the first varsity game for Anuenue is also a battle of friends and former teammates. A large number of former Pop Warner teammates -- with the now-defunct Palolo Vikings -- dot the rosters of both teams. Coach Kealoha Wengler's squad isn't deep, but he has some size and talent to work with. Na Koa fell at Pearl City 7-6 last weekend.
Kaimuki is in Division II (White Conference), which suits their relatively small roster (33 players). Dolly Ainuu is among several Bulldogs who may make an impact defensively.
» Roosevelt vs. Kalani, Kaiser Stadium, 7:30 p.m. -- Fans who watch the Anuenue-Kaimuki game can stick around for a rare doubleheader. The Rough Riders are in Division II for the first time, while Kalani is trying to bounce back from a lopsided loss to Kalaheo.
» Maui vs. Baldwin, War Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m. -- A huge turnout under first-year coach David Nesmith has rejuvenated the Sabers, who have not been in serious title contention for a few years. The MIL's leading rusher, Jonathan Los Baños, returns for his senior season.
Baldwin has a new gunslinger, Jordan Helle, in the run-and-shoot offense, and will have to adjust to life without offensive coordinator Pohai Lee. He is now athletic director at Damien.
Tomorrow: A look at Saturday's matchups