HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hercules Sula helped Farrington finish the regular season second in the OIA Red West. The Governors have a bye this week.
Governors feeling slighted by OIA
Farrington earned the right to host a playoff game but is forced to hit the road by TV
The Governors of Farrington are protesting, unofficially, about injustice.
That is good and expected of a Governor. Problem is, it is their own league and a TV entity that they are lobbying.
Farrington, the second seed in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East, expected to host a second-round playoff game next week against Mililani, the third seed in the Red West.
However, the game will be played at Mililani. A decision by the OIA's football committee, following discussions with OC 16, prompted the decision. The league and OC 16 have enjoyed a long, mutually beneficial relationship for more than a decade. That matters little to Farrington players and fans, though.
"My coach is not happy," OIA football coordinator Harold Tanaka said of Randall Okimoto. Tanaka, a former Governors coach, is also Farrington's athletic director. Working out viable schedules and TV coverage is always a key part of his role as coordinator.
Roosevelt High School's field, which is Farrington's adopted home turf, is not available. Tanaka said part of the facility will be under construction this week.
OC 16 uses Mililani's field as a base and only occasionally deviates. Games have been televised from Kahuku and Kapolei this year, but Mililani is ideal because of equipment setup for production crew.
Okimoto, however, points out that OC 16 will televise a game from Castle High School tomorrow. "As far as I know, what I've been told, it would be a problem for (OC 16) to move the site, but I don't see a problem. They're televising from Castle," the former UH running back said. "According to the OIA rules, we should be hosting."
OIA executive director Dwight Toyama said that's not so. "With the playoffs, there's no guarantee that you get the home site," he noted.
In addition, the reason for OC 16's telecast from Castle is a lack of choice. The school will have a memorial service after the game for lineman Patrick Kapahu, who died from injuries suffered in a skateboard accident two weeks ago. Because of the service, the game could not be moved to Mililani. Moving the game to Saturday was not an option because of the funeral for Kapahu.
OC 16 will have to absorb extra costs on top of the one-night $18,000 expense of renting production equipment.
Toyama is sympathetic to Farrington's plight, but went with OC 16's preference. "We looked at the big picture. Our committee looked at the whole scenario. We had to do what's best for the league," he said.
That means, in the league's contract with OC 16, that the best possible matchup gets on the air. The bigger factor, though, is cost.
"Mililani is their base, and if (the crew) has to travel, there's an extra cost factor to relay the fiber. It's a huge amount (of money)," Toyama said.
Neutral fields like Roosevelt and Moanalua aren't viable now or in the future. OC 16's trailer is too big to fit at those facilities, Toyama added.
Even with those explanations, the Governors and their fans aren't exactly smiling.
"It's very hard to explain this to the kids," Okimoto said. "We've been preaching to them that this, getting the highest seed we can, is what we're fighting for. But they're smart enough to know. They're asking, 'Why is this happening?' I don't know what to say."
Okimoto is hoping for a change of minds by the end of this week. If worse comes to worst, he has a preference of his own.
"We'd rather host than be on TV," he said.
In the meantime, the OIA Red playoffs kick off with the Aiea-Castle game tomorrow, while No. 1 Saint Louis and No. 4 Kamehameha square off in a key Interscholastic League of Honolulu battle. Here's a look at tomorrow's games:
Aiea (3-5, 2-4) at Castle (3-5, 3-3)
-- Two run-and-shoot offenses are back to relatively good health and set to fire away. Aiea boasts a healthy Lofa Liilii, an All-State wide receiver last season, and a plethora of other talented pass catchers. Defensively, though, Aiea has size and speed that could potentially nullify Castle's offense.
"Our backs are against the wall in a must-win game for both teams," Castle coach Nelson Maeda said. "Aiea, as you know, has many weapons and a very physical defense. We need to up our game to have a chance to win."
Castle's Bryce Ukauka ranked as one of the Red East's top passers, and the team is still recovering from the death of Kapahu. Playing at home is a major plus for the Knights, who nearly upset Saint Louis there in early September.
Iolani (3-3-1, 1-2-1) vs. Pac-Five (2-5, 0-4), Aloha Stadium
-- The Wolfpack have size, speed and numbers, which makes this year's struggle in league play tough to digest. A play here, a play there, and Pac-Five could be in first place. Instead, at this point, the 'Pack are in the role of a spoiler. Iolani needs a win to keep chasing D-II frontrunner Damien, which is 2-1-1 in league play.
In the first meeting between these teams, Pac-Five outgained Iolani 351-288. Pac-Five ran wild until the second half, when Iolani shut down the 'Pack (33 yards). Jordan Ho-Ching, who had 130 rushing yards in that game, had only one carry after intermission. Justin Yamamoto, meanwhile, ran for 182 yards on a career-high 29 attempts in the Raiders' 24-14 win.
No. 1 Saint Louis (7-0, 4-0) vs. No. 4 Kamehameha (6-2, 2-2), Aloha Stadium -- The Crusaders faced a Punahou team that was desperate for a win last week and came away with a win. This time, it's the Warriors who are in need, and this time, it's about survival. A loss for Kamehameha would end its title hopes.
Unlike Punahou, Kamehameha kept Saint Louis' option attack under control when they met a month ago. In fact, Saint Louis managed just 82 rushing yards, but quarterback Micah Mamiya's skills made the difference. He passed for 193 yards without a pick, and ran for an 11-yard touchdown with 6:13 left in the Crusaders' 10-3 win.
Defense could be pivotal again. Saint Louis sacked Kamehameha's Michael Hoke eight times in the first meeting and stopped two Kamehameha drives that began inside the red zone.
Kaiser (6-2, 6-1) at Waipahu (6-2-1, 5-1-1) (homecoming)
-- This is going to be good black-and-blue football, a battle of wills between Waipahu's posse of option-offense running backs and Kaiser's prolific Isaac Saffery. The senior has run for more than 250 yards in each of his last two games. At stake is the top seed in the White playoffs.
Waialua (5-2, 4-2) at Nanakuli (2-5-1, 2-4-1) (homecoming) -- The Bulldogs are coming off a key win over Pearl City but can't afford to nap against the surging Golden Hawks. Nanakuli was a hot team, winning two and tying once before losing handily to Kaimuki. The Hawks limited Kaimuki to 197 total yards, but surrendered 19 points in a pivotal second quarter.
Pearl City (5-2-1, 4-2-1) at Roosevelt (4-5, 3-4) -- The Chargers want to secure one of the four playoff berths in the White Conference, while Roosevelt is one of the most erratic teams in the state. Antoin DeWalt rushed for 197 yards in a 14-7 loss at Waialua last week.
Kalani (0-8, 0-7) vs. Kaimuki (4-3-1, 4-2-1) (homecoming), Kaiser Stadium -- The Bulldogs are in a tie for fourth place and the final playoff spot with Pearl City, a team they tied 29-all last month. The second tiebreaker, after head-to-head play, is the combined record of opponents defeated.
Kaimuki has beaten Anuenue (1-7), Kaiser (6-1), Roosevelt (3-4) and Nanakuli (2-4-1); their combined conference record is 12-16-1. Pearl City has defeated Nanakuli (2-4-1), Kalani (0-7), Waipahu (5-1-1) and Anuenue (1-7) for a combined mark of 8-19-2. If the Chargers defeat Roosevelt, the combined record of the teams they've beaten will be 11-24-3.
If Kaimuki downs Kalani, the combined record of the teams it has beaten will be 12-24-1.
In other words, Pearl City not only needs to win, but is hoping that Waipahu and Kalani improve their records. Kaimuki is in the same boat, needing a win over Kalani while hoping for victories by Kaiser and Roosevelt.
Waiakea (3-5, 3-4) at Honokaa (4-4, 4-3)
-- The Dragons can't afford to let last week's loss to Keaau keep them down. The chase for the D-II title is neck-and-neck with Konawaena and Kamehameha-Hawaii.
Ka'u (0-7, 0-7) at Konawaena (5-3, 5-2) -- The Wildcats rebounded from a loss to KS-Hawaii by winning on the road against Hawaii Prep last week.
Kapaa (1-5, 0-4) vs. Waimea (4-2, 2-2), Hanapepe Stadium
-- The Warriors showed signs of resilience last week, leading first-place Kauai at the half before losing 21-10. Daniel Lizama, who ran for 98 yards and a touchdown, had a score in the first matchup with Waimea. The Menehunes have defeated Kapaa 27-7 and 35-21 this season.
Maui (1-6, 0-2) vs. Pac-3 (0-6, 0-1) (homecoming), War Memorial Stadium
-- The last time these teams met, the Sabers won 37-7. Jonathan Los Baños, who scored a TD in that game, leads the MIL with 805 yards (6.9 per carry). Pac-Three's Andrew Pacheco is fourth with 548 yards.
Kamehameha-Maui (2-5-1, 0-1-1) at King Kekaulike (4-2, 1-0) -- The battle of Pukalani was dead even in the first round. The difference was missed PATs in King K's 14-12 win. Shannon Kamakaokalani of Na Alii is second among rushers with 794 yards.