HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
This time, Kealakehe opens away from home
When the First Hawaiian Bank/Hawaii High School Athletic Association State Football Championships kicks off Friday, the Division I tourney will have a certain feeling of deja vu.
While Saint Louis has the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the Division I tourney, the schedule pits familiar postseason foes and locations. Yesterday's coaches meeting at Aloha Stadium confirmed Waianae and Iolani as new first-round host sites.
Kealakehe, which played Waianae in last year's opening round, will get to visit the Seariders this time at Raymond Torii Field. The tournament site location for the matchup of Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion and Oahu Interscholastic Association runner-up was switched twice this season, from the Big Island to Mililani, and now to Waianae. That wasn't easy for Kealakehe (11-0) to stomach, especially with last-minute travel plans.
"It's extremely difficult for us to land at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, then drive out to Waianae in a yellow bus. Those are the arrangements that were made by the (HHSAA), but those are the cards we're dealt," coach Cliff Walters said. "I'm not faulting them (the HHSAA), but the logistics are difficult."
Arriving on Oahu the night before is out of the question.
"We just can't afford to go the night before," Walters said. "My kids just want to play a football game and hopefully give them a good game."
Eighth-ranked Kealakehe has hosted first-round games in the past two years. Leilehua won in '04, and Waianae won last season, 21-14.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Top-seeded Saint Louis (10-0) awaits the Kealakehe-Waianae victor. The Seariders (7-4), ranked No. 3 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, are coming off a tough 7-0 loss to Kahuku in the OIA title game.
The other first-round game pits Mililani, the OIA's third-place qualifier, against Maui Interscholastic League champion Baldwin (9-0-1).
The Baldwin-Mililani winner will face Kahuku in the semifinals.
The Division II championships should prove to be as interesting. Generally comprised of smaller schools and rosters, the field in recent years has showcased a healthy number of future college players. Kamehameha-Hawaii, which repeated as BIIF champion, sent Ian Dulan to BYU. He is a starter on the defensive line as a true freshman.
Former KS-Hawaii quarterback Mana Silva is redshirting at Oregon State.
The Warriors will host OIA champion Waipahu (7-2-2), a 22-6 winner over Kaimuki in Friday's league title game.
The KS-Hawaii/Waipahu winner will visit unbeaten Kauai, the top seed in the tourney.
Kaimuki (6-4-1) has little time to lament the loss to Waipahu. The Bulldogs will face ILH champion Iolani. The Raiders are on the upswing after a 33-19 win over Damien to claim the crown.
Iolani (5-5-1), the defending D-II state champion, is seeded third in the tournament and will host Kaimuki on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Eddie Hamada Field.
The winner will advance to the semifinals, where MIL titlist King Kekaulike awaits after drawing a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed.
"Getting the bye is a luxury. We're happy to have one," first-year head coach J.W. Kenton said.
Na Alii are in their first state tourney ever, not long after switching from Division I to D-II.
Division I Tournament
At various sites
1. Saint Louis. 2. Kahuku. 3. Baldwin. 4. Kealakehe.
Kealakehe at Waianae, 7:30 p.m.
Baldwin vs. Mililani, at War Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
Game 1 winner vs. Saint Louis, at Aloha Stadium, 5 or 8 p.m.
Game 2 winner vs. Kahuku, at Aloha Stadium, 5 or 8 p.m.
Winners of Games 3 and 4, at Aloha Stadium, 8 p.m.
Division II Tournament
At various sites
1. Kauai. 2. King Kekaulike. 3. Iolani. 4. Kamehameha-Hawaii.
Waipahu at Kamehameha-Hawaii, 7:30 p.m.
Kaimuki at Iolani, 2 p.m.
Game 1 winner vs. Kauai, at Vidinha Stadium, Kauai, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 winner vs. King Kekaulike, at War Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
Winners of Games 3 and 4, at Aloha Stadium, 5 p.m.