HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Iolani’s goal is to keep Saint Louis off balance
Raiders will go no-huddle against No. 1
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The Iolani Raiders don't exactly rush through a game.
They just make life for opposing defenses uncomfortable, to say the least. When the Raiders line up with No. 1-ranked Saint Louis tomorrow night, they'll use their now-traditional no-huddle offense to keep the bigger Crusaders off balance.
It doesn't hurt the Raiders, of course, to have a quarterbacks coach (Joel Lane) who was once an all-state quarterback at Saint Louis. Still, despite Iolani's prolific run-and-shoot offense, Saint Louis has lost only once to the Raiders in the past eight years.
The Saint Louis-Iolani matchup is one of several key showdowns across the state this weekend. On Saturday, first-place Kahuku visits Castle in a big Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East game.
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To huddle or not, that is the question.
Teams like Iolani -- speedy, slightly undersized and able to expertly read hand signals from the sideline -- excel in the no-huddle. Farrington gave it a couple of tries last week against Kahuku and had astounding results.
It wasn't until halfway through the game that the Governors found a kryptonite for Kahuku's swarming defense. That kryptonite, the no-huddle, led directly to a late first-half touchdown for Farrington. In fact, quarterback Alefesio Iu looked so fluid and smooth in the uptempo offense, Farrington coach Randall Okimoto admitted later that he thought about establishing the no-huddle for the rest of the game.
However, Kahuku scored on the opening drive of the second half to open a 20-7 lead, and Farrington stuck to its gameplan. The Govs did not return to the no-huddle until the final minutes, down 27-7. After Iu threw two completions in a row, he left with a leg injury.
The southpaw's statistics tell an interesting story. In a regular tempo, huddle offense, Iu was 11-for-21 for 96 passing yards with one interception.
In the no-huddle, Iu was 7-for-7 for 106 yards, one touchdown and no picks. Farrington rushed for a season-low 20 yards on 24 attempts against a tremendous Kahuku front that included two-way starter Anthony Siilata. Maybe a no-huddle will be in store if the two teams meet in the playoffs. That is, if Iu is healthy.
Here's a look at this weekend's matchups:
Iolani (4-2, 3-0) vs. No. 1 Saint Louis (5-0, 2-0)
-- Coach Delbert Tengan, whose Saint Louis team has to prepare for Iolani's no-huddle this week, admits that it means more work.
"It's most effective if they mix it up, pass and run, and get the chains moving, get you on your heels," he said. "Our linemen get winded and you can't do your normal rotation. If they get a 10- to 12-play drive, that offense really makes things rough."
Iolani assistant coach Joel Lane is a former all-state quarterback from Saint Louis. Iolani coach Wendell Look and his masterful staff look for every possible angle.
"I know Wendell tries to see what kind of hand he's getting dealt, see what you're lining up in," Tengan said. "So sometimes we try to hide how we're doing coverage-wise, stand in a neutral position. You don't roll into your coverage until the quarterback is ready to accept the snap. You don't want to show your hand."
Three years ago -- Oct. 16, 2004 to be exact -- the no-huddle was a dominant factor in Iolani's 36-31 upset. It was the Raiders' only win over Saint Louis in the last nine matchups.
"That was a big factor. The whole defense was tired," then-Saint Louis lineman Tyson Alualu said.
Since then, Saint Louis has won the last two meetings 35-3 and 44-21. Iolani, outscored 288-99 in the last nine games, is just hoping for a longshot's chance.
Iolani quarterback Kela Marciel leads the ILH in passing yardage (577 yards) and accuracy (67 percent). Receivers Ronnie Hirokawa (12 receptions, 158 yards), Reid Furukawa (nine catches, 183 yards) and Lionel Fujioka (eight receptions, 154 yards) are among the top five in receptions.
Saint Louis quarterback Micah Mamiya has thrown four touchdowns without a pick in two league games.
No. 2 Punahou (3-1, 1-1) vs. Pac-Five (1-4, 0-2) -- The Wolfpack have a solid defense, but they'll need to move the ball to post a win over the Buffanblu. Pac-Five had Iolani on the ropes in its last game, but the Raiders eventually wore down the 'Pack defense. Punahou has not allowed more than 14 points in this series for the last nine meetings.
Kailua (2-5, 2-3) vs. Moanalua (2-3-1, 1-3) -- The future is looking bright for the Surfriders, who toppled Kalaheo last week and revived playoff hopes. Moanalua is in the same boat, notching its first conference win of the season last week over McKinley.
Kailua won last year's matchup, 27-18.
Moanalua quarterback Jordan Monico is back to form and has thrown six touchdown passes with just two picks. He also ranks fourth in the Red East in rushing.
Aiea (4-3, 3-2) at No. 10 Leilehua (3-3, 2-2) -- Na Alii are averaging nearly 25 points per game in the last three weeks, including 30 against a tough Waianae defense last week. Keenan Naeole leads the OIA Red West in passing yardage (957 yards) and touchdown passes (seven). The senior left-hander has completed 60 percent of his attempts. James Buchanan has 19 catches for 372 yards to lead the Red West in receiving yardage.
Leilehua, coming off a 21-0 loss at Kapolei, has a history of close battles with Aiea. Since 2000, Leilehua won in '00 (17-14), '04 (21-14) and '06 (24-20). Aiea won in '02 (15-12) and '05 (14-13).
On top of that, Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda is an Aiea graduate.
No. 8 Kapolei (4-2, 2-2) at Radford (0-5, 0-4) -- The Rams won last year's matchup 37-7 as Epa Maika threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns. This time, Maika doesn't have standout wide receiver Kyle Blair, who graduated. Radford's defense had quarterback Mason Koa's number that night, but the talented senior is now a dangerous wide receiver.
Campbell (2-2-1, 2-2) at No. 4 Mililani (5-1, 3-1) -- Campbell returned to the OIA Red West last season and gave perennial powerhouse Mililani difficulty in a 21-17 loss. In fact, the Trojans have lost two of the last five meetings between the teams.
Campbell sophomore Samson Anguay has scored five touchdowns and is averaging nearly 12 yards per carry. Mililani quarterback Rustin Funakoshi's favorite target is Dalaunte Stevenson, who has 17 catches for 223 yards.
Kaimuki (5-1, 5-0) at Waialua (2-4, 1-4) -- The Bulldogs -- Waialua, that is -- won last year's matchup 24-21. Kaimuki rushed for just 60 yards that night, but this year's team ranks second in OIA White rushing. Justin Paderes leads the conference with 638 yards and has scored eight touchdowns thanks to one of the best offensive lines in the league.
Anuenue (4-3, 3-3) at Pearl City (3-2-1, 3-2) -- Na Koa have barely two dozen players, and the big question now is fatigue. Last year's team gave up just 21 points per game in the first four games, but surrendered 31.6 in the final five contests. A conversion from the aerial game to a ground attack helped Anuenue pull out a close win at Nanakuli last week. Twenty-six of 28 plays were runs.
Pearl City running back Antoin DeWalt ranks sixth in the White Conference with 415 yards and five touchdowns.
Kaiser (2-4, 2-3) at Roosevelt (4-2, 4-2) -- The rapidly improving Cougars still have playoff hopes, but the Rough Riders will be ready. Roosevelt still remembers last year's 50-0 loss to Kaiser.
Damien (2-2-1, 1-1) at No. 6 Kamehameha (1-2-1, 0-2)
-- The Warriors have won the last eight meetings, but the past two have been quite interesting. Kamehameha won in '05, 21-14, and again last year, 31-15. Damien is coming off a three-week layoff, but Kama Bailey should be at full strength. The senior leads the ILH with 434 yards (11.4 per carry) in league action.
Farrington (3-2-1, 3-1) vs. McKinley (0-5, 0-4) -- The Tigers are truly a longshot to make the playoffs, but a win over a team with a good record would go a long way if a three-way tie for a playoff berth unfolds.
No. 2t Kahuku (4-2, 4-0) at Castle (3-3, 3-1) -- The Knights upset the Red Raiders two years ago, 23-6. Kahuku won last season's matchup, 34-15, as Junior Mataafa ran for 97 yards. As a team, the Red Raiders rushed for 316 yards.
Nanakuli (2-4, 2-3) at Waipahu (4-2, 4-1) -- The Golden Hawks are trying to climb up the ladder to the playoffs, but the defending White Conference champions are in the way. The teams played to a 7-all tie last season at Nanakuli's field. Waipahu's Keo Palimoo ranks fourth in rushing with 521 yards and five touchdowns. Nanakuli's Solo Sausi is third in rushing with 549 yards and six touchdowns.