HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Leilehua quarterback Andrew Manley and his Mules teammates play at home against Iolani quarterback Kela Marciel and his Raiders teammates tomorrow night in Wahiawa.
Iolani travels to Leilehua for battle of state champs
One day, a super conference -- comprised of the best teams from private and public schools -- could redefine high school football on Oahu.
Until then, however, the exotic nature of "crossover" games between the island's two leagues provide intrigue. This fall, once again, the private schools of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu tangle with Division I teams from the public schools of the Oahu Interscholastic Association. For old-timers, this has a 1960s vibe.
Back then, Leeward and Central Oahu were dotted by schools in the Rural Oahu Interscholastic Association. In essence, this weekend's crossover games are country-vs.-townie school battles.
Since ILH and OIA schools don't meet again until the postseason, fans get their taste of the other side early and, in some cases, not again for two years.
Here's a look at this weekend's matchups.
No. 8 Iolani at No. 2 Leilehua
The game showcases the defending state champions in Divisions I and II.
The good news for the reloaded D-I Mules (1-0) is that Andrew Manley threw for 372 yards in a win at Radford last week.
The not-so-good news is that he was hit nine times. Defensively, though, the Mules are stalwart and will be working to try and corral Iolani (1-0), especially quarterback Kela Marciel. The scrambling senior amassed 250 total yards in a win over Kamehameha-Maui last week.
No. 4 Kamehameha at No. 5 Kapolei
The Warriors (1-0) were scintillating in last week's rout of Kahuku at Aloha Stadium.
Kapolei (1-0), meanwhile, quietly rolled over the Warriors of Kamehameha's Big Island campus. Simione Vehikite (90 yards rushing) and Cyril Ontai (102 yards) hammered away while Chad Lopati and Luke Spencer anchored a tough defense.
Kamehameha's Kapalama squad, however, may be the most effective offensive machine in the state. Ryan Ho broke out with scoring runs of 80 and 71 yards against Kahuku, and Edmund Kamano was nearly flawless in his debut as a starting quarterback.
Damien at Pearl City
Make no bones about it, the Monarchs (1-0) are still tough against OIA Red teams in crossover games. Wally Aina's return as head coach was triumphant last week vs. McKinley.
Brenan Furtado ran for 100 yards, but could find the going tougher this week. The defense for Pearl City (0-1) permitted just 8 rushing yards against Aiea last week.
Kailua at No. 8 Kahuku
Both teams are trying to bounce back from tough times. Kailua heads into its opener without quarterback Kenny Ellis, who was hurt in a scrimmage two weeks ago. Kahuku (0-1) was shut out by Kamehameha last week. The Red Raiders, employing a new offense and defense, have the benefit of being healthy, at least.
No. 6 Farrington at Roosevelt
The Rough Riders (0-1) return to the Red and the Governors (1-0) are the welcoming party.
Farrington was solid in a win at Waianae. First-year starting quarterback Dayton Kealoha didn't throw a pick and a physical defense allowed only one touchdown.
Roosevelt's run-and-shoot poses a different challenge, though. The Rough Riders lost a close one to Campbell last week, passing for just 127 yards.
Waialua at Campbell
The Sabers (1-0) earned a tough win on the road at Roosevelt in Amosa Amosa's debut as head coach. Lalo Respecio threw for 268 yards as Campbell displayed a run-and-shoot offense for the first time in more than a decade.
The Bulldogs (0-1) are relying on underclassmen, particularly on defense, but lost two key starters to injury in the loss to Pac-Five.
Anuenue at Kaiser
Both teams are coming off nonconference losses. Na Koa (0-1) had a 14-0 fourth-quarter lead at Kohala before falling. A new Double-Wing offense could pose problems against a gritty, but thin, Cougars (0-1) lineup.
Word of Life at Moanalua
The Firebrands (1-0) and Na Menehune are treating this like a bowl game of sorts, gathering for a dinner tonight. Coaches Joe Onosai of Word of Life and Arnold Martinez of Moanalua are bible-study friends, but once the game kicks off, Na Menehune will have to deal with an efficient Double-Wing attack in its opener.
Word of Life netted 217 rushing yards in a win at Nanakuli last week.
Kamehameha-Hawaii at Baldwin
The Warriors (0-1) are regrouping after losing key seniors and coach Ulima Afoa, now the athletic director at Saint Louis.
Baldwin, meanwhile, is adjusting without defensive end Mana Rosa for its opener at War Memorial Stadium. Rosa is recovering from surgery to repair an injured forearm.
Waimea at Konawaena
The Menehunes open their season against the Wildcats (1-0), who are still stoked about a rare (nonconference) win over Big Island powerhouse Kealakehe.
Kawika Karratti's game-winning field goal was set up by defensive back Daniel Royce, whose fourth pick -- in the end zone -- turned the game around.
Waianae at No. 1 Punahou
The Seariders (0-1) are young and learning on the job. Senior running back Danny Kekoanui is key to the Wing-T offense.
Punahou opens its season as the preseason No. 1 for the first time in years, but linebacker Manti Te'o and defensive end Kimo Makaula (committed to UH) are D-I college prospects, to say the least.
Te'o will see time on offense for the Buffanblu, as well, to bolster perhaps the state's finest skill-position starters in quarterback Cayman Shutter, running back Dalton Hilliard and wide receiver Robbie Toma.
No. 3 Saint Louis at Mililani
This is a matchup of former Saint Louis all-state quarterbacks in coaches John Hao (Crusaders) and Darnell Arceneaux (Trojans).
The Crusaders are deeper and have potential first-team all-state pass catchers in Lucas Gonsalves and Billy Stutzmann, but Mililani (0-1) already has a game in.
In its loss to Castle, the Trojans racked up 249 total yards with first-year quarterbacks Matt Milton (transfer from Pac-Five) and Josh Manuma at the helm. Defenses continue to double-team Mililani playmaker Dalaunte Stevenson, who managed to return a kick 80 yards for a score.
Pac-Five at Waipahu
The Wolfpack (1-0) are very young (39 sophomores), but got a massive effort from Darin Kamealoha, who had 129 receiving yards and ran 58 yards for a score on a fake punt in a win over Waialua.
Waipahu (1-0) is back home after a lopsided road win against Keaau.
Pac-Five's fairly successful history against OIA Red teams makes this a big test for the Marauders, who return to Division I this fall.
Edison (CALIF.) at Lahainaluna
The visiting Chargers, a perennial power in the CIF, return 12 starters and welcome a host of newcomers from an unbeaten JV squad.
The Lunas reached the semifinals of the Division II state tourney last season. Even with the loss of key players (Lake Casco, Simione Vehikite), their modified Wing-T offense might catch Edison off guard in the opener for both teams.
CalPreps.com predicts a 26-17 win for the Chargers.
Kealakehe at King Kekaulike
The visiting Waveriders (0-1) are in evaluation mode after rotating three quarterbacks during last week's stunning loss to Konawaena. The host Na Alii, meanwhile, are kicking off a busy nonconference schedule that includes a trip to coach J.W. Kenton's stomping grounds in Florida.
Kaimuki vs. No. 10 Castle
The Bulldogs (1-0) have the muscle and experience -- Justin Paderes is one of the OIA's top running backs. Whether they have the stamina to keep up with Castle's no-huddle, run-and-shoot offense at Roosevelt Stadium is yet to be seen. Lefty Blake Rapozo threw for 206 yards and three touchdowns for the Knights (1-0) in a win over Mililani last week.
Aiea at Radford
A year ago, these teams were in the OIA Red, and now they are contenders in the White. Na Alii (1-0) limited Pearl City to just 140 total yards last week. The Rams (1-0) have size and talent, but threw four interceptions in the loss to Leilehua last week.
Kalaheo vs. Kalani
This is a matchup of Ironmen. Kalaheo (1-0), with just 22 players, won at Maui 44-0 last week. Phil Tauai has stepped in at quarterback with success (268 total yards against the Sabers).
The game at Kailua High represents the opener for the Falcons.