HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Pac-Five meets the departed
This weekend's high school football matchups include some old and new rivalries.
Whether it's an ancient battle like Hilo and Honokaa, or a new one like Pac-Five and Word of Life, there's history to be made.
Here's a look at this weekend's games:
Pac-Five vs. Word of Life
The Firebrands have quite an Interscholastic League of Honolulu opener to make. This could be a jumble of mixed emotions for WLA coach Joe Onosai, who starred for Pac-Five in the 1980s and was head coach there in 2003. Pac-Five's anchor school, Mid-Pacific, rigorously sought autonomy in recent years. That practically forced Word of Life (2-1) to establish its own territory, first on the intermediate level -- where the Firebrands accepted players from other schools, including Mid-Pac -- and now on the varsity perch.
Pac-Five (1-2) is familiar with WLA's Double-Wing offense. However, Word of Life has yet to show its entire playbook, including a series named after the late Wing offense guru Charlie Ane. The series includes plays called "Charlie Left" and "Charlie Right."
Damien vs. No. 9 'Iolani
The Raiders are relatively young, but pulled out a miraculous win over Kaimuki last week. Kela Marciel's switch from quarterback to wide receiver gives 'Iolani (2-1) a dangerous playmaker in open space. Damien (3-0) has won by the hairs of its chinny-chin-chin, but coach Wally Aina has the Monarchs on a roll heading into their ILH opener.
No. 5 Farrington at No. 10 Castle
The Governors (2-1, 1-0 Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East) showed a willingness to open up the offense in the loss to Saint Louis, and quarterback Dayton Kealoha thrived. Farrington's defense will be tested by Castle slinger Blake Rapozo, who is dangerous when he has time. The Knights (2-1, 1-0) got a big game from Shaydon Kehano against Punahou, but first they'll have to tame Farrington's pass rush.
No. 8 Waianae at Pearl City
The Seariders' ground attack went gangbusters against Kapolei (34 points) with a 1-2 punch of Eleu Wilson (290 pounds) and Danny Kekoanui. It was their defense, however, that pitched a shutout against the Hurricanes. Waianae (1-2, 1-0 OIA Red West) forced Kapolei to go to the air and counted on its secondary to match up with success. Pearl City (0-3, 0-1) hasn't fared well against running teams (Damien, Waipahu).
Campbell at Radford
Shootout alert. The Sabers (2-0, 1-0 OIA White) were the coaches' pick to win the league title and have proven them right so far. Quarterback Lalo Respicio has seized control of the new run-and-shoot offense with 463 yards, seven touchdowns and no picks. Radford (2-1, 1-1) has a bomber of its own in Doug Brown, who has thrown for 455 yards, six scores and just two picks in the conference.
Nanakuli at Kapolei
This OIA Red West battle between neighbors gives Nanakuli (1-1) a chance to show it can learn fast. Coach Skip Lopes was ushered into the position just three weeks before the school year began. The Golden Hawks fell to Word of Life, but rebounded with a win over McKinley. Kapolei (1-2, 0-1) is smarting from defeats and injuries (Luke Spencer, Chad Lopati). Simione Vehikite is one of the top running backs in the state, but his increased role as a playmaker on defense limited his offensive workload (one carry against Waianae).
McKinley at Kailua
The Tigers (0-2) have some offensive weapons, like running back Wil Sparks and wide receiver Tevita Woodard, but haven't shown the depth necessary to finish a game strong. Kailua (0-2) has played tough against Kahuku (28-14) and Damien (21-20) in preparation for this OIA Red East opener.
Kalaheo at Aiea
The Mustangs (3-0, 2-0 OIA White) aren't deep (25 players), but have a superior athlete at quarterback in Phil Tauai. Aiea (1-2, 0-2) has beaten a D-I team (Pearl City) and lost big to D-II squads (Radford, Campbell).
Anuenue at Moanalua
Na Koa (0-3, 0-2 OIA White) has sustained some heartbreaking losses, including a five-point loss at Kohala and a one-point loss at Waialua. Moanalua (1-1, 0-1) lost a nail-biter to Radford, but has racked up 590 total yards in two games.
Bonita Vista at KS-Hawaii
The visitors from San Diego lost at Lahainaluna 30-7 last year, but went 7-4 overall and 3-1 in the Mesa League. This will be the third non-Big Island Interscholastic Federation game for KS-Hawaii (0-2), which hasn't played since losing at Baldwin 20-13 two weeks ago.
Honokaa at Hilo
This rivalry goes back to the 1950s. Though Hilo was king then -- and even won the Maui Interscholastic League title once, no kidding -- Honokaa won't back down from any foe. Hilo (0-1) hasn't played since losing at Kauai two weeks ago. Honokaa (1-0) is guided by former Saint Louis coach Ron Marciel.
Ka'u at Konawaena
This rivalry also goes back decades, to a time when Konawaena was infused by a small coffee-farming community and the road between the schools was treacherous and winding. Konawaena eventually became an island dynasty, but has since returned to small-school enrollment numbers. Still, the Wildcats are 3-0, including a win over Kealakehe, and may have its best team in years. This is the first game of the season for Ka'u.
No. 1 Punahou at Central Kitsap
The Buffanblu (2-0) are in the Emerald City Classic (Wash.) for the second time in three years. Quarterback Cayman Shutter (shoulder) is likely out, but backup Kimo Makaula was steady in the win at Castle last week. All eyes will be on Manti Te'o, the top-rated linebacker in the nation. The Cougars have Howard McDonald, who ran for more than 1,500 yards last year.
No. 6 Kahuku at Roosevelt
The Red Raiders (2-1, 1-0 OIA Red East) unveiled their traditional I-formation option in a win at Kealakehe last week. That means more work for opposing defenses and more variety for the six running backs at Kahuku. Roosevelt (1-2, 0-1) has a history of pulling off quirky upsets, but it could be difficult with a dormant passing game.
Waipahu at Mililani
The Marauders (3-0, 1-0 OIA Red West) have been unstoppable (40.7 points per game) behind sensational Troy Matautia, who has rushed for 464 yards and five touchdowns. The quarterback-turned-fullback has touchdowns on punt and kickoff returns, and for good measure has also thrown a scoring pass. Mililani (0-3, 0-1) employed Dalaunte "Taz" Stevenson at running back against Leilehua last week, but needs the passing game (10-for-32, three picks) to pick up.
Kalani at Waialua
There was a time when the Falcons (0-1, 0-1 OIA White) and Bulldogs were on the same level, but Waialua (1-1, 1-0) has improved significantly in recent years. The 'Dogs won 34-7 last year.
Kohala at Hawaii Prep
There's reason for excitement for the Cowboys (2-0), who could challenge for the BIIF's D-II title and face a stiff test in the league opener against Ka Makani. HPA (1-0) won both games with Kohala last season, 43-12 and 31-8.
Keaau at Waiakea
These two East Hawaii rivals open their BIIF slates. Keaau (0-2) is in rebuilding mode and has scored just one TD so far. Waiakea (0-2) is learning discipline the old-school way under new coach William Tolentino, who played under Tim Lino when the program won four BIIF titles in a row.