Thursday, October 18, 2001
Expect the temperature in Kaneohe to rise a few degrees at around 7:30 tomorrow night.
in OIA clash
Aiea's Laolagi chases record
for TD passes in tomorrow
night's game against Kaiser
By Jason Kaneshiro
Castle and Kailua renew their Windward rivalry in a key Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference football contest and a rematch of last season's memorable playoff battle.
"It's a heated rivalry between the two schools," said Castle coach Nelson Maeda. "They're close in proximity and things have happened between the schools over the course of the last several years that have intensified the rivalry. ... So I'm sure this is a game they've been waiting for."
The last time the Knights and Surfriders met, nine feet between the ball and the goal line proved to be the difference. Castle's defense, which surrendered 336 yards that night, denied Kailua the final 3 yards to preserve a 7-6 win in the OIA quarterfinals.
The teams enter this year's game tied for second in the OIA Red at 5-1 and fighting for favorable seeding in the upcoming league playoffs.
As in last year's meeting, Kailua owns a distinct size advantage over the Knights. But Castle has thrived on beating bigger opponents all season.
"I don't think size has been a factor for Castle," said Kailua coach Darren Johnson. "We're not saying our size is going to carry us, because other teams had size and it didn't do anything good for them."
The Knights and Surfriders have been equally potent offensively this season, but defense could be the difference. Kailua gives up 237 yards per game, good for third in the conference. Castle is last in the Red, yielding nearly 350 yards per outing.
The Kailua defense's primary task will be to contain Castle quarterback Joel Botelho, who leads the OIA Red in passing and is second in rushing.
While Botelho can pick defenses apart if he has time to stand in the pocket, his improvisational skills make him a defensive coordinator's nightmare.
"Joel is going to get his, we just have to make sure we stop everyone else," Johnson said. "He's most dangerous when he's scrambling and making things happen, but we can't let receivers break out in the open and give up big plays."
Kailua quarterback Taleki Mailau presents similar challenges for the Castle defense. Mailau is a threat running or passing and has quality receivers in Ryan Lum and David Kaihenui. Running back Brenton Harbottle rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Farrington last week.
"Harbottle adds another dimension to the running game," Maeda said. "He's a little scooter and when he's running behind those big linemen on their zone-dives and counter-treys, he's a tough back to defend. We're going to have to play assignment football and get 11 guys swarming to the ball."
Farther up the Windward coast, Kahuku can clinch a tie for the OIA Red championship on its home field with a win over Campbell. The Red Raiders enter the game at 6-0 and ranked as high as 18th in national polls.
The Kahuku offense continues to steamroll opposing defenses. The Red Raiders racked up 376 yards in last week's 43-8 win over Leilehua and average 412 yards per game.
In the OIA White conference, Aiea's Lole Laolagi is threatening to break the league record for touchdown passes in a season. Laolagi has tossed 24 scoring passes going into tomorrow's game at Kaiser and needs three more to tie the mark set last year by former Cougar quarterback B.J. Bernard.
Also in the OIA White, a long losing streak could come to an end Saturday night when Waialua hosts winless Kalani. Waialua is looking for its first win since Sept. 10, 1999 when it beat Kalaheo. Kalani beat Waialua 20-12 last season for its only win of the year.
A battle between Kamehameha and Punahou highlights this week's Interscholastic League of Honolulu schedule. The contest is the 7:30 p.m. feature game of Saturday's doubleheader at Aloha Stadium. Pac-Five takes on St. Louis in the first game. Iolani hosts Damien tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.
Loyalties on the west side of the Big Island will also be tested tomorrow when Konawaena and Kealakehe meet in a battle of 4-0 teams.
The game for sole possession of first place in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation is set for 7:15 p.m. at Old Airport field in Kailua-Kona.
OIA playoff sites set: The schedule for the abbreviated OIA football playoffs has been finalized.
The playoffs open Nov. 1 with a doubleheader at Aloha Stadium. The first game (Red champion vs. White third-place) will start at 5:05 p.m. The second game (White champion vs. Red fourth-place) kicks off at 7:35.
The other quarterfinal games are set for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3. The Red and White conference runners-up meet at Mililani. The third- and fifth-place teams in the Red play at Moanalua.
The winners advance to the league championship games Nov. 9 at Aloha Stadium. The winners will be declared OIA co-champions.
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