Star-Bulletin Sports


Above, De La Salle coach Terry Eidson, middle left, talked with St. Louis coach Delbert Tengan at a news conference yesterday. The two teams will face each other on Sept. 21. Siuaki Livai's Kahuku and Raul Lara's Long Beach Poly will also face off that day.

Hype starts
for historic day

Representatives for the
4 schools meet the press
before prep doubleheader

The matchups

By Jason Kaneshiro

The HHSAA/First Hawaiian Bank Football Classic is still 45 days away, but the coaches of the teams involved in the unprecedented high school doubleheader can already see the event's impact on their players.

"The kids are excited," Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai said. "We like to put them to the challenge every year; we look for a great preseason, so the expectations can be high and this is as high as you can go."

The hype for the Sept. 21 doubleheader at Aloha Stadium officially kicked off yesterday as Livai, St. Louis coach Delbert Tengan, De La Salle athletic director Terry Eidson and Long Beach Poly coach Raul Lara gathered for a press conference at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Two-time defending state champion Kahuku faces Long Beach Poly, which finished last season ranked third in the country, at 5 p.m. in the first game of the doubleheader. Interscholastic League of Honolulu power St. Louis will play defending national champion De La Salle at 8 p.m.

University of Hawaii coach June Jones and former St. Louis coach and current athletic director Cal Lee were on hand at the press conference.

While the doubleheader gives the Hawaii teams an opportunity to prove themselves on the national stage, the mainland coaches said the anticipation has added some juice to their preseason workouts as well.

"Since 1998, we've pushed the schedule to make it a little more difficult every year because it does a great job of motivating those kids to work really hard," Eidson said. "Our kids are pretty savvy. They know about St. Louis ... and they know there's good football played here."

De La Salle enters the season as the country's top-ranked team and owns a 125-game winning streak, and the Spartans hope to claim their 126th straight victim on Sept. 12 against Archbishop Mitty in their only game prior to the Classic. After 10 years without a loss, Eidson said "The Streak" has evolved into a motivating tool rather than a distraction for the Spartans.

"That's the beauty of the winning streak," Eidson said. "Our kids take nothing for granted because they realize it's on the line every time. So focus has never been a problem for our players."

Focus is one of Tengan's concerns as he takes over for Cal Lee as head coach at St. Louis. The Crusaders have games with Nanakuli and Punahou prior to the De La Salle game, and Tengan is wary of keeping the players from tripping over the hurdles leading up to Sept. 21 as well as those looming after.

"We need to keep things in perspective," Tengan said. "Our objective is to make sure we can be competitive in our league, win our league, get a chance to get to the state tournament and get a chance to get to the state final. We know this game is a just a steppingstone, it's not going to make or break our season."

Livai has similar concerns as Kahuku jumps into its Oahu Interscholastic Association campaign with its annual showdown with Waianae as well as games with Kalaheo and McKinley.

"In the community, it is the biggest game and right after that they probably talk about St. Louis, and yet for me it's one week at a time," Livai said. "We can talk about all these things, but if one of us loses a game before that it will make a big difference.

"We need to arrive 3-0 to make it as big as we want it to be."

The game is already drawing some national attention as Student Sports has highlighted Sept. 21 as one of the key dates in the prep football schedule nationally.

De La Salle is first in Student Sports' preseason Fab 50 rankings. Poly is eighth and St. Louis is 15th nationally. Kahuku, which had six players sign with NCAA Division I schools after last season, is 16th in the west region.

The buildup is likely to rival that of last year's contest between De La Salle and Poly, when the Spartans and Jackrabbits were ranked 1-2 in the country.

"Last year I was involved in probably one of the biggest high school games ever in high school history and I thought nothing would top it," Lara said. "But now just looking at what's going to happen Sept. 21, I think this is going to top it. It's going to be something special. The state of Hawaii is very lucky to even have something like this."

Tickets on sale: Tickets for the doubleheader go on sale today at Aloha Stadium and Ticket Plus locations.

All seats are reserved and tickets will be good for both games.

Tickets in the orange, blue and brown levels along the sidelines are $24. Sideline seats in the red and yellow levels are $19.

All seats in the south end zone are $14. Orange level seats in the north end zone are $8. All other north end zone seats are $5.

Tickets are available at the Aloha Stadium box office Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by calling 484-1122 (291-3999 from the neighbor islands).

Tickets can also be purchased at all Ticket Plus outlets at or by calling 526-4400 or 1-877-750-4400.

Presale tickets going fast: St. Louis and Kahuku report brisk sales for presale tickets available through the schools.

As of yesterday, St. Louis was approaching 2,500 tickets sold for its sections on the mauka sideline, according to assistant athletic director Georges Gilbert.

Kahuku is also close to selling its allotment of presale tickets in six sections on the makai side. Alison Juliano, who is coordinating the ticket sales through, said most of the sales have come through walk-up sales at the campus store and aren't limited to the North Shore community.

"People are coming in from all over the place," Juliano said.

Seats in the schools' cheering sections are going for $17 each until Aug. 15.

This and that: Long Beach Poly's alumni rolls include several names familiar to Hawaii sports fans. Former UH basketball player Mike McIntyre was a Jackrabbit, as were former football stars Michael Carter, Mark Odom, Chris Roscoe and Daniel Ho-Ching. Others who own Poly diplomas include actor Cameron Diaz, tennis great Billie Jean King, baseball star Tony Gwynn and rapper Snoop Dogg. ... The representation for the games' officiating crews has been set. A seven-person crew consisting of four officials from the ILH and three from the CIF-North Coast Section will oversee the Kahuku-Long Beach Poly game. A crew of four OIA and three CIF-Southern Section officials will call the St. Louis-De La Salle game. ... Air travel for Lara and Eidson for yesterday's press conference was provided by Panda Travel at no expense to the HHSAA.



The Matchups

Kahuku vs. Long Beach Poly, 5 p.m.

Kahuku: Two-time defending state champion, four-time OIA champion ... enters the season with a 23-game winning streak.

Long Beach Poly: Three-time defending CIF-Southern Section champion ... has sent more players to the NFL than any other high school in the country.

St. Louis vs. De La Salle, 8 p.m.

St. Louis: 16-time defending ILH champion ... two years ago, three former Crusader quarterbacks were starting for NCAA Division I teams at the same time (Darnell Arceneaux, Utah; Jason Gesser, Washington State; Timmy Chang, Hawaii).

De La Salle: 10-time defending CIF-North Coast champion ... enters the season with a 125-game winning streak and is 159-1 since 1989.

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