[ HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ]
Maui title is up
A key football matchup on the neighbor islands pits fifth-ranked Baldwin and No. 7 Lahainaluna in the opening game of the Maui Interscholastic League's second round tomorrow.
The two teams played to a 6-all tie in the first round and finished in a first-place deadlock at 4-0-1. Thanks to that dead heat in the Division I race, the third- and fourth-place teams now have a better shot at the title.
Though there was a bye week between the first and second rounds -- last week's Maui County Fair marked the halfway point of the season -- there has never been enough cause to add a settle-the-deal matchup.
"There's never been a tiebreaker game," said Maui News sportswriter Rob Collias, who has covered the MIL for 14 years. "It's almost better for King Kekaulike this way."
Under this circumstance, there is no reward for Baldwin or Lahainaluna. In fact, the team that wins the second round will be the outright champion. For third-place finisher King Kekaulike -- which lost to Baldwin (35-0) and Lahainaluna (16-10) -- and Maui, it's a blessing in disguise.
Maui was defeated soundly by all three Division I teams.
However, King Kekaulike or Maui simply need to win the second round to earn a state berth. With other leagues requiring a full season's worth of play just for playoff seeding purposes, the two teams got a gift.
Theoretically, Baldwin and Lahainaluna could finish the MIL season with one loss and still be out of the state tournament if King Kekaulike or Maui wins the second round.
After years of yearning for an MIL title, this is an opportunity King Kekaulike would love to seize.