Officially, it wasn’t a meeting.
“It was a very informal phone conversation with the football coordinator (Georges Gilbert),” Ane said on Tuesday. “It was more talking about the game so we’re aware of things.”
Clearly, in a new world of rule changes to protect players, the word is safety, and that word appears to have reached every team in the ILH. Kamehameha had collected more than its share of yellow flags for late hits and unnecessary roughness in a win over Saint Louis three weeks ago. But in games against ‘Iolani and Punahou, that propensity declined significantly.
In the Kamehameha-Saint Louis game, Crusaders quarterback Ryder Kuhns was hit late several times, and running back Adam Noga was decleated, landing on his head, more than 30 yards away from the ball. A Saint Louis offensive lineman, at the end of a sideline play, was targeted by a Warrior and landed on his back after a taking the full brunt of a helmet-to-helmet launch.
Flags flew and penalties were assessed. After the game, ILH executive director Don Botelho said no additional action was taken because the officials association had not submitted a report.
On Saturday, a Kamehameha player put a crackback block on a Punahou defender during a punt return. ‘Iolani had a similar crackback block on an opponent in another game earlier in the season.
It is the kind of block that has been common enough on similar plays over the years, but the emphasis on safety and leaving vulnerable, “defenseless” players alone is causing confusion. By the book, it is a legal block and no penalties was called.
During the Saint Louis-‘Iolani game, also on Saturday, a Crusader put a late hit on an unaware ‘Iolani player as a play ended, drawing a personal foul. It happens in practically every game at least once. How much of it is within the normal process of a violent sport? That’s something for each league to review.
The dropoff in personal foul calls against Kamehameha since the Saint Louis game is noteworthy. Officially, there hasn’t been a meeting, not of coaches, not of administrators. But word seems to have gotten around.
“That’s great. It shows that everyone can compete hard without endangering kids,” Ane said.
Another issue: a possible three-way tie. If Saint Louis beats Punahou on Oct. 4 while both teams and Kamehameha run the table on their other games (against ILH D-II teams), there would be a three-way tie in ILH D-I. The new format goes like this: the second-place team plays the third-place team while the regular-season winner has a bye. The winner then plays the top team.
“It’s something the league is still looking at,” Ane said. “It may be a coin toss.”