ILH keeping close eye on hits

by Paul Honda on September 18, 2013

Aloha Stadium. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Aloha Stadium. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Officially, it wasn’t a meeting.

Still, Punahou coach Kale Ane was willing to discuss the issue with the Interscholastic League of Honolulu before and after his team’s game with Kamehameha over the weekend.

“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.”

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

tubby September 19, 2013 at 7:06 am

Funny thing: in the 40 years I have enjoyed Oahu HS football, I have never heard Kamehameha accused of systemic unsportsmanlike conduct.

mjstc September 19, 2013 at 8:24 am

I wonder what the “new” Kamehameha head coach and his staff have to say about this?

Wuzzzzuuuuuppp September 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I guess Punahou is worried about their “financial aid” players getting hurt and therefore no mo competitive team LOL…its nice to have a good fundraising to buy all the blue chip football players to represent…

Concerned Parent September 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm

That last comment should be stricken. Punahou has some good kids from all sides of the block. To say that the financial aid kids are the football players is racist and hateful. So sad to have ignorant people like yourself in this world.

Wow September 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm

The proper term should be sponsered, not financial aid. If my kid was good enough of an athlete to get his/her education paid by some wealthy Punahou Alum, I for one second would not turn it down. No be jealous.

Sam Owen September 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Haters gonna hate.

tubby September 26, 2013 at 8:20 am

I think the complainers should realize that Punahou will accept all applications for admission. If your kid can cut it academically, in other words, he or she will have a good chance of surviving the curriculum, then the candidate enters the review process. Trust me, there is no place to hide from teachers at the school. If you happen to have intellectual, musical, athletic, or artistic gifts and you cannot pay the full tuition, you may recieve financial aid. Every student that receives financial aid will know where the money came from, and will need to write a letter of thanks: no matter if the student plays the flute, is a gifted painter, writer, or wideout.
Quit complaining and apply to the school.

Kanak October 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

We looked at TONS of game pics….and Punahou had a LOT on uncalled dangerous penalties and even more uncalled holding penalties….Ironic.

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