OIA Red Playoffs
The matchup: Campbell (6-2) vs. McKinley (5-4)
Location/Time: Campbell, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Head-to-head (since 1973): McKinley leads 7-5
Biggest margin of victory: Campbell, 35-0, Oct. 12, 2012
Smallest margin of victory: Campbell, 20-15, Nov. 7, 1996
Campbell’s offensive leadersUpdated: Nov. 18
|Amosa Amosa Jr.||11||30||419||4|
McKinley’s offensive leadersUpdated: Oct. 20
McKinley ended a six-year OIA Red playoff drought in 2012, only to lose 35-0 to Campbell.
The two teams meet again in the quarterfinals on Friday as the Tigers, the No. 3 seed out of the East, face a rested Campbell squad, which defeated Kapolei on the final day of the regular season to earn the West’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.
The Tigers advanced with a 36-15 win over Waipahu behind a defense that forced six turnovers and its third different starting quarterback of the season. Senior Mathias Tuitele-Iafeta proved, at least for a half, the Tigers might be able to move the ball on the Sabers through the air. Tuitele-Iafeta threw for 198 yards and four touchdowns against Waipahu — in the first half.
The Tigers have some players that stand out on the football field. Receiver Tyrell Tuiasosopo (6-2, 180) had three of the Tigers’ six interceptions and caught two touchdown passes against Waipahu. Tuitele-Iafeta showed off an arm to stretch a defense deep and is athletic enough to run, which has resulted in 315 rushing yards and nine touchdowns this year. Gerime Bradley (5-9, 155) adds some speed on offense with his 415 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
McKinley will need to rely on all of those playmakers against a Sabers team that features one of the most talented players in the state in dual-threat quarterback Isaac Hurd, a contender to make one of three all-state teams at the position. Hurd has accounted for 22 touchdowns this year, throwing 17 TD passes and rushing for five more. He’s increased his completion rate to a respectable 56 percent (115-for-205) with seven interceptions and averages more than 200 yards a game in the air. Add another 355 rushing yards in eight games and he’s done it all for the Sabers, who are trying to take that next step under coach Amosa Amosa.
Campbell has made the playoffs in four of the last five years since jumping back up to the Red in 2008 and came close in 2011 to making states, losing in the third-place game. Last year’s team beat McKinley in the first round before losing to Mililani in the quarters. This year, however, the Sabers get to play at home in the quarterfinals instead of going on the road.
Campbell defensive back Solomon Matautia (6-2, 205) has a knack for getting takeaways and taking them to the house for touchdowns. Tuitele-Iafeta will have to keep an eye on No. 14, especially if the Tigers are forced to try and throw the ball.
Campbell’s preseason began with an impressive showing in a scrimmage against Kahuku and continued in the interleague opener with a solid win over a good Kaiser team. The Sabers have also beat Waianae this year and are one of only three teams to score more than 14 points against Mililani.
This seems like it might be Amosa’s best chance at getting the Sabers into the Division I state tournament, and possibly contend for the OIA championship. Will they get that shot, or will McKinley play spoiler on Friday night?