No. 4 Kamehameha (3-0) vs. No. 1 Saint Louis (2-0)
The ILH regular season opens with an explosion. The Warriors have beaten the Crusaders in three of the past four meetings and five of the past eight going back to the 2009 season. Last fall, Kamehameha was pass-heavy in a 34-23 loss, but bounced back two weeks later for a balanced attack in a 43-19 victory.
The leading rusher in the Warriors’ win, Kaulana Apelu, has been sidelined by injury so far this season. In his place, senior Brandon Kahookele has been superb with 394 yards and two touchdowns, and classmate Kainoa Simao has been sizzling with 147 rushing yards (7.4 yards per carry). Simao has also been a boost on special teams as a punt returner.
But the main story line will be Kamehameha’s stout defense, which has permitted just three points in three games, against the Crusaders’ prolific offense. Mika Tafua leads a voracious pass rush that will be tested by quarterback Ryder Kuhns and running back Adam noga. Kuhns has already passed for 577 yards and seven touchdowns without a pick. Noga (174 yards, two touchdowns) and reserve Raymond Caayon (124 yards, two TDs) have prospered out of Saint Louis’ four-wide formation.
Between receivers Devan Stubblefield (11 receptions, 250 yards, four TDs), Drew Kobayashi (six, 165) and Allan Cui (12, 103, two), defensive backs have been spread thin.
No. 7 Mililani (2-1, 1-0 OIA Red West) at No. 5 Waianae (3-0, 1-0)
Coach Rod York was prepared to stick with one quarterback last week, but Robert Faleafine wound up throwing the ball 20 times in a 35-0 win at Kapolei. The competition between Faleafine, a transfer from Saint Louis, and McKenzie Milton could last awhile — their production has been virtually identical — but one thing is rock solid: running back Vavae Malepeai is the real deal.
The sophomore has rushed for 369 yards and seven touchdowns while becoming one of the best offensive weapons in the state.
Waianae’s defense has been more steady than spectacular, unwilling to gamble and give up the big play. But the Seariders haven’t faced an offense as productive as Mililani’s. They’ll have to contend with Trojan wide receiver Bronsen Ader (22 receptions, 231 yards).
Seariders quarterback Kekoa Kaluhiokalani is among the best playmakers on the move, making smart decisions and using his nimble feet wisely (163 rushing yards, two TDs). Running back Jemery Willes (290 yards, four TDs) has produced consistently behind a powerful offensive line.
Vincent Massey (Canada) (0-0) at No. 6 Leilehua (2-0, 1-0 OIA Red West)
The visiting Trojans hail from the Winnipeg High School Football League’s highest classification (AAA). This will be a jolting experience for the Trojans, who are used to playing by Canadian rules — 12 players, three downs, multiple offensive players in motion. American football rules will be enforced tonight.
Last year, coach Kelsey McKay’s team went 5-3, allowing just 9.4 points per game.
The Mules are getting the most out of their special teams and defense, which led the way in a 28-21 win over Campbell last week.
St. Francis (1-1) at No. 8 ‘Iolani (2-1)
The Saints are in their inaugural varsity season, coming off their first-ever varsity win. Now they face against the state’s most consistently prolific D-II offense during a run that includes seven state titles in a row.
Even with the graduation of three-year starting quarterback Reece Foy, the points keep ringing up the scoreboard at Eddie Hamada Field. Last year’s team scored at least 28 points in 10 of its 12 games, including 39 against Saint Louis and 34 at Kamehameha.
This year’s team, with alternating quarterbacks and myriad new starters on both sides of the ball, has scored 51, 35 and 36 points. Slowing bigger D-I teams is still difficult; Leilehua stormed to a 56-35 win two weeks ago. But Easton Tsubata and Austin Jim On have combined for 609 yards and eight touchdowns through the air, sophomore Jordan Ross has blazed to 382 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, and three receivers have caught at least 11 passes already.
No. 9 Campbell (2-1, 0-1 OIA Red West) at Aiea (2-1, 0-1)
The Sabers returned from last week’s 28-21 loss at Leilehua stunned, to say the least. Their defense surrendered just two touchdowns while the kickoff unit allowed the Mules to score two twice on returns. There were a mountain of penalties by the defense, a serious concern of Coach Amosa Amosa after the game.
But Campbell remains a team to be reckoned with. Running back Austin May (238 yards, three TDs) continues to be a chain mover (8.8 yards per attempt) and Jayce Bantolina had a breakout game against Leilehua. Quarterback Isaac Hurd is, arguably, the most exciting quarterback in the league, averaging 248 total yards per game. He has accounted for 10 touchdowns, including three on the ground, and his completion rate (51 percent) will likely get better as the offense develops.
For Aiea, a rosy nonconference run has been stalled with the start of the wild West slate, particularly because of a foot injury to quarterback Jordan Liilii. Though Na Alii are stellar defensively with linebackers Glen Igafo and Ben Taliulu, inserting linebacker Mana Kaahanui at quarterback stretches one key defender thin.
The talented and athletic Kaahanui rarely ran, opting to launch long incompletions most of the night. He finished 9-of-34 for 199 yards. If Na Alii can find a high-percentage recipe for moving the chains, they might recharge a once-promising 2013 season.
Mission Viejo (Calif.) (0-0) at Baldwin (1-1, 1-0 MIL), War Memorial Stadium
The Diablos have a proud tradition, winning CIF titles in 1978, ’81, 2001, ’02 and ’04. They’ve won four South Coast League championships in a row — 19 in all. This fall, they are ranked No. 7 in the MaxPreps Southern California Top 25.
Quarterback Ian Fieber, who has committed to San Jose State, led his team to a No. 9 ranking in the state last year. They were 11-1, including 4-0 in league play before losing to Long Beach Poly in the second round of the playoffs.
The Bears dominated Maui in a 33-13 win last week, the first win for new head coach Keneke Pacheco. Jeremiah Badillo passed for three touchdowns and ran for another to spark the Bears’ offense.
Pac-Five (0-2) vs. Damien (1-1), Aloha Stadium
The Monarchs have committed to the aerial game with Syles Choy back at quarterback. The senior has competed 35 of his 65 attempts for five touchdowns and six picks.
If there’s any team that has committed even more to the passing game, it’s the Wolf Pack. First-year starter Anthony Canencia has heaved a whopping 111 pass attempts (51 completions) in two games.
Kailua (1-2, 1-0 OIA Red East) at Moanalua (0-3, 0-1)
The Surfriders escaped with a miraculous win at Castle last week thanks to the handy kick-returning skills of Jameson White and reliable leg of placekicker Naia Graham.
The good news for Na Menehune fans is that Micah Kaneshiro is averaging more than 230 passing yards per game and three receivers have at least 15 receptions already. Bad news? Kaneshiro has been picked off eight times.
Tonight is an opportunity for talented Noah Auld. As a freshman wide receiver last year, he caught a 78-yard pass against Moanalua, but fumbled on the 1-yard line. He is now Kailua’s starting quarterback.
Waipahu (1-1) at Kapolei (2-1, 0-1 OIA Red West)
The Hurricanes ran into a buzzsaw last week, getting shut out by Mililani. The Marauders were routed by Westlake (Calif.) 59-8, their worst defeat since a 68-0 shellacking at the hands of Campbell in 2011.
Waialua (1-2, 1-1 OIA White) at Pearl City (0-2, 0-1 OIA White)
The Bulldogs are in the midst of a five-game losing streak to the Chargers. Waialua last beat Pearl City 14-7 in 2006 with Caleb Fore at quarterback.
Nanakuli (1-2, 1-1 OIA White) at Roosevelt (0-3, 0-2 OIA White)
The Golden Hawks were hit hard by graduation, but time is on their side with four OIA White teams qualifying for the playoffs.
Kaiser (1-1, 1-0 OIA White) at Radford (3-0, 2-0)
Both teams remain title contenders. Kaiser is counting on Lii Karratti at quarterback, but the anchor is linebacker/running back Fitou Fisiiahi. If his left calf is back to 100 percent — he ran for three touchdowns against Kalani last week while the injury lingered — tonight’s clash could be the most entertaining of the weekend.
With a 43-14 win at Nanakuli, the Rams have scored 157 points in three games. Senior Cody Lui-Yuen now has 892 passing yards and 12 touchdown strikes with just one pick.
Waiakea (0-2, 0-1 BIIF D-I) at Honokaa (0-0)
After some struggle to get numbers up, the D-II Dragons hit the field against the D-I Warriors. The visitors have met some hard times of their own with losses to Hawaii Prep (34-0) and Hilo (36-6).
Konawaena (1-1) at Kamehameha-Hawaii (1-1)
Brandon Howes has picked up where Lii Karratti (now at Kaiser) left off. The senior has passed for 778 yards and six touchdowns (with two interceptions) and sparked the Wildcats to a 38-24 win at Hilo last week.
The Warriors are back home after a 36-0 loss at ‘Iolani over the weekend.
Waimea (1-2) vs. Kapaa (1-1), Vidinha Stadium
After opening nonconference play with a 42-0 win over Anuenue, the Menehune have scored just eight points in two games. The Warriors are back from the Valley Isle, where they lost to No. 10 Lahainaluna 28-13.