Pupule’s ballot: Still 1a and 1b

by Paul Honda on September 13, 2013

This may seem manic or chaotic or just wishy-washy, but here goes.

I voted Kamehameha No. 1 on my ballot for the Star-Advertiser Prep Football Top 10 this week. Yet, I expect Punahou to win on a last-minute field goal against the Warriors tonight.

Say whuhhh…

It’s like this. The Warriors, my opinion, have proven to be worth of the top spot by virtue of five wins, almost all against elite competition. Punahou deserves the spot, too, but until we really know how good Helix (Calif.) is, that leaves a little wiggle room for those of us who have seen Kamehameha several times … and became believers.

So why Punahou over Kamehameha? The Buffanblu have played well despite injuries (running back Kotoni Sekona, defensive ends Canton Kaumatule, Ruari Brady). It’s possible they all return for this big showdown.

Then again, I don’t know. It’s all guessing and monkeys throwing darts at a bulls-eye target.

1. Kamehameha.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Punahou.
Until proven otherwise. Possibly as soon as Saturday night.

2. Punahou, a.k.a. 1b.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Kamehameha.
Contain Kamehameha’s pass rush, win the game. I’m not expecting either team to average more than 4 yards per carry.

3. Mililani.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Saint Louis.
In Week 1, the Trojans lost at home to Punahou in a fairly close game. The Trojans were just figuring out several things, like their quarterback situation. They’ve played closer against either 1a or 1b than Saint Louis has. Splitting hairs here.

4. Saint Louis.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Mililani.
You say to-may-toe, I say to-mah-toe. Of course, the Crusaders can make an adjustment or two and soar to the state title. Would not surprise me.

5. Waianae.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Kahuku.
Seariders are playing well, closer to their upside ceiling than Kahuku right now. Having a seasoned QB and RB helps immensely.

6. Leilehua.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Waianae.
As far as the OIA Red West goes, yes, it’s a mosh pit of evenly-matched teams. Quality teams. And yes, the Mules are ahead of Kahuku at this point. Subject to change.

7. Kahuku.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Leilehua.
They’re finding their identity. It takes time. Again, like Saint Louis, I won’t be surprised if Kahuku goes on to win the state title. Time is on their side, particularly with an OIA playoff format that rewards late-season play and virtually forgives early-season troubles.

8. Campbell.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Campbell.
The one slot where my ballot and the Top 10 find agreement.

9. ‘Iolani.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Lahainaluna.
My only quarrel with the awesome Lunas is that they haven’t been tested by an upper-level Division I team yet. The Raiders haven’t beaten a D-I team, either, but I saw them compete pretty well.

10. Lahainaluna.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: ‘Iolani.
Lunas play Baldwin this weekend. The proud Bears aren’t about to step aside for anybody, especially the West siders.

The Others

Farrington. Showing progress. Like Kahuku, time is on the Governors’ side. Sanele Lavatai looked strong and decisive against Kailua.

Kaiser. Fitou Fisiiahi is pulling double duty at LB and RB. How long can he keep this up? The consistent improvement of quarterback Lii Karratti is a big plus.

Kapolei. One strong win and the ‘Canes have to be on everyone’s radar. The 35-0 loss to Mililani a few weeks back? Hey, everybody can have a bad day.

Kauai. A 6-3 win over Kapaa opens eyes. Like Lahainaluna, tough to gauge this team when it hasn’t played a D-I team.

Maui. This weekend’s game at pass-happy Kamehameha-Maui is a truth serum.

Konawaena. I can almost give the Wildcats a pass for that season-opening loss to Maui. Almost. It’ll take more than a win over Kealakehe to convince me. HPA beat Kealakehe. Hilo beat HPA. For Konawaena, this new scheduling format — round-robin against D-I and D-II teams — is a blessing.

Baldwin. Like Farrington, the Bears are strangely absent from the Top 10. Beat Lahainaluna decisively and voters will take notice.

Kealakehe. Still room to improve and bounce back. But losing to D-II Hawaii Prep is a dealbreaker for now.

McKinley. The loss to Castle ends my vision of a golden ascension to the Top 10. For now.

Seabury Hall. Yes, they’re an 8-man team, but the Spartans get kudos here. Coming off their MIL championship, they’re right back at it. I wonder if they can maintain their level of play against Molokai (later this season), a program with more numbers and size.

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