Baldwin, HPA soccer: ‘The glass is half full’

Baldwin defender Bryan Cummings (17) deflected a shot by Hawaii Prep's Jake Schneider in what turned out to be a 0-0 tie in the Division I state final and a decision by both schools to share the championship after lightning in the area put a halt to the match at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium on Saturday night. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

It is fitting and a shame at the same time.

Baldwin and Hawaii Prep tried so desperately to become the first team from the Neighbor Islands to win a Division I state soccer championship.

Instead, both of them get that title. That’s where the “fitting” part comes in. They both deserve it and they are both co-champs — the Bears from Maui and Ka Makani from the Big Island. It’s a shame that they didn’t get to finish what they started. Lightning was the reason, and we’re not talking about the lightning skills and abilities of Baldwin’s Angelo Deloso-Flocco or Hawaii Prep’s Jake Schneider.

This was real lightning and a real threat, and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association made the correct call in calling off the match at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium with the score knotted 0-0 with 2:21 showing on the clock in the first overtime.

At first, at about 9:25 p.m., it was announced that there would be a 30-minute wait. Twenty minutes later, there was an announcement that it would be postponed until further notice.

Officials from both schools and the HHSAA met near the comfort station to talk about options. Apparently, there were lightning strikes in the area, but not visible to the players or fans, and by National Federation of High School Association rules, there needed to be a delay.

With no change in the weather expected, it was first proposed to move the game to Sunday at 7 a.m. at the Waipahu High School field. And then, a few minutes later, it was decided that both schools would be co-champions.

“We were thinking about playing the game tomorrow at 7 in the morning, but because of the lightning strike (in the area) we had to postpone tonight,” HHSAA executive director Chris Chun said. “The teams were taking into consideration their flight plans, but Baldwin has to sleep in a high school gym tonight, so I don’t know if that was in their consideration, but I think it should have been. They wanted to be at their best. Baldwin really wanted to play in the end. I think it would have been a travesty for them to play at 7 a.m. after being in a high school gym with five hours of sleep.

“We left it up to both teams and they agreed on co-champs.”

At about 10:15 p.m., well after the final decision was made, lightning was visible in the sky and there were some serious jolts in the area at about 10:40 p.m.

Coaches and players from both teams shared what was on their minds after what was an immense tactical and mostly defensive and ball-control oriented — and ultimately shortened — match.

And here are some of the snippets of comments from Richard Braithwaite, the coach of Hawaii Prep (14-0-1); Kane Palazzotto, the coach of Baldwin (10-1-2); Deloso-Flocco; and Schneider.

>> Braithwaite: “Bittersweet. It’s sitting a little rough. Obviously, I would like it if there was any possible way to get this done right now. So our job is to make sure the boys take it the right way and feel good about it. We had a great game, these guys (Baldwin) had a great game and now all we can do is feel good about the ending.

“I was honestly happy with the way both teams played today, I felt good about the tempo of the game. Both teams were able to play out of the back, play the ball to feet, play off the middies. It was a beautiful game. Not a whole lot of chances, but so much better than our semi (a 3-2 win over King Kekaulike) for sure.

“We feel like champions and I hope these guys (the Bears) feel like champions. Hopefully, the boys can feel good about what they accomplished. We’re Division I champs. Undefeated. So I feel really good about our first year in D-I.”

>> Palazzotto: “It’s bittersweet in a way. As competitors, you want to have a true way of finishing the game. But unfortunately, the circumstances of both teams being from the outer islands and the cost that is involved in us traveling (is a problem), which is why we should have state tournaments on our islands sometimes.

“The Big Island is legit. We should think about that (having tourneys on the Neighbor Islands). We always have to travel, so we always have to think about that.

“Part of me feels that with that decision, I let my boys down. They look really disappointed. The big shame is you don’t get to see how that great game would have ended.”

>> Schneider: “For me personally, I don’t know where I’m at. It’s truly one of the most amazing, weirdest things that’s ever happened in my soccer career. To be honest, I think we’re emotionless because it really hasn’t settled in. It’s just a weird conclusion to this whole season. We put in a lot of work and a lot of training and it comes to co-champions. You’re neither happy nor sad.

“I definitely gotta look at it with the glass half full. We are still undefeated, which is a very positive thing, especially coming out with a chip on our shoulder, moving up from D-II to D-I. I think we proved Big Island soccer. And Maui soccer has improved.”

>> Deloso-Flocco: “We’re not getting the result we wanted, but it’s still a pretty good accomplishment. Both outer-island teams make it to the state final. The first co-championship. It’s definitely not what we wanted, but it was a good game, I guess, overall.

“I’ll take co-champs over a loss. We wanted the win. We wanted to be the first outer-island team to take it, but co-champs is what we got.”


  1. #One State Champion Only February 19, 2018 11:51 am

    BREAKING NEWS…St. Louis and Kahuku end in a shared HHSAA Football State Championship after the game was called in the 4th quarter due to lightening. Both teams agreed to share the championship.

    FAKE NEWS….Shared State Championships in Football would never happen even if they had to play til the next morning. St. Louis and Kahuku coaches would have laughed at the HHSAA if they were offered to share a championship.

    Is this High School Soccer or AYSO. Baldwin and HPA Coaches are cop outs. Should’ve declined the shared championship offer and play it out. Disappointing end to a season of hard work and tough victories for both teams.

  2. Locomoco February 19, 2018 4:00 pm

    I disagree – under similar circumstances, if the football championship was held in Maui War Memorial with bad weather forecast the next day, one team sleeping in Maui HS gym and the other in hotel, no way they resume the next morning.

  3. Locomoco February 19, 2018 4:00 pm

    1980 Prep Bowl ended a tie with co-champions.

  4. #One State Champion Only February 19, 2018 5:43 pm

    Overtime in High School football was not implemented until 1986. That’s why the 1980 Prep Bowl ended in a tie.

    But I’m sure Eddie Hamada and Larry Ginoza would’ve laughed if they were offered to share the championship if the opportunity to play it out to determine a winner was available.

  5. Neither Team IS Happy February 19, 2018 6:33 pm

    Get one thing straight. Neither team wanted the game stopped. It was the officials who stopped it. Both teams wanted to play, but national high school rules require stoppage.

    Neighbor Island teams have to pay all the travel costs whenever they play on Oahu. There are beautiful stadiums and sports facilities on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. We have newer and more modern hotels too. If HHSAA paid for all the travel expenses for HPA and Baldwin, maybe the game could have been played on Sunday morning weather permitting. (Hawaii News Now showed that Oahu didn’t have a drop of rain or any lightning yesterday.), HHSAA does not make travel arrangements or charter flights. Knowing that all 4 spots in both championship games involved Neighbor Island team, officials should have move the game up an hour or two.

    Lastly, don’t bring up Eddie Hamada or Larry Ginoza unless you knew them or played for them. I’m sure that under the circumstances they would have handled it the same way. Kahuku would have had similar challenges if they were playing on a Neighbor Island. Maybe the St. Louis alumni would have paid the travel bill.

    BTW, I heard that Kau High School has reserved their stadium for next year’s football championship game. Better book your flights and reserve your hotel now.

  6. The One February 20, 2018 5:13 pm

    Let each island have their own island championship in both divisions. Send all the island champions (8 total, 4 div.1 and 4 div. 2) from each division to whatever island wins (coin toss), and play it at the coin toss winner’s island. Good chance both divisions championship matches will be on different islands, but it gives outer islands at least a chance at playing at home. Won’t solve the weather problem, but it’ll give the outer islands a chance at not being forced to fly every year.

  7. Reply to The One. February 20, 2018 6:01 pm

    That is sort of how it is set up now,but everyone has to go Oahu.

  8. The One February 20, 2018 7:40 pm

    There’s no 4-day tournaments for states. There will only be one div.1 and one div.2 team from each island. Some Oahu teams may argue that they won’t have fair representation, considering the amount of schools here. That would make their “island tournament” critical. How and when each island runs their island tournaments is up to them. Two semi games, one championship game, in each division for states. Wherever the coin toss puts the div.1 or the div.2 semi and final games, that’s where they will play.

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