Castle’s streak of postseason appearances hinges on maintaining its run of success against Kaimuki.
The Knights (2-5 overall, 1-4 OIA Red East) travel to Hawaii Kai on Friday to face the Bulldogs (1-6, 0-5) with the conference’s final playoff berth at stake. Kickoff at Kaiser Stadium is scheduled for around 7:30 p.m. (following the 5 p.m. junior varsity game).
Castle enters the regular-season finale for both teams a game ahead in the standings. But a Kaimuki win on homecoming night would give the Bulldogs the tiebreaker edge and a berth in the OIA Red playoffs as the East’s sixth seed.
Castle has qualified for the OIA postseason each of the last nine seasons (and 12 of the last 13), and has won seven straight in the series with Kaimuki. The last time Bulldogs prevailed against the Knights was a 21-14 overtime win on Nov. 11, 2000 in the OIA playoffs’ third-place game.
The Knights streak against the Bulldogs began with an OIA playoff win in 2002. That began a run of four straight years of Castle wins and the Knights extended the streak with victories in 2008 and ’09 after Kaimuki returned to the Red following a two-year stint in the OIA White.
Kaimuki’s cycle between conferences continued as the Bulldogs went 20-4 overall and 15-1 in OIA White play in 2010-11 and the Bulldogs moved back into the Red East last year. Castle’s 26-16 win over Kaimuki a year ago represented the Knights’ lone victory of the season and was the difference in determining a playoff spot.
Kaimuki is seeking its first OIA Red win since a 32-0 victory over McKinley on Oct. 3, 2009.
Castle quarterback Stephen Lee is coming off a season-best 252-yard passing performance in last week’s 39-14 loss to Moanalua. Kamukoa Oana finished with 144 receiving yards.
Randon Tuitama leads Kaimuki with 471 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He ran for 70 yards on 13 carries and caught a touchdown pass in a 28-7 loss to Farrington last week.