(11 a.m. Adds feedback from Saint Louis coach Ron Lee.)
Most fans are simply happy that there are high school football games this fall.
But without set regular-season dates between OIA and ILH teams for the first time in years, there is a void for those fans. Kamehameha-Farrington? Saint Louis-Mililani? Kahuku-Punahou? Nothing has materialized yet, but with the OIA’s new fall sports schedule released just one day ago, the potential for matchups — exhibition contests — seems possible.
Coaches say that September and October are so far away, and in this strange new world, that may be true. But for the hardcore fans, or fanatics, of prep football, delving into the realm of what ifs is worth the time.
OIA Open Division programs have one bye weekend on their respective schedules. OIA Division I teams have two byes. OIA D-II teams have two bye weekends. Interleague play has been the norm for the past few years, but the OIA would still need to make an exception to allow exhibition games during the regular season.
The OIA football regular season starts on Oct. 15. The ILH regular season ends on Oct. 8 with playoff games Oct. 15 and 23.
There are different possibilities. Kahuku, in theory, could complete the minimum 10 practices (beginning on Sept. 27) and schedule an interleague game before its Oct. 15 opener against Kapolei — on Oct. 8 or Oct. 9. There is also a bye on the weekend of Nov. 20.
The Oct. 8 weekend is also one week before the ILH begins its playoffs. An interleague game is possible that weekend, but Nov. 20 would be much more likely if an ILH team is willing to extend its season and play the Red Raiders.
Mililani, the OIA’s other traditional powerhouse program, has a bye weekend on Oct. 29-30. That would be more timely for a prospective opponent from the ILH. The ILH Open Division championship game is on Oct. 23.
OIA football bye weekends
Campbell – Oct. 22-23
Farrington – Nov. 5-6
Kahuku – Nov. 19-20
Leilehua – Oct. 15-16
Mililani – Oct. 29-30
Waianae – Nov. 26-27
Aiea – Nov. 5-6, Nov. 19-20
Castle – Oct. 15-16, Nov. 5-6
Kailua – Oct. 29-30, Nov. 19-20
Moanalua – Oct. 15-16, Nov. 19-20
Roosevelt – Nov. 12-13, Nov. 19-20
Waipahu – Oct. 29-30, Nov. 12-13
Kaimuki – Nov. 5-6
Kaiser – Nov. 26-27
Kalaheo – Dec. 10-11
Kalani – Nov. 19-20
McKinley – Oct. 22-23
Nanakuli – Oct. 15-16
Pearl City – Oct. 29-30
Radford – Dec. 3-4
Waialua – Nov. 5-6
>> ILH Open Division, Division I regular season ends Oct. 1
>> ILH Open/D-I bye week Oct. 8
>> ILH Open, D-I playoffs Oct. 15, Oct. 23
>> HHSAA state tournament, Dec. 31-Jan. 1, Jan. 7-8
The potential matchups are pleasing in the eyes of diehard fans, but without spectators, there is no revenue. Without revenue, how will costs — officials, scoreboard operators, etc. — be covered? Who pays for that bus rental if, if, if Pac-Five agrees to play at Nanakuli on Oct. 15? Or if Saint Louis travels to Mililani on Oct. 29?
This is what a prospective post-ILH season slate might look like, if all the stars line up for the ILH champion.
>> at Mililani, Oct. 29-30
>> at Farrington, Nov. 5-6
>> at Kahuku, Nov. 19-20
>> at Waianae, Nov. 26-27
Leilehua (Oct. 15-16) and Campbell (Oct. 22-23) have bye weekends during the ILH season.
These potential matchups are in the mind of the beholder, of course. Saint Louis coach Ron Lee weighed the pros and cons. The Crusaders have won the last four Open Division state titles.
“I don’t know. That is a long way to go. The state tournament is so far ahead, but if we win (the ILH), playing these games are better than waiting until December. But we have to beat Punahou and Kamehameha first. We got a long way to go,” Lee said. “If we win, I would love to play more games. Let the ILH champion play more games.”
A post-ILH season roll call of Division I interleague opponents would possibly include this.
>> Kailua – Oct. 29-30; Waipahu – Oct. 29-30
>> Castle – Nov. 5-6
>> Aiea – Nov. 5-6, also Nov. 19-20
>> Roosevelt – Nov. 12-13, also Nov. 19-20; Waipahu – Nov. 12-13
>> Kailua – Nov. 19-20; Moanalua – Nov. 19-20
Castle and Moanalua’s first bye weekends (Oct. 15-16) are during the ILH season.
An exhibition schedule for D-II Pac-Five could look like this.
>> Pearl City – Oct. 29-30
>> Kaimuki – Nov. 5-6; Waialua – Nov. 5-6
>> Kalani – Nov. 19-20
>> Kaiser – Nov. 26-27
>> Radford – Dec. 3-4
>> Kalaheo – Dec. 10-11
So, maybe interleague play in 2021 isn’t dead just yet.
That, as former BIIF executive director Roy Fujimoto often said, is “a bridge we’ll cross when we get there.”