Crossing bridges: A look at OIA, ILH interleague football possibilities

Saint Louis wide receiver Matthew Sykes (18) hauls in a pass ahead of Kahuku defensive back Kaonohi Kaniho (7) during the first half of the 2019 HHSAA Open Division state championship football game on Saturday, November 29, 2019 at Aloha Stadium in Halawa. Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo by Jamm Aquino/

(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

Open Division
Campbell – Oct. 22-23
Farrington – Nov. 5-6
Kahuku – Nov. 19-20
Leilehua – Oct. 15-16
Mililani – Oct. 29-30
Waianae – Nov. 26-27

Division I
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

Division II
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.”


  1. OMG August 27, 2021 11:00 am

    “a bridge we’ll cross when we get there.” That seems to be the whole problem with the OIA and public schools. There has been 1.5 years of time to go through scenarios and prepare. Unfortunately we take the reactive approach like Roy Fujimoto was quoted as saying.

  2. Good Story August 27, 2021 11:06 am

    You need fo correct …”(beginning on Nov.27)…I’m sure you meant September 27.

  3. OMG August 27, 2021 11:13 am

    Reading your other story and quoting the anonymous coach… The OIA still hasn’t published the new exemption forms for kids to opt out of vaccination. Seems like this is something that should have been done a long time ago. Seriously, it’s no secret that some or most parents wouldn’t want their kids vaccinated.

  4. Paul Honda August 27, 2021 11:27 am


  5. Rebel August 27, 2021 12:12 pm

    Would an OIA team risk playing an “ exhibition “ game against an ILH team and risk injuries before their regular season is over.?

  6. Nothing but the Truth August 27, 2021 3:11 pm

    Excellent point, Rebel. These “exhibition” games are probably not going to happen.

  7. OIAWest August 27, 2021 4:13 pm

    After the fun scrimmages Miliani Trojans had before the HS football shutdown, I’m sure there wouldn’t be hesitation on Mililani’s end to play any ILH team. The question is would any ILH team want to play Mililani considering the results of their scrimmages against Mililani this past summer. Apparently those who are conducting preseason rankings didn’t observe any of Mililanis Scrimmages lol!

  8. ??? August 27, 2021 5:23 pm

    Just have a OIA championship game & a separate ILH championship game. This is another messed up year for Hawai’i HS sports.

  9. Robocop August 27, 2021 9:00 pm

    OIAWest the kind of guy that brags about his favorite nfl team’s preseason wins lol.

  10. OIA West August 27, 2021 10:28 pm

    @Robocop Oh did Mililani win those preseason games? Wasn’t sure if they won or not lol. But heard they looked Hella good. Lol! How did your preseason team of choice look? Lol.

  11. HBoy August 27, 2021 11:56 pm

    Let’s play ball. Let’s get the games going and let the kids play. Never mind who looked good in 7 on 7 or scrimmages, we talking real games. Games are very different from 7 on. 7 and controlled scrimmages. Athletes and fans want the games to begin. Let’s go 808 decision makers make it happen.

  12. CrusaderDad August 28, 2021 11:16 am

    I hope OIA/ILH wants to challenge themselves and provide more opportunities for their kids to compete and play football.

  13. Robocop August 28, 2021 11:38 am

    OIAWest I couldn’t care less who “won” a scrimmage. Keep this same energy when they play Kahuku, Punahou, St Louis etc. if Mililani is good this year then great for them. More competition is better for the state. You a joke for thinking anyone actually wins or loses in a scrimmage, let alone playing their actual offensive or defensive schemes against each other. It’s all about getting that work in.

  14. Eddie K August 29, 2021 2:30 pm

    Know the old saying ,”keep it simple, s imon”. Just get through playing real games. One week at a time. I would not do cross overs. It only benefit ILH. As it is, the public schools have a whole mess of covid protocol not only involving sports, but everyday classes/online/teachers lawsuits/quarantine students, etc. Week by week, any team could be quarantine. Vaccine doesn’t immune you. Each week for a covid free team is like a win. ILH vs.OIA champions play for Oahu Bowl. Done.

  15. NEXT MAN UP. August 31, 2021 10:04 am

    I think we seem to forget the student/athletes. Let the kids play as many games as possible and not focus so much on championships. Maybe the ILH may have the upper hand this year due to the covid but if you were to ask the kids they would want to play as many games as possible and just strap it and bring it on! The more games they play the more memories they have to cherish 5, 10, 20, 50 years down the road. Championships should be the least of our worries during this troubled times. Seems like the adults are the ones more focused on championships. Would be interesting to hear some of the students provide their opinion into this matter.

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