It would be easy to Pac-Five to hang its head and lament the talent that defected when St. Francis fielded a football team this year.
No need. Pac-Five coach Kip Botelho has overcome it before.
The last time a school defected from Pac-Five and went out on its own — Word of Life in 2008 — it paid off with two wins against the upstarts in both years the Firebrands were in existence and the Wolf Pack’s most successful season in decades.
Pac-Five before and after Word of Life played in 2008 and 2009.
(Record in parenthesis is wins and losses not counting Word of Life games)
2008: 3-9 (1-9)
2009: 7-5 (5-5)
So sure, Pac-Five is damaged a little bit every time a part of its roster defects for its alma mater. But the last time that happened, it actually made the team better.
Pac-Five gets to play big brother again this week when it meets St. Francis on Friday night in the main event at Aloha Stadium.
The Wolf Pack are averaging just 10 points per game this year and giving up 45 but they have faced Kamehameha and Saint Louis already while St. Francis has only played Punahou among ILH Division I teams.
Instead of measuring St. Francis against Pac-Five before we see the result with our own eyes, comparing the Saints and the Firebrands is probably more apt.
The Saints beat Drumheller of Canada for their first varsity win and are still searching for their first league win. The Firebrands earned a win over Damien in their second year, but seem to be ahead of where St. Francis is after five games.
Word of Life opened its doors with a 2-3 record including wins over Nanakuli and Kamehameha-Maui, and suffered losses to Moanalua, Pac-Five and ‘Iolani.
St. Francis has losses to Maui, ‘Iolani, Damien and Punahou so far, and has given up an average of 39.4 points per game but one of those was against a superior Punahou squad that put 63 points on them. Word of Life averaged 15.8 ppg and gave up 25.2 in its first five games, but none of them were against the Division I powers.