D-1 football semifinals have familiar feel

Kahuku used the legs of running back Aofaga Wily to beat Punahou in the 2012 Division I state final. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser
Kahuku used the legs of running back Aofaga Wily to beat Punahou in the 2012 Division I state final. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser

If you feel like you’ve seen a lot of the teams remaining in the Division I state football playoffs — you have.

The same four teams to reach the semifinals in 2012 are back again two years later as Farrington and Mililani meet in the first game on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium, followed by Kahuku and Punahou.

After failing to qualify for the state tournament for just the fourth time in 2013, the Red Raiders have reached the semis for a record 12th time in 12 tries. The only other school to make 12 state tournaments is Baldwin, which didn’t qualify this season for the first time since 2004.

The Red Raiders also have the most wins (21) among Division I teams and have won seven of the 15 overall championships. Saint Louis is next with three.

Punahou will try to tie Saint Louis with its third state championship, should it win its next two games. The Buffanblu are making their sixth state tournament appearance, tying them with Leilehua and Waianae, and are trying to become the first school other than Kahuku to win it all in consecutive years.

Punahou can become the second time to reach the state final in four consecutive years and first since Saint Louis did it in the first five tournaments held from 1999 to 2003. The Buffanblu haven’t lost a game since that 2012 final versus the Red Raiders.

Surprisingly, Punahou took the longest of the four remaining programs to qualify for states, reaching it for the first time in 2005.

Mililani has had the least success of the four teams remaining but has begun to turn it around under head coach Rod York. The Trojans have made it to the tournament seven times but didn’t record their first win until a 24-13 victory over Baldwin in 2012 at War Memorial Stadium, which ended a string of four consecutive loses. Overall, Mililani is 2-6 in the state tournament with one win in each of the last two years.

This round has been the most brutal to the Govs, who have never played in the state final. Farrington is 0-5 in the semifinal round and it hasn’t been pretty in recent years, losing by a combined score of 95-20 to Punahou and Kahuku in 2012 and ’13. Three of its five losses have been by at least 28 points.

Only Kahuku and Baldwin (12 each) have qualified for states more often than Farrington with the Red Raiders (12) and Saint Louis (11) the only teams to make it this far more than the Govs.

The Final Four in Division I

Team: Farrington
Overall record: 6-9 (.400)
State titles: None
Total Appearances: 10

Team: Kahuku
Overall record: 21-4 (.840)
State titles: 7 (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012)
Total Appearances: 12

Team: Mililani
Overall record: 2-6 (.250)
State titles: None
Total appearances: 7

Team: Punahou
Overall record: 8-3 (.727)
State titles: 2 (2008, 2013)
Total appearances: 6


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