No. 9-ranked ‘Iolani had two games left in the regular season, a chance to clinch a state berth by winning both.
Leilehua had different ideas. The eighth-ranked Mules edged ‘Iolani 28-25 on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium. The loss means ‘Iolani falls into a tie with Damien in the ILH D-I standings. ‘Iolani (7-2, 5-2) will play at Castle next week. Damien (7-2, 5-2), which overpowered Aiea 48-0 on Friday, will play unbeaten OIA D-I leader Moanalua at Aloha Stadium next week.
Earlier in the week, Damien coach Eddie Klaneski had joked — half seriously, of course — that his team needed an assist from Leilehua. There won’t be a thank-you card in the mail, but the sentiment is there.
“We are really excited about our opportunity that has been presented to us. We couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to make amends,” said Klaneski, whose team lost to ‘Iolani 38-21 on Sept. 20. If Damien and ‘Iolani finish the regular season in a tie, they will meet for the ILH title.
“We are now back in control of our own destiny,” Klaneski said.