ILH football coordinator Wendell Look on process of new schedule

'Iolani’s Cole Ichikawa (2) celebrated a touchdown he made with teammates Carter Kamana (21) and Noah Gaudi (12) during the first half against Aiea in a 2019 matchup. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

Having options in the middle of a crisis matters to a whole lot of football teams and players.

That tangible makes the ILH football schedule of 2021 a godsend for players, coaches and the football community. The schedule was released on Monday, a compact and orderly ledger of varsity and intermediate matchups with doses of creativity and maximum emotional impact.

Adding ‘B’ teams from Kamehameha and Saint Louis is a way to get more playing time for players who otherwise would be languishing on the lower end of depth charts, particularly with no JV games scheduled.

Eleven of the 19 varsity games will have Aloha Stadium as the site. Many, if not all, of those games will be televised.

Best of all, the schedule comes with the support of the ILH’s counterparts in the public-school OIA.

“The other leagues, especially the OIA, because of their purpose, they want to see the kids play. For them to be supportive of the ILH, they’ve showed a lot of class,” ILH football coordinator Wendell Look said. “They gave us full support and their blessings to move on. It shows that we’re all in this together. It’s very selfless of them to do this. It’s important.”

The DOE mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for all student-athletes at public schools with a deadline of Sept. 24. Two days before the first preseason games, the OIA and neighbor island leagues postponed fall sports. There were 845 new cases on Monday in Hawaii.

“People think that there’s a divide between the leagues, and this is another step for us coming together and trying to keep this interleague alive,” Look added.

The ILH schedule begins on Aug. 27 and concludes with the title game on Oct. 23. Look noted that ILH teams would then have the option to partake in an interleague schedule with OIA teams.

“We would end at the time the OIA kind of gets started. That gives us options before states,” he said.

With a restart on Sept. 27 and a two-week process to get players conditioned again, public-school leagues may start playing games on or around Oct. 8. The HHSAA announced last week a revised sports calendar that includes football state championships that conclude on Jan. 8.

“It’s up to each ILH school if they want to play. You’re not locked into having to play. If you don’t qualify for states, do you want to have a few more games? Otherwise, you can let (athletes) go to the winter sports early. That’s fine, too,” Look said.

ILH football coordinator Wendell Look has utilized patience and preparation to get the league’s football schedule up and going. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/

Winter sports, at least on the HHSAA sports calendar, has a later-than-usual start, as well.

“The overlap from fall to winter is only going to affect one or two schools. If they want to play only two more games, then they can play basketball, soccer, wrestle,” Look said.

Winter has traditionally been the busiest season, and even with the later start, the impact of a later fall season will be a challenge for athletic directors, trainers and staff.

“Any time you have change, there’s going to be some work to do, but again, as athletic administrators, our philosophy should be we have to make it work, do what it takes to make this work,” said Look, who is a co-athletic director and football coach at ‘Iolani. “You’ve just got to find a way. If you think about the kids, you’ll find a way.”

It begins a week from this Friday. Other fall sports will get an early start in the ILH, too.

“We just want to give our kids a chance to play now. We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know what’s going to happen this week. This pandemic caused so much uncertainty that we have the green light playing now and we an do it. Our kids are ready for it,” Look said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen in October and November. We wanted to make sure we took care of the kids, and do it safely.”

The addition of ‘B’ squads is believed to be new to ILH football. It is a common theme in other sports. The ILH has actively used classification within its league for decades, giving smaller schools and programs a chance to compete in three different levels.

“We have some stipulations, but again, we want to reward those kids who have been putting in the time to get ready to play. Unfortunately, the interleague was put to a halt and postponed, so they had nowhere to play, so we have the opportunity to do what’s best for them,” Look said.

There will be no spectators allowed, but that could change later.

“That falls on the community and their responsibility to be a part of this. If we’re going to have high school football here, it has to be everybody’s responsibility to abide by the rules and protocols, otherwise you’re going to jeopardize it for the kids,” Look said.

During the 2020-21 year, the ILH had as many as nine alternate scheduling scenarios for football. The year ended with unofficial scrimmages held independently by Saint Louis, Punahou and Kamehameha. One of the blueprints was to play spring games at Aloha Stadium, but fell by the wayside.

Now, fall football is a go.

“It is what it is. It’s been a long process, let’s put it that way,” Look said. “It’s what we teach our kids. You’ve got to persevere, know what your priorities are. Be resilient. Have a purpose in mind and, obviously, our purpose was to make sure our kids got an opportunity to play.”

Extra points: Kamehameha is not hosting football games this fall due to renovations to their track and field. … There are six intermediate football teams this season in the ILH. … “Spectrum is planning to televise as many games as they can,” Look added.


  1. NEXT MAN UP. August 17, 2021 9:46 am

    Wendell Look-now that is a great leader. Got his heart in the right place and the guts to carry it out. Wendell Look for Governor, 2022!!!

  2. Old School August 17, 2021 9:50 am

    The way I look at it, the OIA let the ILH in before as a favor. With 22 teams divided into 3 leagues, there are enough games without the ILH. Would you want to play a team with 35 more practices this season? Think about it…

  3. Falcon Future August 17, 2021 10:36 am

    If the state is moving forward with interleague play and a state tournament, the ILH now has a HUGE advantage.

    By the time the OIA is ready to play games, St. Louis will have three months of practices and a full schedule of completed games under its belt. Their offense and defense will be polished and conditioned in October. Then they will face somebody like Farrington or Waianae or other OIA teams with only three weeks of practices. That’s a borderline safety issue.

    By the time of the state tournament in January, St. Louis will have completed five months of practices and games. If that’s not a competitive advantage, I don’t know what is.

  4. Dennis Tadio August 17, 2021 11:53 am

    Stop crying about winning or losing. This is all about having games and letting the kids play period. You don’t like it? Keep your kid off the field. Use your real name too clowns.

  5. ??? August 17, 2021 1:00 pm

    You would be crying too if you had to play on a team with district kids going against STL Academy
    “AKA” IMG Hawaii!
    #3 is correct..

  6. ALLILH August 17, 2021 1:37 pm

    Blah Blah Blah!
    Before the inter league play you people complain, during inter league play you people complain. Now you people still complaining and no one even played yet! Grow up and let the kids play!

  7. Falcon Future August 17, 2021 2:45 pm

    This is not just about winning and losing. There is also a safety factor involved. A head start of three months is a ridiculous advantage for football. The conditioning, play development, and game awareness are well in place after three months. Not so much after three weeks.

    And just to be clear, I have nothing against what the ILH is doing. They are sticking to their schedule as well they should.

    However, if the interleague games proceed, we are likely to see the return of games with St. Louis beating teams by scores like 75-7 and 63-0 … in the Open Division! Three weeks is simply not enough time for a OIA team to prepare properly for a St. Louis and Punahou that are three months in.

    It is now in the hands of the HHSAA to figure out the best way to make this safe and fair for all teams involved.

  8. NEXT MAN UP. August 17, 2021 3:44 pm

    Aren’t the ilh schools going to play each other first then after their season is over they have a chance to play the oia schools? Therefore by then the oia schools should have all their offensive and defensive packages in before taking on the ilh teams probably in the first week of november. This may not be the perfect formula for success and an even playing field but during these pandemic times this may be the best solution for the KIDS. Can you imagine that if this season does not get going these seniors will miss their entire high school playing careers at the varsity level as only a few exceptional kids got to play their freshmen or sophomore years. Fair or unfair, football after high school will not be available to a majority of students as only about 70-75% of high school graduates get to compete at the college level be it d1, d2, d3 or naia. I would think the students would rather just play instead of worrying about wins and losses at this point.

  9. Nothing but the Truth August 17, 2021 3:46 pm

    It appears that interleague games are set up by the two schools involved, not the leagues. Waianae or Farrington does not have to play St Louis if they don’t want to if they believe St Louis has the advantage of extra practices or games. No OIA school “needs” to play St Louis….or Punahou… during the regular season this year. So if there are schools that believe private schools have an advantage because of an early start date, just don’t schedule them.

  10. Dennis Tadio August 17, 2021 4:50 pm

    ??? You always crying no matter what the situation.

  11. ??? August 17, 2021 5:09 pm

    I seem to recall STL crying after losing to the Florida team in Vegas not too long ago.
    We should have won but:
    Jordan Botelho didn’t play!
    A lot of kids were sick!
    Vegas was too cold!
    The mainland refs cheat etc…etc…
    You loss, deal with it, like Falcon Future said, when STL beat public school teams by 40-50 points they gotta deal with it.

  12. Marty McCovid August 17, 2021 5:43 pm

    I just came back, back from the future.

    ILH will play out their season by themselves. No state championship this year. OIA’s season, cancelled.

    This happens sometime after all the staff and athletes have already been vaccinated.

    It’s because the timeline was messed up because ILH didn’t want to wait for their red headed stepchild to be ready for play.

  13. Opinion Man August 17, 2021 6:08 pm

    Enough bickering about more training and advantages. It all comes down to the student athlete throughout the year. Does he lift weights? Does he attend speed and quickness camps? Does he eat good food? Does he take supplements(legal)? The question should be to yourself what have you done this year to achieve the outcome you want to produce on the field? Have I prepared myself physically, mentally, and emotionally for this? Have you done all you can prior to your season starting and not wait till the season to start to do something…Legends are made everyday by someone doing something everyday to get better at the tasks at hand…

  14. Let the kids play!!! August 17, 2021 6:33 pm

    If you complaining that means your kid is marinating and not training on the side. There’s so much opportunity to get your kids playing. Schools like Mililani and kahuku you think they sitting??? Take a drive out there, they still working and getting it in with outside teams and coaches. If your child’s school is not in contact with teammates who are training them it’s time to get off your couch and start your own training. YouTube does wonders these days.

  15. Opinion Man August 17, 2021 6:58 pm

    If you train everyday, all things should come easier. More games, more aches and pains or bruising all over the body. Fairness? I think the ones that play later have the advantage. Jus saying…

  16. IMG4lyphe August 17, 2021 7:01 pm

    Hahaha ILH teams are a joke we all know that talk about recruiting no worries we going get um if they like play us as lose like last year hahaaa

  17. Let the kids play August 17, 2021 7:02 pm

    If you complaining that means your kid marinating and not training on the side. There’s so much opportunities to get your kids playing. Schools like Mililani and Kahuku you think they sitting??? Take a drive out there, they still working and getting it in with outside coaches. If your child’s school is not on some type of forum to communicate with the kids and keep them active then maybe it’s time to get off your couch and start your own training. YouTube does wonders these days!!!

  18. HP August 17, 2021 8:09 pm

    They should cancel states then. That way no more complaints. Oh wait IGE was already planning on doing that. No worries nothing to complain about soon.

  19. ItIsWhatItIs August 17, 2021 8:42 pm

    LET THE KIDS PLAY!! If you wanna play strap up. If not that’s cool too. But these kids have lost out on so much already due to this COVID BS! I just wanna see them go out and play. Have fun, make memories you talk about with the boys forever. Screw the trophies. If you played before, I don’t care at what level when it’s over you miss it like hell! Now imagine never getting the chance to play and living with that the rest of your life. Play every game likes it’s your last, cause it just might be!!
    Good Luck to all the players. I pray you get a chance to play!!

  20. Nadine Kuikahi August 17, 2021 9:07 pm

    If you complaining that means your kid is marinating and not training on the side. There’s so much opportunities to get your kids playing. Schools like Mililani and Kahuku you think they sitting? Take a drive out there, they still working hard and getting it in with outside teams and coaches. If your child’s school is not in contact with you about workouts on your own then maybe it’s time to get off the couch and start your own training. YouTube does wonders these days!

  21. Let the kids play!! August 17, 2021 9:54 pm

    At this point Im excited to watch any high school football!!!

  22. nalohitman August 17, 2021 10:22 pm

    Aaaaaaaah common on…

  23. ILoveHawaii August 18, 2021 12:44 pm

    Dennis woke up and chose VIOLENCE.

    We not all clowns. There is no protection for those that speak out on this forum. Jus sayin.

    That Look guy. Sometimes No Bueno.

  24. Som August 18, 2021 4:01 pm

    Nice picture choice, was that supposed to represent the ILH turning their backs on the OIA? Lol

  25. ILoveHawaii August 19, 2021 8:32 am

    #20 –

    “Schools like Mililani and Kahuku you think they sitting? Take a drive out there, they still working hard and getting it in with outside teams and coaches”.

    Are they practicing any COVID protocols?

  26. asd August 20, 2021 4:42 pm

    ILoveHawaii – Are you seriously asking if Kahuku and Mililani are practicing COVID protocols while the ILH is in season again… They played last year too. lol.

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