In the short term, there’s problems. Long range, things will be OK for the Waipahu and Pearl City football programs.
Due to players who have been deemed academically ineligible, two upcoming nonleague football games have been downgraded to scrimmages — Pearl City at Castle, and Waipahu at Kailua.
Both contests, which would not have been included in the league standings if played, were originally scheduled for Aug. 7. Instead, Pearl City will visit Castle for a 9 a.m. scrimmage on Aug. 8.
Waipahu will still travel to Kailua on the Aug. 7 date for the scrimmage.
The Marauders, under new coach Bryson Carvalho, have 54 players on the varsity roster and another 56 on the JV. But he said only 31 varsity players — with only one offensive lineman among them — will be eligible on the Aug. 7-8 weekend.
OIA football coordinator Harold Tanaka confirmed Monday that neither game would be called a forfeit and added that the athletic directors of all parties involved agreed to downgrade the games to scrimmages.
“We have a close battle going on at quarterback,” said Carvalho, a former Marauders quarterback who took over for Eric Keola this season. “The last thing I wanted for the winner of the starting job to do is to go into a game with only one lineman (Khaine Viliamu) for protection. It’s also about safety.”
Blaise De Asis, last year’s starter at QB, is in the quarterback competition with Gavin Marques. Both are seniors.
Carvalho expects to have his full roster ready and grade-eligible for the season opener against Farrington at Aloha Stadium at 4 p.m. on Aug. 15.
“We’re headed in the right direction (grade-wise),” Carvalho added. “Most of the trouble was from the last two quarters of last (school) year. We don’t expect (grades) to be a problem the rest of the year and next year.”
Pearl City principal Joe Halfmann confirmed that the Chargers are experiencing similar academic problems, but did not have the exact number of players involved.
“Position by position, we didn’t have enough players in certain spots needed to have a competitive game,” Halfmann said. “I guarantee we’ll be ready to go (for the Chargers’ regular-season opener at Roosevelt on Aug. 14). We wanted to err on the side of caution.”
Castle coach Nelson Maeda said there was talk about changing the schedule so that Castle could play Kailua in a game and Pearl City and Waipahu could go at it in a scrimmage. No luck.
The Knights and Surfriders are natural Windward-side rivals who did not play in the regular season a year ago and are not scheduled to meet this season.
“Hauoli Wong (the Kailua coach) was excited about that possibility and so was I,” Maeda said.