‘Iolani looking for annual ILH upset

Iolani quarterback Easton Tsubata will take a shot at Kamehameha on Friday. Photo by Bruce Asato/basato@staradvertiser.com
Iolani quarterback Easton Tsubata will take a shot at Kamehameha on Friday. (Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser)

When ‘Iolani walks into Aloha Stadium to meet Kamehameha on Friday, it enters knowing that it hasn’t beaten one of the ILH’s big boys in more than two years.

So, if history and the “due theory” are any judge, the Warriors better be wary. The Raiders haven’t beaten one of the big dogs in eight tries, so they are overdue.

It may not be Kamehameha this week. It may be Saint Louis or Punahou. But one thing is pretty much a lock: The team that falls to ‘Iolani can kiss its ILH title hopes goodbye.

‘Iolani is 1-18 against the eventual ILH Divsion I champion since the state went to classification in 2003. The lone exception came in 2009 when the Raiders beat eventual state champ Kamehameha 20-17 in the beginning of September. ‘Iolani still had a say in who won the ILH’s big-boy league that year, though, stopping Punahou 35-12 four weeks later to help set up an ILH playoff game between the losers.

When the Raiders do jump up and bite, they don’t limit it to easy targets. Of the five upsets they have pulled since going D-II in 2003, only Kamehameha in 2010 finished the season with a losing record at 3-4.

Here is a look back at ‘Iolani’s five upsets since 2003:

Sept. 11, 2010: No. 8 ‘Iolani 13, No. 5 Kamehameha 6

Sophomore Reece Foy shows the poise that would make him a three-time state champion and the Raiders defense completely confuses the Warriors for ‘Iolani’s second straight upset of Kamehameha.

Foy threw for 167 yards and a first-quarter touchdown to Bret Christman, his second against Kamehameha in two years. Kamehameha was held to 40 yards in the first half and moved into ‘Iolani territory just once.
Kamehameha drops to 2-2, while ‘Iolani improves to 3-1.

The aftermath: Kamehameha rebounded to win three in a row but lost to Punahou in overtime to dash its championship hopes and finishes 3-4.

Sept. 5, 2009: No. 10 ‘Iolani 20, , No. 3 Kamehameha 17

Andrew Skalman kicks a 30-yard field goal with 14 seconds left to give the Raiders their first win over Kamehameha in a decade.

The Raiders give up 124 rushing yards and a touchdown to Ryan Ho but ‘Iolani overcomes it with a stiff defense and the combination of quarterback Jarrett Arakawa (230 yards) and Trevyn Tulonghari (134 yards, touchdown).

The aftermath: Kamehameha shakes off the loss to win nine in a row and the ILH and state championships, finishing with a 7-1 ILH record.

Sept. 25, 2009: No. 9 ‘Iolani 35, No. 6 Punahou 12

Jarrett Arakawa throws three touchdown passes and ‘Iolani’s defense gets a 57-yard ineterception return for a touchdown from Reid Saito and a 68-yard fumble return for a touchdown from Greg Lum to become the ILH’s lone unbeaten team regardless of division at 4-0. Punahou drops to 2-2.

The aftermath: The Buffanblu (5-3) rebound for three straight wins but ends its season with a 45-21 loss to Kamehameha.

October 4, 2008: No. 8 ‘Iolani 35, No. 1 Saint Louis 30

‘Iolani defenders Cody Petro-Sakuma and Sealii Epenesa sack Jeremy Higgins on fourth-and-goal with less than 20 seconds left and the Raiders beat the Crusaders for the first time since 2004. It’s the first regular-season loss for Saint Louis in more than three years.

Jarrett Arakawa finished 13-for-29 for 153 yards and three touchdowns with an interception. Kellen Imada finished with only 54 rushing yards, but found the end zone twice and had a big 20-yard carry on the drive that gave the Raiders the go-ahead score.

The aftermath: Saint Louis wins its next four, but loses to Punahou to end its season.

October 16, 2004: No. 9 ‘Iolani 36, No. 2 Saint Louis 31

The Raiders knock out Saint Louis quarterback Stanley Nihipali and force five turnovers in the second half and Kiran Kepo’o throws for 261 yards in ‘Iolani’s first win over Saint Louis in 11 years. Kevin Sullivan runs for 210 yards for Saint Louis.

The aftermath: The Crusaders make Punahou pay for ‘Iolani’s belligerence with a 42-0 win a week later, but Kamehameha beats Saint Louis the next week to end the run for the defending ILH champions.

Before Kamehameha got stung in 2009, no eventual ILH champion had lost to ‘Iolani since Saint Louis in 1993, when the Raiders spread the wealth by beating all three of them. ‘Iolani has beaten all three schools in the same year just four other times since the 1970 merger, in 1982, 1980, 1976 and 1972. ‘Iolani won the ILH in two of those years, 1972 and 1980.

They nearly turned the trick in 2009, but Saint Louis rebuffed them on the way to its ILH title.

So what was it about classification that seemed to give ‘Iolani an identity crisis? Since splitting into big and small, ‘Iolani is 5-25 against ILH Division I foes for a paltry .167 winning percentage. The Raiders were 13-41 in the 10 years before the split for a .241 winning percentage and had beaten a big boy eight times in the prior six years.

Part of the reason is that ‘Iolani got two chances at each team before the new schedule, and only one each year afterward.

‘Iolani vs. Kamehameha, Punahou and Saint Louis since the 1970 ILH-OIA split:
2012: 0-3
2011: 0-3
2010: 1-2, beat Kamehameha 13-6
2009: 2-1, beat Kamehameha 20-17, beat Punahou 35-12
2008: 1-2, beat Saint Louis 35-30
2007: 0-3
2006: 0-3
2005: 0-3
2004: 1-2, beat Saint Louis 36-31
2003: 0-3
2002: 0-3
2001: 1-2, beat Punahou 14-7
2000: 1-5, beat Punahou 22-21
1999: 1-5, beat Punahou 14-7
1998: 2-4, beat Kamehameha 34-24, beat Punahou 26-19
1997: 3-3, beat Kamehameha 27-26, beat Punahou 35-7, beat Punahou 35-13.
1996: 1-5, beat Kamehameha 30-6
1995: 0-6
1994: 1-5, beat Kamehameha, 16-14
1993: 3-3, beat Punahou 21-6, beat Kamehameha 21-2, beat Saint Louis 27-26
1992: 4-2, beat Kamehameha 38-12, beat Punahou 26-7, beat Kamehameha 20-19, beat Punahou 37-7.
1991: 1-4-1, beat Punahou 20-12, tied Kamehameha 7-7.
1990: 2-4, beat Punahou 24-12, beat Kamehameha 14-7
1989: 2-4, beat Kamehameha 14-6, beat Punahou 20-19
1988: 1-5, beat Kamehameha 24-0.
1987: 4-2, beat Punahou 20-7, beat Kamehameha 21-0, beat Punahou 14-7, beat Kamehameha 20-19
1986: 4-2, beat Punahou 27-7, beat Kamehameha 27-15, Kamehameha 28-14, Punahou 21-16.
1985: 2-4, beat Punahou 22-20, Kamehameha 21-7
1984: 2-4, beat Punahou 24-20, Punahou 16-15
1983: 2-4, beat Punahou 27-12, beat Punahou 24-23.
1982: 5-0-1, beat Kamehameha 22-20, beat Saint Louis 17-14, tied Punahou 13-13, beat Saint Louis 10-9, beat Punahou 20-7
1981: 2-4, beat Kamehameha 14-7, beat Punahou 28-3.
1980: 5-1-1, beat Saint Louis 21-12, beat Kamehameha 12-7, beat Punahou 3-0, Saint Louis 13-12, Kamehameha 21-13, tied Punahou 7-7.
1979: 1-5, beat Saint Louis 7-6
1978: 1-5, beat Punahou 35-27
1977: 0-5
1976: 4-2, beat Kamehameha 40-13, beat Saint Louis 31-6, beat Punahou 15-10, beat Punahou 40-14.
1975: 1-4, beat Punahou 17-8
1974: 2-2-1: beat Kamehameha 21-13, Saint Louis 29-12, tied Saint Louis 6-6.
1973: 0-5
1972: 5-2, beat Saint Louis 13-0, Saint Louis 17-0, Kamehameha 27-14, Punahou 35-14, Punahou 34-25.
1971: 1-4-1, beat Saint Louis 6-0, tied Punahou 0-0.
1970: 0-6.


  1. Helping Hand September 5, 2013 1:33 pm

    Great article Jerry!

    Just wanted to point out that if Iolani beats a Division I ILH team, it’s not the end of their hopes for the title (although its a big indictation). With the inclusion of Saint Francis this year, the ILH will have a new playoff format for determining league titles. So even if Kamehameha were to lose this week, they still can win the ILH by winning in the playoffs

  2. Jerry Campany September 5, 2013 4:45 pm

    I’m with ya, helping hand. The playoffs change things, but losing to Iolani will be quite a thing to overcome, the same as it has been in the past.

  3. JD Allen September 5, 2013 9:04 pm

    This is the very reason Iolani belongs in D1. They ain’t a small team. The only reason they play D2 is because they can’t recruit big players to come there. There are 15-20 guys over 200 lbs nonetheless. Hardly the mark of a small team.

  4. J Walker September 6, 2013 1:45 pm

    JD, Not arguing, but just pointing out that although Iolani has dominated in Div. 2 ILH, that pushing them up to Div. 1 would make them the only Div. 1 ILH program without a JV team. Those kids are going directly from Intermediate to Varsity, so if the purpose of having multiple divisions is safety, wins and losses aside, that should factor in (that is a commonality of the Div. 2 teams). What MAY (not saying it is) be a contributing factor to that is that Iolani’s average class size is about half that of Kamehameha and Punahou, and although St. Louis’ is smaller, it is not co-ed.

    That said, I personally would love to see the ILH go back to the good old days with one division, winner take all! Afterall, what’s the point in saying it is about safety if you are going to make them play the Div. 1 teams anyway… in fact, in the current format, since all the teams play each other once (and inter-league crosses divisions), I don’t even see the purpose of the labels. Just my humble opinion.

  5. Moanalua September 6, 2013 5:04 pm

    @J Walker: Agreed. I was in high school well before the D1/D2 split. D2 classification relegates the teams in it to second-class status. When I was in high school in he ’70s, Iolani, Damien, and Pac-5 held their own. I say D1/D2 status in the ILH–AND Red/White status in the OIA–should be eliminated. Let each and every school/team stand proudly in the same division. Then no victory or championship can be pooh-poohed as second-class for being in D2 or the White.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.