‘Iolani makes most of new life

Iolani's KJ Pascua was tough to bring down against Moanalua in the state tournament opener. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser
Iolani’s KJ Pascua was tough to bring down against Moanalua in the state tournament opener. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser

Before the season started, ‘Iolani knew what it had to do to earn a berth in the HHSAA Division I state tournament: Win the ILH title, which included beating out the likes of Saint Louis, Punahou and Kamehameha.

The Raiders went 0-7 in ILH play.

Yet here they are, one win away from a Division I title game after a 17-14 nail-biter over Moanalua at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.

In August, the HHSAA added an Open division to the state tournament in addition to modified Division I and Division II tournaments. The Raiders (4-7) were probably the biggest beneficiary of that change, as their slot in the Division I tournament was uncontested.

“These kids have worked hard,” ‘Iolani coach Wendell Look said. “We’ve had to try to prove ourselves and tonight we proved that we could play and that we’re a good team.”

It was the Raiders’ first game since Oct. 14 when they lost to Saint Louis 33-0 in the ILH playoffs at Aloha Stadium. For starting quarterback Tai-John Mizutani, it was his first game in almost a month. The junior was pulled with an undisclosed injury against Punahou on Oct. 7.

“I missed it,” Mizutani said. “I love it. I was sick seeing my boys out there lose to Saint Louis but it’s a great feeling to be back, especially when we win. Can’t ask for much more.”

‘Iolani now shifts its focus to Campbell, which routed Waiakea 48-0 on its home field Friday night. The matchup is set for next Saturday, Nov. 12 but the site is yet to be announced.

“I’m proud of my guys, I’m excited. It’s a great opportunity and it feels good,” Mizutani said. “Another week of football, gotta love it.”


  1. AOK November 5, 2016 12:13 am

    Tried to tell all you Iolani haters (ILH haters) who said Iolani didnt belong. They deserve to be here. And, would not shock me to see them win it all.

  2. ILH November 5, 2016 12:24 am

    Would love to see Iolani win it all, i believe they will , they are a srappy team, small but quick, OIA teams and fans, don’t count them out, they came to play tonight, and they will be ready for Campbell.

  3. ??? November 5, 2016 9:34 am

    FreeOlani beats Moanalua 17-14 and you guys are all hyped? Lol.. Moanalua, the same team who lost 5 regular season games and was scared to play Campbell in the playoffs!!
    All teams wish they had FreeOlani’s route. “lose every game and still make states” SMH

  4. Manley November 5, 2016 3:33 pm

    Baldwin and Hilo are like ” how did we NOT draw Moanalua”??

  5. RidgeRunnerE-5 November 6, 2016 10:04 am

    So ‘Iolani beats a bruised and battered Moanalua team by three points, and all of a sudden they’re the team to beat? Campbell should put an end to that little notion.

  6. J Milo November 8, 2016 7:53 am

    Im going to agree with “RidgeRunner”. Moanalua was suffering from a mass of player injuries and used JV players as substitutes for these injuries. Campbell is for the most part all healthy and ready to play. Iolani was very fortunate to open their Div1 Tournament with Moanalua.

    Though I see the raider defense as being competitive, I don’t think Look’s system offense (including a QB with a 47% completion average against ILH D1 opponents & an OL averaging 5’8 & 200lbs) will be able to handle Campbell’s extremely aggressive & physical defense. If anything, a loss for the raiders will only confirm Look’s petition to return to D2 next year.

  7. ILH November 8, 2016 12:16 pm

    @J Milo, The raidahs are very well prepared and are very battle tested. Who plays a schedule tougher than the raiders? Campbell played Kahuku and Kapolei. Iolani played STL, KSK, PUN 7 times this year. Raidahs 67 Campbell 45

  8. Eastsidaz November 10, 2016 9:11 pm

    No disrespect to Iolani but Moanalua dominated that game besides not walking away with a victory. There was some crucial bad calls by these Refs including a close line of a Moanalua player and a good FG that was clearly out.. The Menehune offense was riding momentum at that moment and their passing game was almost unstoppable. But Moanalua shoots themselves in the foot on a very crucial point in the game. Moanalua makes a weird call to attempt to run a Kahuku offense and create some “Jumbo” package two plays in a row that was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage?!?!?!? Really Moanalua? With that size of players? Lol! Then they bring back their QB on 3rd who was manhandling Iolani previously and expects him to get a first down on 3rd down with 17yrd to go. Lol! Very strange call on Moanalua who wasn’t effective in the running game. Not sure why they didn’t keep their QB in the run thay offense. The 1st down MOANALUA gets stuffed 5yrds on that attempt to be like Kahuku and right after they try the exact same play again and gets stuffed another 2 yards. Very strange call. Moanalua should advanced for a rematch against Campbell. Moanlaua was clearly the better team in most regards, talent wise.That game was NOT dominated by Iolani. That game was more like lost by terrible Calls by the ref and very strange offense calls on Moanalua. To bad for Moanaluas QB. He was exciting to watch but was robbed to perform another game. Wouldn’t of been good to see him against Sabers again. That game betweein Iolani and Moanalua was a very controversial and strange game all around. Not a Menehune fan but went to watch them play thinking they would meet up with Sabers again. Strange strange strange!

  9. Eastsidaz November 10, 2016 9:16 pm

    Correction. Meant to say “it would have been good to see Moanaluas QB and offense against hat Saver Defense again”

  10. hossana November 11, 2016 10:15 pm

    Hey, going into the 4th qtr. iolani is up 35 to 6 on Campbell….ha..ha…ha…what the heck is happening….all of you crazy OIA fans saying Campbell would be too physical etc…well, plez tell me that score is a mistake…oh, tell me Campbell called the wrong plays….oh, r u saying Campbell has many injuries……oh, wait…..Campbell was looking past Iolani….ha..ha…ha….too funny with the excuses…i mean, Iolani’s O line ave. 5’8″ in height and only 2 players barely over 200 lbs…but hey, the score going into the 4th qtr. is Iolani up by 29 pts…..i guess Campbell will make an extraordinary comeback…ha..ha..ha..

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