‘Iolani will play Division I football in 2016, head coach Wendell Look told Hawaii Prep World on Saturday.
Look said he and the team met in February and that’s when the players voted to remain in Division I for a second straight season.
The Raiders were a dominant team in Division II, winning eight state titles from 2005 to 2014 and 11 Interscholastic League of Honolulu titles in a row from 2004 to 2014.
A rule put into the ILH books a few years ago requires teams winning multiple state or league titles in D-II to move up to D-I, barring appeal, for at least one season. The Raiders did that in 2015 and went 0-6 in ILH D-I with two losses each to Saint Louis, Punahou and Kamehameha.
The Raiders had the option to move back to D-II this season.
“The players decided they want to stay in D-I,” Look said. “I’ve always said that we would make the decision together. They’re the ones who have to play and compete and put the work in. We as coaches will support them and help them succeed, whether it’s Division I or Division II. They’ve set a goal for themselves to win that first Division I game.”
Look said he plans to allow the players to decide which division they want to be in each season, if there is a choice. Enrollment-wise, ‘Iolani fits into Division I classification for the ILH, but a league rule allows one team sport per athletic year to play down a division. For years, ‘Iolani chose football to move down to D-II, where — based on win-loss record — there is a case to be made that they belong.
Since the start of the 2010 season, the Raiders are 43-25 overall, but just 4-24 against Division I teams statewide.