The most unusual season in Hawaii prep football got even more interesting with Kahuku and Kamehameha set to square off in an exhibition game on Oct. 9 at Skippa Diaz Stadium.
Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho confirmed the matchup.
“We’re just happy to be playing,” Carvalho said.
“This is big for us,” Kahuku linebacker Liona Lefau added. “We’re excited and ready to play under the lights! We have a solid team this year with a tight bond, so it’s going to be fun.”
OIA powerhouse Kahuku has not played a game since the fall of 2019. The OIA football season was postponed, then later cancelled in the 2020-21 year. This fall, the DOE halted fall sports as COVID-19 numbers exploded in the islands. With the vaccination requirement in play for all public high school student-athletes, football teams are preparing for the regular season, which begins on Oct. 15 in Open Division and Division II. OIA D-I league games will begin on Oct. 22.
At Kahuku, practices have shifted to the other side of the fence. Carleton Weimer Field is under renovation, so the Red Raiders work out on the grass at Kahuku District Park. Kamehameha’s Kunuiakea Stadium is also being renovated.
Coach Carvalho doesn’t have a clear number of players on his varsity roster yet.
“We are finalizing this week. Checking on (medical and religious) exemptions,” he said.
Kamehameha is currently 1-1 and coming off an upset win over Saint Louis. That thrust the Warriors into a share of the No. 1 ranking with the Crusaders in this week’s Star-Advertiser Football Top 10.
In addition to Kahuku-Kamehameha, Damien and Moanalua have an exhibition game slated for Oct. 15. Moanalua had a gap that weekend after the OIA recently moved its D-I games for Oct. 15 back to the end of the regular season.
“Coach Vinnie (Nihipali of Moanalua) agreed to a game,” Damien coach Anthony Tuitele said.
With the support of its administration, Moanalua was one of the first schools that returned to training in the offseason.
“We’re feeling great. It’s a long time coming,” Nihipali said. “We look forward to seeing these kids in live action after that long pause.”
Moanalua begins its regular season on Oct. 22.
“It’s getting (Moanalua) prepared for the season. At the end, the (crossover) games don’t count. This is the only way we’re going to learn. We’re using the game to get extra reps and get more film for our kids,” Tuitele said.
OIA D-I has just six teams this season with a single round robin of five games. In each classification, the OIA playoffs are limited to a championship game. OIA D-I teams have two bye weekends to play with, which opens the possibilities of exhibition games.
“That was the plan all along, for the OIA to have crossover games,” ‘Iolani coach and ILH football coordinator Wendell Look said. “It’s up to each individual school to schedule games. It’s kind of the reverse of preseason for us, and it’s preseason for the OIA.”
‘Iolani has not set up an exhibition game yet.
“We’re trying to schedule games, trying to fit it into our schedule and their schedules,” Look said.
OIA football bye weeks
Campbell – Oct. 8-9, Oct. 22-23
Farrington – Oct. 8-9, Nov. 5-6
Kahuku – Nov. 19-20
Leilehua – Oct. 8-9, Oct. 15-16
Mililani – Oct. 8-9, Oct. 29-30
Waianae – Oct. 8-9, Nov. 26-27
Aiea – Oct. 15-16, Nov. 5-6, Nov. 19-20
Castle – Oct. 15-16, Nov. 5-6
Kailua – Oct. 15-16, Oct. 29-30, Nov. 19-20
Moanalua – Nov. 19-20
Roosevelt – Oct. 15-16, Nov. 12-13, Nov. 19-20
Waipahu – Oct. 15-16, Oct. 29-30, Nov. 12-13
Kaimuki – Nov. 5-6
Kaiser – Nov. 26-27
Kalaheo – Dec. 10-11
Kalani – Nov. 19-20
McKinley – Oct. 22-23
Nanakuli – Oct. 15-16
Pearl City – Oct. 29-30
Radford – Dec. 3-4
Waialua – Nov. 5-6
>> OIA D-I regular season ends Dec. 4
>> ILH Open playoffs Oct. 22, Oct. 29
>> HHSAA state tournament, Dec. 31-Jan. 1, Jan. 7-8
Yikes. Before ILH Playoffs??
Kamehameha not thinking about injuries in that game with Kahuku, not to bright
If you’re thinking about injuries before you even play the game, you’re probably going to get injured!
This has to be after October 19, 2021. The restrictions will still be on. That is the extended period time for outdoor gatherings. This includes football.
Outer islands like the Big Island, MIL, KIF all play in at the playoffs. Which is okay. But the season opener with them has to come in after Oct. 19. The games will go past Jan. 7-8 of 2022. Possibly into Spring time. This will get kind of messy. I think interisland travel will be the most troublesome. They will have to be vaccinated to travel. I don’t see it any other way.
Kudos to Coach Maafala. Winning a championship is nice but Coach Maafala is putting his ego aside and thinking only about his players and giving them more opportunities to just play football before they graduate. Would you want to play 4 games and be declared the ILH champion or play 7, 8, or 9 games and give your players the opportunity to participate.
Justine Smith- does this apply if no spectators are allowed?
Next Kane Up.
If you win the ILH Championship you play in the state tournament & can schedule OIA during their bye weeks = more games.
If you dont = all pau = less games
And, of all the teams to play.
Gotta give em respect for taking on the best.
They lack depth on the Hill & you lose that NG and you will be in a heap of trouble.
Chances of that happening? IDK, do the RR’s run the ball much?
You lose 1 of those Olineman you got problems.
That RB gets injured. All Pau.
Next Kane Up for sure but the drop may be too much to win the ILH.
Thats ok. HC job is secure at least for this year with that Lulu win.