At one point in history, Kahuku and Waianae had combined to win 11 consecutive OIA titles.
The Red Raiders have won more OIA championships than anyone else — 24 to be exact. Next on the list? Waianae with 18.
Some will say it’s hard to call it a rivalry when Kahuku has won 15 consecutive meetings, but the atmosphere at Carleton Weimer Field on Friday night when the fourth-ranked Seariders face the top-ranked Red Raiders will definitely show otherwise.
Kahuku versus Waianae is a rivalry worthy of a name, especially now that the teams have played at least once every season since 2009.
But as it turns out, it’s a rivalry that might already have one.
Back in 1975, the Seariders slugged their way to a 13-6 win over the Red Raiders. The two teams had played three times in two years alternating victories. Prior to that, the last regular-season meeting took place in 1969 when Kahuku hosted Waianae and played to a scoreless tie.
Before losing by a touchdown in ’75, then-Kahuku coach Chuck Meade dubbed the game the “Crunch Bowl” for all the vicious hits that took place.
Waianae coach Larry Ginoza responded, saying. “He can talk like that because he’s got the people to crunch people. If we had people like that we could say the same thing.”
Surely, Ginoza was simply being humble to his former assistant, because his Seariders that season were the real deal. They went on to win the OIA championship and were 12-0 before losing in the Prep Bowl to Kamehameha. Despite the 20-14 loss to the Warriors, Waianae finished the year allowing just 5.4 points per game (4.2 ppg excluding the Prep Bowl).
That 0-0 tie in ’69 is the closest Waianae has come to winning a game at Kahuku in 50 years, but the Seariders have had opportunities since. Waianae is 0-6 on the North Shore since that game with all six contests happening between 2003 and 2013. Kahuku has averaged 28.3 points in those six wins while holding the Seariders to 10.2 points per game.
You’d think Waianae would have gotten its shot to return the favor at Raymond Torii Field on the West side, but as it turns out, the two teams have not played in Waianae since the night Meade dubbed the rivalry the “Crunch Bowl.”
The next 24 meetings all took place at Aloha Stadium until Kahuku hosted Waianae and won 41-8 in 2003. The two teams played four more times at Aloha Stadium before Kahuku hosted five consecutive meetings. Friday will mark the seventh time since 2003 Kahuku hosts Waianae, yet the Red Raiders haven’t made it to Waianae’s field in more than 40 years.
The rivalry has become one-sided since the beginning of the state championship era in 1999. Kahuku has won eight of the 17 Division I state championships while Waianae, which hasn’t won an OIA title since 1997, has only advanced to a state final once — and that was only after Kahuku had to forfeit its season. The series history between the two schools shows that as well. Kahuku has won 15 consecutive meetings since Waianae’s last victory — a 12-7 final on Sept. 22, 2000. Overall, the Red Raiders lead the series 26-13-1 in the Prep Bowl and state championship eras, but before that game on Sept. 22, 2000, it was Waianae which held a 13-11-1 advantage.
Kahuku won both games last year without allowing a point, but a 13-0 win in the state semifinals was probably the toughest game the undefeated Red Raiders had all year.
The recent trends all favor Kahuku, but the Seariders have a lot going in their favor. Waianae has already knocked off two ranked teams this season with both wins coming on the road. The Seariders have an experienced quarterback in two-year starter Jaren Ulu. Kahuku will start a freshman in Sol-Jay Maiava at quarterback. The Seariders have already been tested this season. Kahuku (49-15 vs. Leilehua, 50-7 vs. Aiea) hasn’t.
Rarely do we get a regular-season game in late August with as much buildup and hype as this. Waianae is telling all of its fans making the trip to wear blue, while the home crowd will undoubtedly be a mass of red and white.
A bowl game atmosphere in late-August? Sure, we’ll take it. We’ve even got a name for it that is still pretty fitting of these two schools some 41 years later.
The Crunch Bowl is just two days away.