The Kaiser varsity and junior varsity football teams will not be playing in scheduled scrimmages Thursday at Kaimuki.
Kaimuki coach David Tautofi told Hawaii Prep World on Wednesday afternoon that Kaiser pulled out of the scrimmage due a low number of available varsity players.
Kaiser, however, is planning to participate in a three-way scrimmage Saturday against Aiea and McKinley, according to Lindsay Chambers, a spokesperson for the Department of Education. She told Hawaii Prep World on Wednesday that communication about this matter from Kaiser’s end would go through her.
“The scrimmages have been moved around in order for Kaiser High’s football teams to meet HHSAA and OIA safety and acclimation protocols,” Chambers wrote in an email.
The cancellation comes less than a week after a Kaiser parents meeting with the school’s administration. After that meeting last Friday, principal Justin Mew announced the team would be playing a “modified” schedule this year. Although he didn’t define the word modified, it is believed that Kaiser may have to forfeit some games due to low numbers.
According to Tautofi, Kaiser officials initially contacted him on Tuesday to say the Cougars would still be participating in Thursday’s scrimmages before cancelling Wednesday.
Nineteen Kaiser varsity players attended tryouts last week and several are ineligible, according to a statement by Mew from Friday night.
In a related matter, Hawaii Prep World received a copy of a Monday letter written to Kaiser parents from the school’s administration. Jessica Tafao, a parent of two players on the team, provided us with the letter. In it, Mew states that any players who were not at tryouts could possibly be added (but not automatically) to the team on a case-by-case basis.
Kaiser is scheduled to open its season Aug. 4 at Roosevelt, with a home opener on its new artificial turf field scheduled for Aug. 11 against Mililani.
Mew and other Kaiser officials have made it clear that safety is the No. 1 concern. In essence, that means games may be forfeited if it is deemed that there are not enough varsity players to safely play in games.
It is unclear how many Kaiser varsity players would have been available for the scheduled scrimmage Thursday.
Tautofi said the Kaimuki football teams will instead participate in a three-way scrimmage Thursday against Radford and Kailua at Radford High. The start times are 5 p.m. for junior varsity and 6:30 p.m. for varsity.
Kaiser’s three-way scrimmage on Saturday at McKinley begins at 9 a.m. (JV) and 11 a.m. (varsity).