The unranked Raiders (4-3, 2-2 ILH) will likely be without the services of sophomore running back Jordan Ross as they try to snap a three-game losing streak to the visiting Buffanblu (5-0, 3-0).
Ross, who has rushed for 658 yards and 10 touchdowns in seven games, injured his left ankle in the second quarter of a 19-3 win over Damien last Saturday. According to KHON2’s Rob DeMello, who hosts his weekly Cover2 High School Football Weekly show on Thursday night’s at 9 p.m., Ross is “doubtful” to play on Saturday.
This isn’t unfamiliar territory for ‘Iolani as our own Paul Honda detailed earlier today.
Nonetheless, it’s a big blow for the Raiders, who have lost 12 of their last 13 meetings against the two-time defending ILH Division I champions.
Since ‘Iolani’s last win over Punahou in 2009, when current University of Hawaii baseball pitcher Jarrett Arakawa threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns, the Buffanblu have outscored the Raiders 118-51, scoring nearly 40 points per game.
Senior quarterback Larry Tuileta has thrown for only 255 yards in his previous two starts against ‘Iolani, but hasn’t had to do much in the passing game. His biggest weapon has been handing it off to his running backs, who have torched the ‘Iolani defense. Last season, Ryan Tuiasoa set a school record in the Prep Bowl and state championship eras, breaking Mosi Tatupu‘s 39-year-old mark of 249 yards rushing in a game with 271 and four touchdowns on 21 carries, averaging nearly 13 yards a pop in a 56-14 win.
In 2011, current UH running back Steven Lakalaka carried 27 times for 169 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-18 victory. That came a year after he finished with 172 rushing yards in a much tighter 24-19 win.
Tuileta has yet to throw for more than 255 yards in a game this season and if history repeats itself on Saturday, that will likely still be the case. Sophomore running back Wayne Taulapapa (5-11, 185), who has one 100-yard rushing game already this season, should expect to see that number double.