FOURTH IN A SERIES
(On the five Neighbor Island teams in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships)
This is Year 7 of Hilo’s run as champion in the BIIF. It is also a time when the Vikings are out to get something they gave up a year ago.
That’s the Division I state championship, which Waipahu took from Hilo 42-22 in the 2018 final. It was two years ago when the Vikings made a major breakthrough for Big Islanders, winning the island’s first state crown — 35-19 over Damien in the final.
“For the most part, the season has gone how we envisioned up to this point with what we had coming back,” Hilo coach Kaeo Drummondo said. “Of course, we’re always worried about eligibility and injury, but we’ve been fortunate to have guys available. We still have a lot of work we’ve got to to do, but we’re excited to be part of the state tournament. It’s always a privilege and we try not to take it for granted.”
The Vikings are 12-0, including a 10-0 mark in the BIIF regular season, and are ranked No. 6 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10. The other wins are a nonleague game against BIIF D-II competitor Kamehameha-Hawaii and a victory over Konawaena in the league’s D-I championship game.
“Our passing game has been our strength this year,” Drummondo said. “The running game has opened up because of what we do in the passing game. That’s something that has carried us through the entire season. Defensively, we have players who have done what has been asked of them — alignment, assignment football. Each and every week, we try to get better, trying to play sound football.”
Junior running back Lyle Silva and quarterback Kyan Miyasato are among the Vikings’ leaders on offense.
“Silva started the year at middle linebacker,” Drummondo said. “We saw some things and felt that adding him in at running back gave us that physical complement in the run game that our offense needed. Kyan’s an experienced quarterback, has maturity and understanding of what we want distributing the ball.”
Kalen White is Hilo’s “emotional leader” of the defense, according to Drummondo. Elijah Apao is a three-year starter at cornerback. Other major contributors on defense are free safety Kapana Kana’e-Kane and nose guard Tyson Kaniaupio.
“We’re looking forward to seeing who we’ll be playing (in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I semifinals Nov. 23 at Wong Stadium),” the coach said.
In that game, top-seeded Hilo will play fourth-seeded Leilehua (10-2) at Wong Stadium on the Big Island.
The second and third seeds, Moanalua (10-1) and ‘Iolani (9-2), play at Na Menehune’s home field in the other semifinal game Nov. 23. The winners play in the second game of a championship tripleheader Nov. 29 at Aloha Stadium.
“There’s some very good teams, quality, well-cocached,” Drummondo said. “This is what you prepare for. This is what you should be looking forward to. No extra motivation needed.”
Hilo is 3-7 all-time in D-I state tournament games.
2019 Hilo Vikings (12-0)
>> Aug. 16: Hilo 54, Kamehameha-Hawaii 10, at Wong Stadium
>> Aug. 23: Hilo 56, at Keaau 0
>> Aug. 30: Hilo 51, Kealakehe 21, at Wong Stadium
>> Sept. 7: Hilo 104, Waiakea 0, at Wong Stadium
>> Sept. 14: Hilo 66, Honokaa 0, at Wong Stadium
>> Sept. 20: Hilo 43, at Konawaena 0
>> Sept. 28: Hilo 42, Keaau 0, at Wong Stadium
>> Oct. 4: Hilo 56, at Honokaa 6
>> Oct. 12: Hilo 55, at Waiakea 0
>> Oct. 19: Hilo 51, at Kealakehe 0
>> Oct. 25: Hilo 45, Konawaena 7, at Wong Stadium
>> Nov. 2: Hilo 42, Konawaena 18, at Wong Stadium
>> Nov. 23: Leilehua/Baldwin winner vs. Hilo, at Wong Stadium
All-time Division I state tournament appearances
>> Quarterfinals: Kaimuki 20, Hilo 0, at Wong Stadium
>> Quarterfinals: Farrington 27, Hilo 0, at Keaau High field
>> First round: Campbell 42, Hilo 23, at Keaau High field
>> First round: Kahuku 20, Hilo 10, at Aloha Stadium
>> First round: Mililani 62, Hilo 18, at Aloha Stadium
>> First round: Leilehua 26, Hilo 25, at Keaau High field
>> Semifinals: Hilo 26, Maui 7, at Wong Stadium
>> Championship game: Hilo 35, Damien 19, at Aloha Stadium
>> Semifinals: Hilo 35, Maui 24, at Keaau High field
>> Championship game: Waipahu 42, Hilo 22