The most recent schedule released by the OIA shows no games scheduled for the Kalaheo and Waialua junior varsity football teams.
This is something new at Kalaheo and something that happens nearly every season at Waialua.
At Kalaheo, varsity coach Darrell Poole is not throwing in the towel as far as the JV team goes.
“We still have a JV team that is practicing, but there are barely 15 kids,” Poole said. “That’s not enough to play games (safely). There are some more players who are coming out for the sport, but they still have to go through helmet and practice protocol before they are eligible.”
Poole is staying positive and hoping the JV team can play some games later in the season. If that does happen, the OIA would have to reformulate a schedule since the Mustangs do not have JV games scheduled right now.
At the varsity level, Kalaheo has about 25 players, according to Poole. The Mustangs are off to a 1-2 start (1-1 OIA Division II), and if they can beat Waialua on Saturday at Farrington’s Skippa Diaz Stadium, they would get to the two-win mark, matching their best win total since 2012.
One reason the turnout for the JV team has been low at Kalaheo, according to Poole, is that practices are being held at Kaha Park in Kailua instead of at the campus practice field, which is being worked on.
“It’s not by the roadside, so people don’t see us practicing at the school and so don’t know we’re practicing,” the coach said. “We’ve always had a JV team as far as I know, so this is something new for me. Having to practice (at Kaha Park) is a logistical nightmare for us, but our field should be done in September or October, so we’ll be able to practice there at some point.”
At Waialua, the glass is half full. And half empty. In other words, the varsity team has plenty of players (about 46), but there just isn’t enough to fill a JV squad again.
About 12 of those Bulldogs players are sophomores who played on the varsity last season and can’t go back down to the JV level. The Bulldogs also have about nine freshmen, 15 juniors and 10 seniors, according to coach Lincoln Barit.
The Waialua varsity (0-2, 0-1) has lost 11 straight games since winning the 2016 OIA D-II title. To make matters worse for the Bulldogs, promising receiver Hunter Apau, who caught 33 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman a year ago, is now at Saint Louis.