Below is the FIRST of Hawaii Prep World’s four-part quick look at the first round of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I football playoffs Friday and Saturday.
This year, things are quite a bit different. In years past, teams playing in the first round faced elimination and also had a chance to move on.
Now, the first-round losers are still eliminated, but the first-round winners gain a spot in the state tournament. The following week, the quarterfinal winners lock up a spot in the inaugural state Open division and the quarterfinal losers head to the state Division I tourney.
Castle at Moanalua
Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
>> Moanalua is the OIA Blue No. 4 seed
>> Castle is the OIA Red No. 5 seed
>> Moanalua (4-4, 3-4)
>> Castle (4-4, 3-4)
>> Moanalua: Savai‘i Eselu (first season)
>> Castle: Nelson Maeda (20th season)
Prize for winning: A quarterfinal matchup against Kapolei (7-1, 6-1 OIA Red) and a spot in either the Open or D-I state tournament. Castle has not made the tournament since 2002 and this is Moanalua’s first-ever chance to reach the Division I tournament. Na Menehune last participated in states in 2009 in Division II.
Prize for losing: Elimination from OIA playoffs. Season over.
Coach Eselu on playing against the Knights:
“You cannot overlook these guys in any game. This is our most important game because it’s our next game. The next team up. Not just because what’s at stake. We don’t want to overhype or underhype it. Every team in the playoffs this week pretty much knows what’s on the line. You can’t rule out that the players aren’t thinking about it. I’m pretty sure they are. But our focus is on now and not what’s going to happen after. Whether we win or we lose, we’re going to put our best foot forward. We’ll try our best and see where we are at. We’ve been watching them (the Knights) very closely. Jeremy McGoldrick (receiver turned quarterback) is a huge staple in their offense. He stretches plays. Any team under Coach Maeda is well-disciplined and in shape. McGoldrick showcases that. He has the discipline, the conditioning level and basic understading. This is going to be a good matchup. They are a big threat, mot a walk in the park type of team. They’re going to give you their best shot. Any mistake you give them, they’re going to nail you for it. So we can’t have any mishaps. I’m sure Coach Maeda is saying the same thing. The team with the least amount of mistakes will win.”
Coach Maeda on playing against Na Menehune: “Beating Kailua last week was a very sweet win. That’s the best way to describe it. Kailua is a a team and a date we circle on the schedule at the start of the season. It gave us momentum going into the game against Moanalua. That is a very big game. They are a very talented and scary team. They’ve put up a lot of points against some outstanding teams. Their quarterback, Alakai Yuen, is so versatile. He can throw, he can run. He punts. And he teams up with Ryan Ramones to make a great passing tandem. They have other receivers who are very formidable. Our defense has their work cut out for them. Moanalua does so many things. They’re not big, but they’re very quic and are not afraid to bring the house on you on defense. They blitz, they give different looks and different packages. We’ve got to make sure we block them and protect.”