Pac-Five did something rare last week. If forfeited a football game.
But it looks like that forfeit will be a one-shot deal, according to coach Kip Botelho.
The Wolfpack (1-6, 0-5 Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II) will have enough players to play their season finale against ‘Iolani on Saturday at 3 p.m. on the Raiders’ field.
“We’re going to play this week,” Botelho said. “We’ve got somewhere in the mid-30s, about 32 or 33. Thirty practiced today (Thursday) and we had a couple guys in shorts who are going to play.”
There is an ILH rule stating that teams must have at least 30 players to participate in a game. Less than 30 players means a forfeit, and that’s why the Wolfpack forfeited last week against Damien.
“It was tough to forfeit that game,” Botelho said. “We were in the 20s that week. After the St. Francis game (a 47-6 loss), we had 19 at practice and eventually got up to the mid-20s.
“We’re trying to hang in and finish the season. We’re going to line up and play.”
Pac-Five has been hit by the injury bug big-time this season.
“This is not normal,” Botelho said.
Three Wolfpack players have broken their legs this season — defensive back Makana Bertelmann, lineman Rudy Gaylord-Benigno and slotback Shaydon Koki.
Two of three key players who Pac-Five lost for the would-be Damien game are back. One of them, starting quarterback Tyler Fukuroda, however, will kick and not play QB. AJ Ulufale, a wide receiver who is also a backup quarterback, will play. According to Botelho, Ulufale broke a small bone in his wrist and is in a soft cast, but he is going to play against ‘Iolani.
But defensive back and running back Kaikea Gonsales is day-to-day and hasn’t practiced yet this week and probably won’t play.
Other starters who are still out include lineman/fullback Chyson Pena, lineman Kekuewa Wong, defensive back Pona Aga and running back Kualii Park. In addition, Botelho said a couple of players are academically ineligible.
“Everybody is banged up this time of year, but having this many guys out is unusual,” Botelho said. “We got a bunch of guys back from injury and sickness this week, and that’s why we’re able to play.
“We’ve been going easy the past two weeks. Mostly conditioning.”