Pac-Five in no-man’s land as far as state football is concerned

Pac-Five coach Kip Botelho guided the Wolfpack to a 6-3 record in 2019, their most wins in a decade, but they had no chance at playing in the state tournament. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Pac-Five is a team without a football state tournament to try and qualify for.

The squad is in the same predicament for 2020 that it was in last year, when ILH Division II had only one team for the first time. Under Hawaii High School Athletic Association rules, a league with only one team can’t qualify for a football state berth.

The same rule does not apply to baseball. This spring, the Damien baseball team is the only ILH D-II representative and is guaranteed a state berth.

Pac-Five football coach Kip Botelho believes the ILH will be sending a proposal concerning this issue to the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association to be discussed at that group’s legislative meeting in June. According to the coach, the proposal will suggest a change in the rules to allow Pac-Five to be eligible to qualify even though the Wolfpack are the only ILH D-II team.

“We gotta wait until it’s voted on,” Botelho said in a phone call on Friday. “In our league, there’s a lot of support for it by the ADs and principals. I don’t really know what the big deal is. We’re not asking for a free berth. Only if our record is worthy of it. I don’t know what’s so difficult in asking for that.”

Pac-Five finished 6-3 a year ago, which was a better record than some of the teams that made the OIA playoffs. But the Wolfpack are not part of the OIA — even though they play all of their regular-season games against that league — and thereby could not enter that league’s playoffs anyway.

The ILH has three teams in the Open Division (Saint Louis, Punahou and Kamehameha) and two in Division I (‘Iolani and Damien) and sends one representative each to states in those divisions. There was some scuttlebutt going around about a league realignment — with Kamehameha dropping to ILH D-I and Damien dropping to D-II. But that, apparently, was just talk.

Nelson Maeda, the former Castle coach who was recently hired to be Kalaheo’s head man next season, knows about Pac-Five’s frustration.

“We have a couple of guys at Castle (where Maeda still teaches) who coach at Pac-Five, so I understand where they’re coming from,” Maeda said by phone on Friday. “But it is what it is. It’s out of the coaches’ hands. It’s the athletic directors who make the decisions.”

Botelho considered trying to move Pac-Five up to D-I in order to have a chance at states, but decided against it.

“It’s really not an option for us,” he said. “We don’t have the linemen to compete. We had to use some skill guys on the line last season. You can get away with that in Division II, but not in Division I.”


  1. Common Sense March 7, 2020 7:06 am

    The OIA stay scared cause pac 5 gonna whoop all of them this year… it’s just common sense

  2. Justry March 7, 2020 8:53 am

    Move to D1 problem solved 🤪

  3. Rebel March 7, 2020 9:53 am

    PAC-5 lost to 3 OIA schools. I would understand if they went undefeated in D2,inter league play. May be a play-in game??

  4. bandits1 March 7, 2020 10:52 am

    Just let Pac-5, on a year-to-year basis, join the OIA in D2 football. Problem solved, at least until the ILH realigns their divisions. No one can complain because no one else has this particular problem. To ask Pac-5 to play yet another season with zero hope of a postseason is ridiculous.

  5. Rush March 7, 2020 11:31 am

    I like bandits 1 answer, it’s hard to INCLUDE the ILH because they cry a lot. Coach Kip has a point an they play as a regular team only to be fair to the kids. ILH crys a lot OIA is fine so stop whining or go back to the pl format. Lol!

  6. Simple as that March 7, 2020 11:55 am

    They not only lost to the top 3 D2 schools they were beaten soundly by Roosevelt(15 pts), Kaiser(26 pts) and Kaimuki(22 pts) so the thought of going to D1 would be a mistake. Make it simple, with Roosevelt moving to D1 that will open up a spot for D2 States. Pac5 obviously are not OIA, but play all their games vs OIA, so if they finish in top 4 then they should be allowed to try for D2 States just like anyone else. AD’s need to think about the athletes and give them a goal to shoot for as that sucks knowing before the season you have no chance to make playoffs. Hopefully AD’s do the right thing and allow them to try for 1 of the 4 D2 playoff spots if they qualify..Even a play in game as suggested is better than the current, at least gives them a chance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email