Monday’s practice wasn’t exactly just another workout for the Pearl City football teams.
The school’s artificial turf field was cleared for use earlier in the day and the Chargers varsity and junior varsity teams held their first practices on the new playing surface.
“They were totally excited,” Pearl City coach Robin Kami said.
Pearl City had played its previous two “home” games this season at Aiea. While work on the accompanying track continues, the school received clearance to use the field in time to hold the Chargers’ homecoming game on campus Friday against Kaimuki.
“It’s a big thing for the seniors too, to be able to play one more game at home,” Kami said.
Aside from having to travel for all six games to date, the field renovation didn’t disrupt the Chargers’ routine all that much, Kami said. The football teams routinely practiced on the neighboring baseball and softball field in past years to reduce wear on the football field.
The Chargers hope to add another home game in the OIA Division II playoffs, but Kami noted they can’t afford to start thinking about the postseason just yet. Although Pearl City leads the division at 5-0 (5-1 overall), it still needs a win in its final two regular season games to secure a playoff spot.
Five teams remain in contention for four playoff spots, with Waipahu (5-1), Kaimuki (4-2), Waialua (3-2) and Kalani (3-2) still in the mix. After playing Kaimuki on Friday, Pearl City closes the regular season at Waialua on Oct. 14. The game was originally scheduled for Sept. 3 but was moved to the end of the season due to the approach of Hurricane Lester.
Waialua faces McKinley (0-5) on Saturday and Waipahu closes the regular season against Kalani. The division’s regular season ends Oct. 14 with Kalani taking on McKinley along with the Pearl City-Waialua game.
Since opening the regular season with a 35-20 win over Kalani on Aug. 12, Pearl City has allowed just 15 points over its last four games, posting shutouts against Roosevelt on Aug. 19 and McKinley last week. Quarterback Kekainalu Simon has thrown for eight touchdowns against two interceptions. Charles Freitas leads the ground game with 349 yards and five scores.
Kaimuki counters with an offense averaging 31 points per game in division play. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Solomon leads the division with 18 touchdown passes (20 overall) and is averaging 222 passing yards per game and 6.9 per attempt. The Bulldogs are coming off a 36-28 loss to Waipahu last Saturday.