Pupule ballot: Kapolei vs. Kamehameha, anybody?

Kamehameha quarterback Thomas Yam scrambled away from a Saint Louis defender on Saturday. The Warriors finished the season 4-5 with all five losses against Punahou and Saint Louis. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Mililani overtook Kahuku in the Star-Advertiser Football Top 10 on Monday.

Don’t look at me.

Pupule FB ballot 10/23/17
1. Saint Louis Crusaders (8-0)
2. Kahuku Red Raiders (9-1)
3. Mililani Trojans (10-0)
4. Kamehameha Warriors (4-5)
5. Punahou Buffanblu (5-3)
6. Lahainaluna Lunas (9-1)
7. Waipahu Marauders (9-0)
8. Campbell Sabers (7-4)
9. Waianae Seariders (6-4)
10. Leilehua Mules (6-3)

My only change from last week’s ballot is… none. There is no change. St. Francis is very close, right on the cusp. The difference is Leilehua edged the Saints 13-9 in a game that could’ve gone either way back in early August. As for Mililani jumping over Kahuku, well, that’s something that’ll be settled next week in the OIA Division I title game. I still believe the physicality of Kahuku’s O-line and the overall superiority of its defense are unsurpassed in the OIA. But the argument against Mililani as a No. 2 (or No. 3) team is not strong. The Trojans are perfect so far. What else are they supposed to do?

Let’s be clear. The poll is a collection of guesses from people who have widely varying criteria. When I used to collect the ballots, there were a few voters who considered this a list of prophecy rather than a resume of results. OK. To each his own. There were also voters who shunned all results (mostly) and preferred to base votes on talent level alone. So that voter’s ballots never had a Division II team. Ever. OK. To each his own.

In football, the hierarchy is constant. Year to year, we can generally guess the top 3, if not the top 5. It’s not an exhaustive process. But after that, it gets interesting. That’s in most years. This fall, it’s been fascinating to see voters 1) respect Kamehameha’s strength of schedule, even before the Warriors beat Punahou in the ILH playoffs two weekends ago, 2) push Mililani past Punahou, and then Kahuku (this week), 3) pay homage to D-II Lahainaluna from a fairly early point of the season.

A fourth point of interest would be the return of Hilo to the poll this week. Nine points accumulated from panelists might not be much, but voters easily could have hoisted a more familiar team, whether it would be an ILH D-II powerhouse or remaining OIA teams (Kapolei, Leilehua, Farrington) that have been eliminated from postseason play.

With that thought, and what I’ve mentioned before about the MacNut Bowl of the early 1990s — when BIIF champion Konawaena hosted ILH first-round runner-up Damien in a postseason exhibition game — it would be fun to see teams compete in interleague matchups. A year ago, the HHSAA had 20 teams participating in the state championships. TWENTY. That’s almost half of the teams statewide, not including 8-man teams from the BIIF and MIL.

HHSAA field
Open Division: six. (Four OIA, two ILH).
Division I: eight. (Four OIA, one ILH, two BIIF, one MIL).
Division II: six. (two OIA, one ILH, one BIIF, one MIL, one KIF).

This year, the field count is down to 12. That’s a 40-percent reduction. That is massive.

Open Division: four (three OIA, one ILH).
Division I: four. (no OIA, one ILH, one BIIF, one MIL, one KIF).
Division II: four. (one OIA, one ILH, one BIIF, one MIL)..

There are myriad reasons for the big slice. Administrators are sometimes loathe to let a sports season stretch into an extra week, or four, for state-tourney purposes. They love the new format that starts the fall season in late July and ends before Thanksgiving. It also allows fall athletes to get started with winter sports at a favorable time.

OIA administrators, at least in the past 20 years, haven’t been completely pro-state tournament when it comes to football. The Oahu Prep Bowl was a major revenue source back in the day, and there were far fewer mouths to feed since only the ILH and OIA participated. There have also been league leaders who preferred to shrink the state tournament rather than expand it. Sending a third-place team (or lower) to a state tourney didn’t make sense to them.

All good points. But I have yet to meet an OIA coach who thinks avoiding all participation in the football D-I state tourney is a wondrous idea. That may never change. So, here’s a pupule idea for the teams that are eliminated at this point. Set up a bowl-game bracket. D-I and D-II. No Open.

Why do this? Rod York was, at best, tolerant of bringing his team into the D-I state tourney last year. It was, and still is, in his mind, a Hawaii Bowl scenario. And after playing three games, he loved the development and extra games and practice experience his young team gained. Like other coaches in the OIA, such as Darren Hernandez of Kapolei, he would not be against the league’s return to D-I.

In lieu of that…

Scenario 1
Keep the field tight. Include the ILH D-II runner-up. Remember preseason? Remember Leilehua barely beating St. Francis? Yep. Also, this pre-set schedule considers Leilehua’s injuries.

Bowl week 1:
Campbell-Waianae loser vs. Kamehameha
Kapolei vs. Punahou
Farrington vs. ILH D-II runner-up
Leilehua vs. Baldwin

Bowl week 2:
Campbell-Waianae loser vs. Punahou
Kapolei vs. Kamehameha
Farrington vs. Baldwin
Leilehua vs. ILH D-II runner-up

Scenario 2
Include as many teams as reasonably possible.

Division I
ILH: Kamehameha, Punahou
OIA: Farrington, Kapolei, Leilehua. Also the Campbell-Waianae loser.
Note: For the sake of avoiding potential repetition, OIA teams would not play each other in the first round.
Bowl week 1: Kapolei vs. Kamehameha, Farrington vs. Punahou.
Bowl week 2: Kapolei-Kamehameha winner vs. Leilehua; Farrington-Punahou winner vs. Campbell-Waianae loser.
Bowl week 3: Bowl finals.

Division II
ILH: Damien-St. Francis loser.
OIA: Pearl City-Waipahu loser, Kaimuki, Roosevelt.
MIL: Kamehameha-Maui.
BIIF: Kamehameha-Hawaii.
Bowl week 1: Kaimuki vs. KS-Maui, Roosevelt vs. KS-Hawaii.
Bowl week 2: Kaimuki/KS-Maui winner vs. Damien-St. Francis loser; Roosevelt/KS-Hawaii winner vs. Pearl City-Waipahu loser.
Bowl week 3: Bowl finals.

This is not a proposal or proposition to have bowl games this season. It’s way too late to imagine anything like that. But at the very least, this shows that there are plenty of teams that would push forward and play extra interleague games given the opportunity. There may be a team or two that would decline due to mounting injuries, but for the most part, these teams are ready to play more. The season was too short. They play 15 games in the CIF, for goodness sake.


  1. TooMeke October 24, 2017 12:35 pm

    I’m glad speculation season is over. Time to put up or shut up.

    Hoping for great games and no injuries.

    As for scenarios – other than more games and more reps for lesser teams, there’s no incentive for the better teams…in their cases, less is more.

    I don’t think there’ll ever be the “perfect” scenario, so let’s just deal with what we have (although I do think the OIA needs to pull their heads out and participate in all three tiers).

  2. Alpha October 24, 2017 12:36 pm

    Bowl week sounds awesome, if rather watch Kapolei vs Kam then a D2 title game.

  3. Awrite!! October 24, 2017 12:41 pm

    The open division should be a bowl series of two games
    prep bowl: OIA1 vs ILH1 = State champion
    manini bowl: OIA2 vs ILH2 = 3rd place

    Dont forget that if you want to find ways to extend the season for these football teams then you need to do it for all sports because football is not the only sport in the world you know that right!?

  4. Paul Honda October 24, 2017 12:51 pm

    If this pupule bowl/exhibition series ever came into play, they would be done before or by the same time the HHSAA state tournament would end. Football season would not be extended either way. This weekend, there are only two games in the entire state.

  5. Awrite!! October 24, 2017 1:53 pm

    You are extending the amount of games for the teams that did not make the playoffs. This can apply to all sports, the volleyball, basketball, softball or soccer teams that dont make the state tourney can have “bowl” games too.

  6. Tumbs Up October 24, 2017 3:03 pm

    Idk scenarios…. I’m glad we’re having all 3 championship games on the same day at the same site. What an eventful evening at Aloha Stadium. Already have plans to tailgate, even though we can’t. Awesome. Good luck to all the young gentlemen and women performing

  7. 88 October 24, 2017 3:18 pm

    It does apply to other sports. Look at girls volleyball. Kahuku got bounced out of the OIA playoffs. Was there season done? No they played 2 more games to qualify for State. How did they do in State? They won their 1st round game. More is better.

  8. Hau'ulaBoy October 24, 2017 3:43 pm

    I like this little fantasy bowl idea. Then OIA officals dont have to get panties in a bunch about three tiers. Lets do this. You also get to keep integrity of the State Championship.

  9. Coach C October 24, 2017 4:09 pm

    Paul your post season bowl series make too much sense. For the teams that look for advantages for the next season, this would be a great time to incorporate and develop the jv players with varsity play.

  10. The Rim October 24, 2017 4:21 pm

    I like the idea! We could have the mud bowl in Hilo and the sun bowl at Kealakehe.

  11. Awrite!! October 24, 2017 4:32 pm

    They didnt get bounced they fell out of contention for the OIA title but continued to play for the top 6 positions and made it in as #5.

    Campbell Football and Waianae fell out of contention for the OIA title and are now playing for the 3rd and final spot. If you dont want your season to be over then win your games its as simple as that.

    Kahuku football lost to Campbell a few seasons ago and didnt make the state tourney, I didnt want to see them continue playing because they lost and were un-deserving, they had deficiencies in their game and needed to go back to the drawing board and prepare for next season.

    Everyone whos season is over has deficiencies and needs to prepare to comeback stronger next season. Knowing that the best team from the ILH and the best from the OIA are going to battle it out for the state title in a few weeks is good enough for me and leaves no doubt about who is the best.

  12. Hau'ulaBoy October 24, 2017 7:19 pm

    Good job Pupule Paul. I still dont agree with having D2 schools ranked higher than teams from D1, we know most likely would smash them. But just cuz they have a better record they are ranked higher, even though the play in a lower division with much less talent and size. Thats why they seperated into two Divsions because they couldnt hang with D1. You give some of those same D1 schools that you ranked higher, lets say, Iolani, Lahina, Damien or St. Francis schedule to Waianae, Kapolei or Campbell and they’d be undefeated and looking like champs.

  13. Paul Honda October 24, 2017 8:16 pm

    St. Francis fumbled at the 2-yard line near the end of a 13-9 loss at Leilehua. The D-II powerhouses can hang for a half or more, just not for 10 weeks in a row due to depth issues. That’s understood.

    But at some point, when a D-II team is unbeaten for a long stretch, that resume deserves some love. After all, the ceiling is low and the floor is much, much lower for most D-II programs. Lack of SOS, they lose to another D-II (unranked), and it’s a long dive off the cliff. So I don’t mind giving D-II teams some love, especially when they beat (almost) everybody by substantial margins.

    We see some of it in the college rankings for football and basketball. Gonzaga, Butler, San Diego State in college hoops. From mid-tier conferences, building stronger each year. In the OIA, teams don’t get much choice in classification, but there would be much more sense with three divisions like they did in the late 1980s and early ’90s. I’ve written hundreds of inches on this…

  14. Hau'ulaBoy October 24, 2017 10:13 pm

    Thank you for your perspective and your doing a great job. IMHO the two divisions should have seperate polls. Just like UH did not deserve to play in the BCS that year, proven on the field, these D2 teams would not stand a chance. Yes on any given sunday (friday) any team can win, but 9 out of 10 times the bigger, faster, stronger and better coached will prevail. And yes, the little guys need love, but thats what bowl games are for. But thanks for the response. RR4L._.

  15. BlameSomeoneElse October 25, 2017 12:05 am

    I remember when ILH Champ St. Louis played BIIF champ Konawaena back in 1984, and then as ILH runners-up again played BIIF champ Konawaena. The first game was before the Prep Bowl against Leilehua, the second game, I believe, was agreed to prior to the 1985 season.

  16. Kamehameha#1 October 25, 2017 9:46 am

    “Bowl week sounds awesome, if rather watch Kapolei vs Kamehameha then a D2 title game”

    You are absolutely right! Can you Imagine Mililani vs Kamehameha, or Punahou vs Waianae. Its all about the kids!

  17. Kamehameha#1 October 25, 2017 9:51 am

    How boring is that Kamehameha played Punahou and St.Louis 3 times this year. How about Damian and St. Francis? 4! What would you want to do something like that?

  18. anywaaaays!! October 26, 2017 7:39 pm

    Kamehameha#1 October 25, 2017 9:51 am
    How boring is that Kamehameha played Punahou and St.Louis 3 times this year. How about Damian and St. Francis? 4! What would you want to do something like that?”

    Maybe you guys should stop recruiting, destroying the competitive balance in the state, and break apart communities by stealing our children in order to power your football factory “schools.” Until then, you guys can just play each other 10 times in the season. Nobody cares about the ILH except those who support their corrupt agenda.

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