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.
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…
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
Include as many teams as reasonably possible.
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.
ILH: Damien-St. Francis loser.
OIA: Pearl City-Waipahu loser, Kaimuki, Roosevelt.
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.