Pupule ballot: Might of the Mules

Leilehua quarterback Kona Andres (1) congratulated receiver Jeremy Evans (2) after the two connected for a touchdown pass against Farrington at Hugh Yoshida Stadium. Photo by Darryl Oumi/Special to Star-Advertiser (Sept. 29, 2017)

Pupule ballot 10/2/17
1. Saint Louis Crusaders (6-0, 3-0 ILH)
2. Kahuku Red Raiders (7-1, 7-0 OIA)
3. Mililani Trojans (8-0, 7-0 OIA)
4. Punahou Buffanblu (5-1, 2-1 ILH)
5. Kamehameha Warriors (3-4, 0-4 ILH)
6. Damien Monarchs (7-1, 5-0 ILH D-II)
7. Lahainaluna Lunas (7-1, 6-0 MIL)
8. Leilehua Mules (6-2, 5-2 OIA)
9. Waipahu Marauders (8-0, 7-0 OIA D-II)
10. Campbell Sabers (5-3, 5-2 OIA)

Summary: Not a lot of change. Last week, my ballot was unchanged. This time, Leilehua lands at No. 8. Seeing them control the line of scrimmage for the most part against Farrington was a revelation. Side note: I was prepared to move St. Francis into this ballot. Ever since their 13-9 loss at Leilehua, they’ve been handcuffed to each other in my perspective, and with the Mules at No. 8, I would’ve been fine with the Saints at No. 10. But St. Francis lost to ‘Iolani, so…

Pupule ballot 10/2/17
1. Saint Louis Crusaders (6-0, 3-0 ILH)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 1
How I voted last week: No.1

Over the weekend: def. *Kamehameha 23-12
Wins: @ *Waianae 49-7, Baldwin 61-0, *Kamehameha 44-0, *Punahou 49-13, *Kamehameha 23-12.
Losses: None.
Next: vs. *Punahou, Aloha Stadium, Saturday, 6 p.m.

The skinny: After the run of high-scoring wins, the reversion to a more conservative tempo and result was no surprise. Last year, even with Tua Tagovailoa at QB, the Crusaders had more difficulty in the second matchups with ILH foes, and eventually, Saint Louis adapted to a slower pace and thrived in it. Winning by 11 instead of 35 matters only to national polls; the Crusaders dropped two notches in the MaxPreps rankings. Ridiculous.

A win over Punahou seals the first round and locks a spot in the ILH finals for Saint Louis. A loss would put both teams in a tie for first place.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

2. Kahuku Red Raiders (7-1, 7-0 OIA)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 2t
How I voted last week: No. 2

Over the weekend: def. @ *Campbell 45-6.
Wins: Leilehua 24-0, @ *Waianae 37-0, Moanalua 40-6, @ Aiea 51-7, Kaiser 2-0 (forfeit), Radford 64-0, @ *Campbell 45-6.
Losses: *Bingham (Utah) 17-0 at Las Vegas.
Next: Idle. Vs. Aiea-Kapolei winner, Oct. 13-14 at Kahuku.

The skinny: Kahuku has been a defensive juggernaut in the OIA for so long, it might be awhile — the OIA finals? — before they get a true test.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

3. Mililani Trojans (8-0, 7-0 OIA)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 2t
How I voted last week: No. 3

Over the weekend: def. *Kailua 52-0.
Wins: @ Kaiser 2-0 (forfeit), Leilehua 47-0, @ Castle 49-0, @ Clayton Valley Charter (Calif.) 49-30, @ *Farrington 42-6, @ *Kapolei 42-21, Nanakuli 44-33, *Kailua 52-0.
Losses: None.
Next: Idle. Vs. Kailua-Moanalua winner, Oct. 13-14 at Mililani.

The skinny: The OIA’s finest offensive machine gets a bye, which is more opportunity to get reps, especially for younger players. It’s easy to get hungry for a Kahuku-Mililani showdown, but the history of the OIA playoffs has its share of upsets. The Trojans will likely be in grind mode these next two weeks, and get some valuable rest/healing time.

Sumo rank: Ozeki.

4. Punahou Buffanblu (5-1, 2-1 ILH)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 4
How I voted last week: No. 4

Over the weekend: Idle.
Wins: Moanalua 35-7, *Torrey Pines (Calif.) 56-42, @ *Serra 56-42, *Kamehameha 21-0, *Kamehameha 21-17.
Losses: *Saint Louis 49-13.
Next: vs. *Saint Louis, Aloha Stadium, Saturday, 6 p.m.

The skinny: Kamehameha closed the gap with the Crusaders, at least score-wise, last weekend and the Buffanblu are likely to do the same. It’s difficult in the ILH to widen the gap.

Sumo rank: Ozeki.

5. Kamehameha Warriors (3-4, 0-4 ILH)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 5
How I voted last week: No. 5

Over the weekend: lost to *Saint Louis 23-12.
Wins: @ *Farrington 34-15, @ *Lahainaluna 34-10, Carson (Calif.) 33-10.
Losses: *Saint Louis 44-0, *Punahou 21-0, *Punahou 21-17, *Saint Louis 23-12.
Next: Idle. ILH playoffs TBA.

The skinny: It’s hard to tell any team that there are moral victories, but the facts are that the Warriors have closed the game substantially against their ILH D-I foes. They’ll need to make another big step forward to pull off an upset win or two in the upcoming second round.

Sumo rank: Ozeki. Normally, four losses in a row would merit demotion, but quality of play and strength of schedule are overwhelmingly in Kamehameha’s favor at this point.

6. Damien Monarchs (7-1, 5-0 ILH D-II)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 10
How I voted last week: No. 6

Over the weekend: def. Pac-Five 2-0 (forfeit).
Wins: @ Castle 42-7, @ Kealakehe 20-7, ‘Iolani 35-21, Pac-Five 39-18, St. Francis 27-20, @ ‘Iolani 42-35 (OT).
Losses: *Villa Park (Calif.) 14-6.
Next: vs. St. Francis, Aloha Stadium, Saturday, 3 p.m.

The skinny: St. Francis’ loss to ‘Iolani last week means the Monarchs clinched the first-round title in ILH D-II. On paper, that means this weekend’s matchup has no effect standings-wise. Having a week of rest and healing due to Pac-Five’s forfeiture can only help.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

7. Lahainaluna Lunas (7-1, 6-0 MIL)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 9
How I voted last week: No. 7

Over the weekend: def. King Kekaulike 52-0.
Wins: @ Pearl City 20-7, King Kekaulike 45-0, Maui 32-13 (War Memorial Stadium), Baldwin 28-20 (WMS), @ Kamehameha-Maui 39-19, Maui 24-17, King Kekaulike 52-0.
Losses: *Kamehameha 34-10.
Next: vs. Baldwin, Friday, 7 p.m.

The skinny: Maui closed the gap with the Lunas in their second matchup. King Kekaulike was unable to follow suit. Now the Bears travel to West Maui, and it is an awesome era in MIL football when Lahainaluna has a beautiful stadium and can host games. Having to travel to War Memorial Stadium and other sites all those decades for most games didn’t deter Lahainaluna from building a great program. Having a normal home-field advantage makes the current era quite fascinating. This might be a dynasty in the making in any division of the MIL. Having a former Luna currently tearing it up in the Pac-12 (Hercules Mata‘afa) certainly confirms what fans believe.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

>> Tangled web: OIA
Waianae beat Campbell
Campbell beat Farrington
Farrington beat Kapolei
Kapolei beat Waianae
Leilehua beat Kapolei
Leilehua beat Farrington

8. Leilehua Mules (6-2, 5-2 OIA)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 7
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. *Farrington 33-6.
Wins: St. Francis 13-9, @ *Kapolei 20-19 (OT), Castle 43-6, Nanakuli 51-14, *Kailua 38-14, *Farrington 33-6.
Losses: @ *Kahuku 24-0, @ *Mililani 47-0.
Next: Idle. Vs. Castle-Campbell winner, Oct. 13-14 at Leilehua.

The skinny: The emergence of RB James McGary (ankle) stabilizes the Mule offense, but the rash of injuries suffered during the Farrington game is something to note as they rest and heal up through the bye week.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake. A move up from Komusubi is due.

9. Waipahu Marauders (8-0, 7-0 OIA D-II)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: No. 8

Over the weekend: def. Kaimuki 35-14.
Wins: @ Nanakuli 51-14, Kalaheo 2-0 (forfeit), Roosevelt 35-8, Waialua 63-7, Kalani 49-0 (Kaiser Stadium), Pearl City 37-6, Kaimuki 35-14.
Losses: None.
Next: vs. McKinley, Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny: Coach Bryson Carvalho is big, big, big on trust. That’s why he didn’t and doesn’t ask his coaches to get the defense off the field even when a talented team like Kaimuki possesses the ball for more than 18 of the 24 minutes of the first half. It worked out for the Marauders, who have such preposterous points-for and points-against numbers that most fans would have to wonder how they would’ve fared in D-I this fall.

Sumo rank: Komusubi. The promotion is due, not because of SOS, but sheer dominance. And I do believe the Black Flag would have done well in OIA D-I. Probably 4-3 or 5-2.

10. Campbell Sabers (5-3, 5-2 OIA)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 8
How I voted last week: No. 9

Over the weekend: lost to *Kahuku 45-6.
Wins: *Farrington 26-20, Aiea 48-13, Kaiser 71-0, Moanalua 51-6, @ Radford 35-19.
Losses: *Kapolei 23-7, @ *Waianae 27-14, *Kahuku 45-6.
Next: vs. Castle, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny: There’s Kahuku, Mililani and then next tier. Right now, the Sabers are among the best in that next tier. Krenston Kaipo’s ability to throw deep makes this offense always dangerous, and the learning curve is still in its early stages for this fairly young team.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Waianae Seariders (5-3, 5-2 OIA)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 6
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. Kaiser 2-0 (forfeit).
Wins: *Campbell 27-14, Moanalua 43-20, @ Radford 47-15, Aiea 44-0.
Losses: *Saint Louis 49-7, *Kapolei 7-0, *Kahuku 37-0.
Next: vs. Radford-Farrington winner, Oct. 13-14 at Waianae.

The skinny: Waianae is among several OIA teams that is Top 5 in talent, but had a bumpy ride along the way, which affects the resume. Playoff football is usually more conservative with play calls, and time of possession becomes a major factor. That works in Waianae’s favor. After the 0-3 start, the Seariders took care of business. Last week’s forfeit win certainly helped with rest and healing.

Sumo rank: Komusubi. Another team due for promotion.

Farrington Governors (4-4, 4-3 OIA)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: No. 10

Over the weekend: lost @ *Leilehua 33-6.
Wins: @ Nanakuli 35-0, *Kapolei 28-7, @ *Kailua 3-0, Castle 53-16.
Losses: *Kamehameha 34-15, @ *Campbell 26-20, *Mililani 42-6, @ *Leilehua 33-6.
Next: vs. Radford, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

The skinny: Mental errors (penalties) and inconsistent pass protection haven’t stopped the Governors from overachieving in the regular season.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Kapolei Hurricanes (4-4, 3-4 OIA)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: won @ Nanakuli 36-0.
Wins: @ *Campbell 23-7, @ *Waianae 7-0, @ *Kailua 33-0, @ Nanakuli 36-0.
Losses: Castle 2-0 (forfeit), @ *Farrington 28-7, Leilehua 20-19 (OT), *Mililani 42-21.
Next: vs. Aiea, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny: The ‘Canes needed a win at Nanakuli last week to seal a playoff berth, and they came through. Of all the teams in the OIA that didn’t earn a first-round bye, Kapolei may be the most dangerous. Lonenoa Faoa has immersed himself into the offense for nearly two months now, and the ‘Canes might be on fire from this point on. They already have one of the most talented defensive units in the league.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Kailua Surfriders (4-4, 3-4 OIA)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: lost @ *Mililani 52-0.
Wins: @ Moanalua 44-0, Buckeye Union (Calif.) 28-27, Nanakuli 40-14, Castle 26-7.
Losses: *Farrington 3-0, *Kapolei 33-0, @ *Leilehua 38-14, @ *Mililani 52-0.
Next: vs. Moanalua, Skippa Diaz Stadium, Saturday, 4 p.m.

The skinny: The OIA playoff format is made for a team like Kailua, which had ups and downs through the regular season, but has enough talent and grit to make a playoff run.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Konawaena Wildcats (6-2, 6-0 BIIF)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: won @ Kamehameha-Hawaii 13-12.
Wins: @ Kealakehe 46-16, Keaau 50-0, Honokaa 40-7, *Hilo 24-14, @ Waiakea 57-8, @ Kamehameha-Hawaii 13-12.
Losses: Kapaa 33-13 (Vidinha Stadium), St. Francis 39-20.
Next: @ Hawaii Prep, Saturday, 2 p.m.

The skinny: Another road trip, but this one is to Waiakea, a few miles outside of Waimea, where the campus of Hawaii Preparatory Academy rests on the slopes of the Kohala Mountain Range. The Wildcats might be the hottest D-II team in the state. They have wins over Hilo (at Konawaena) and KS-Hawaii, which means a win over HPA pegs the ‘Cats as the best team in the BIIF regardless of classification. They still need to run the table through the playoffs to reach the state tourney, and then we can see exactly how Konawaena will fare with an (almost) full lineup against the state’s best D-II teams.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Hilo Vikings (6-1, 5-1 BIIF)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. Keaau 63-6.
Wins: @ ‘Iolani (62-35), @ Hawaii Prep (73-6), Honokaa (41-0), Waiakea (54-0), @ Kamehameha-Hawaii, Keaau 63-6.
Losses: @ Konawaena 24-14.
Next: vs. Kealakehe, Saturday, 7 p.m.

The skinny: The D-I Vikings can only lament what the loss at Konawaena two weeks ago means in terms of legacy, of being so close to having the best record in the BIIF, D-I or D-II. They have dominated the weaker D-I schools, and if the Viks advance to the D-I state tourney, they can take aim at those goals. In the 1990s, there would’ve been two rounds of regular-season play, home-and-away series for the six football programs in the BIIF. This season, a Hilo-Konawaena game at Wong Stadium would have been fantastic.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Kamehameha-Hawaii Warriors (6-3, 4-2 BIIF)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: lost to Konawaena 13-12.
Wins: Maui 23-0, Waiakea 56-0, Keaau 40-6, @ Kealakehe 15-13, Hawaii Prep 62-7, @ Waiakea 47-0.
Losses: Kauai 10-7 (Vidinha Stadium), *Hilo 28-14, Konawaena 13-12.
Next: @ Honokaa, Friday, 7 p.m.

The skinny: Well, the Warriors had their opportunities and came close. But the beauty of the BIIF playoffs is that everyone starts out fresh and clean. Reborn.

Sumo rank: Juryo.

St. Francis Saints (5-3, 3-2 ILH D-II)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: lost to ‘Iolani 45-29.
Wins: Kauai 42-0 at Punahou, @ Konawaena 39-20, Pac-Five 35-21 at Aloha Stadium, @ ‘Iolani 43-26.
Losses: @ Leilehua 13-9, Damien 27-20.
Next: vs. Damien, Saturday, 3 p.m.

The skinny: On the whole, the Saints have diversified this season, become more balanced and dangerous while unveiling talented sophomore RB Jonan Aina-Chaves. Two losses in their last three games doesn’t feel like good momentum, but what happens in the playoffs is the difference between a title and state tournament, and coming up short again.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

‘Iolani Raiders (3-4, 2-3 ILH D-II)

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. St. Francis 45-29.
Wins: Kaimuki 57-34, Pac-Five 55-20, St. Francis 45-29.
Losses: *Hilo 62-35, *Damien 35-21, St. Francis 43-26, *Damien 42-35 (OT)
Next: vs. Pac-Five, Saturday, 3 p.m.

The skinny: A season of struggle has morphed into late-season success with last weekend’s win over St. Francis. The OT loss to Damien the week before already showed that the Raiders were not about to wilt after early-season losses. Physically, they really have no business beating much bigger teams, but they’ve got just enough size and all the toughness in the world to compete and win against (HHSAA) D-I/D-II powerhouses.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

>> Tangled web: KIF
Kauai def. Kapaa 27-17
Kapaa def. Waimea 47-21
Waimea def Kauai 16-14

Just an update here. Kauai zapped three-time defending KIF champion Kapaa 30-0 at Vidinha Stadium last weekend, virtually eliminating the Warriors (1-3 KIF) from title contention. Kauai (3-1) is now in the driver’s seat and meets Waimea (2-2) at Hanapepe Stadium on Saturday.

>> 8-man
Molokai overpowered Lanai 73-38 to capture the MIL championship. It’s been quite a climb by the Farmers, who couldn’t get past Seabury Hall in the early years of 8-man. Lanai? This was a pivotal season for the Pine Lads, who started from scratch at the Pop Warner level, playing a part-time schedule. That eventually helped boost the high school program in sheer support from the community, improving facilities, raising expectations.

Now the question remains, is Molokai interested in making the next step — to 11-man football? It would be interesting to see how much interest Oahu can generate for the 8-man game. Having three leagues in the sport would be enough to stimulate the birth of a state championship tournament, logistics and execution pending.

Moving up to 11-man is never easy. Hawaii Prep has one of the smallest programs in the BIIF and state, but still beat Seabury Hall, a prominent 8-man program, 27-14, in preseason. That was an 11-man game. If Molokai has the numbers and commitment to become an 11-man program, that would certain be a boon to the MIL for fans and in terms of added revenue from fielding another team in the league-wide double-round robin format. Time will tell.


  1. ComedyKineTingzzzz October 3, 2017 3:22 pm

    Another dodo no make sense ballot…

    1. Waianae played St louis , Kapolei and Kahuku to start season. And basically the whole game of kapolei and kahuku without there starting QB.

    2. Waianae beat Campbell yet Sabers are on your top ten?? so funny

    3. Anyhow .. Waianae , Kapolei , Campbell should be in the rankings based on COMMON SENSE

    4. Instead of PUPULE RANKINGS should be called Podagee Rankings lol smh

  2. Hau'ulaBoy October 3, 2017 7:59 pm

    Second that emotion.

  3. Northshore October 4, 2017 5:13 am

    @Paul: As stated by you…”Pupule Rankings” and I agree. It’s your opinion and one that doesn’t justify a fair ranking by having Division I and Division II teams ranked in the same ranking. Why don’t you fix it and make it right by having two rankings…Division I and Division II. It would make it interesting for the other division II teams to be recognized in their own ranking since they are competing for the OIA, ILH, MIL, BIFF and KIF conference and state title. As often mentioned one track mind “Katai Atama” and no room for being innovated, similar to most of the city and state politicians. That’s why Hawaii is messed up.

  4. TooMeke October 4, 2017 9:07 am

    I’ll take 11-14 over 6, 7, and 9…every day.

  5. phILHarmonic October 4, 2017 10:08 am

    Ill tell you what is dodo.

    That you take offense to a poll that is based on one person’s opinion.

    We even have someone comparing the selection process for this poll to that of electing city and state officials.

    Bruhhhhh. Next up, blame the poll for global warming.

    Btw, how bout dem Farmers!!!!

  6. TooMeke October 4, 2017 1:31 pm

    Edu First: Did the mules “rose” in the rankings?


  7. Education First October 5, 2017 9:20 am

    TooMeke October 4, 2017 1:31 pm
    Edu First: Did the mules “rose” in the rankings?

    Just another idiotic statement made by a Kahuku Fan. What the hell are you talking about? I do not speak idiot.

  8. Education First October 6, 2017 11:07 am

    Here is some information for the nitwits that didn’t believe me. This just illustrates that more people are aware of the risks of playing football and how important academics is.

    You think it’s a coincidence that Punahou could barely field an intermediate and jv team? You think there’s no correlation between the low turnout at Iolani and the risk of CTE? Kaiser, traditionally a community with middle class and higher citizens have kids who are not interested in football (and this was prior to the new coach coming 1 year ago).

    Here is the full story – http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/10/06/sports/sports-breaking/footballs-decline-has-some-high-schools-disbanding-teams/

    I will highlight parts of the story below. I know many of our Kahuku Fans cannot read the entire article, so I will help you guys out.

    “The situation at Centennial — where a long history of losing has dampened students’ enthusiasm for football — is unique to this part of central Maryland, but there are plenty of similar examples around the U.S. Participation in high school football is down 3.5 percent over the past five years, according to the annual survey by the National Association of State High School Federations, or NFHS. The decline would be much steeper if not for a handful of states in the South and the West. Throughout the Northeast, the Midwest and the West Coast, in communities urban and rural, wealthy and working-class, fewer kids are playing football.”

    “The risks of football have never been more apparent. This summer, researchers at Boston University said they’d found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of the 202 former football players they studied. The athletes whose brains were donated to the study had played football in the National Football League, college and even high school.”

    “A study published last month in the medical journal Translational Psychiatry showed that kids who played football before age 12 were more than twice as likely to have mood and behavior problems.”

    “Maryland is one of 14 states where participation in football was down 10 percent or more over the past five years, according to NFHS data. In all, 41 states saw a decline between the 2011-12 and 2016-17 school years, and just nine states and the District of Columbia saw increases.”

    “In West Windsor Township, New Jersey, which borders Princeton University and has a median household income of $137,000, one of the two public high schools dropped varsity football this year, and the other might have to do the same next year.

    “Trinity High School in Manchester, New Hampshire, also disbanded its varsity team, with hopes that it could return in a lower division next year.”

    “In Ventura County, California, northeast of Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks High School disbanded its junior-varsity team this season because it needed sophomores and juniors to fill out the varsity roster. In Marin County, north of San Francisco, Novato High School announced that it wouldn’t field a varsity team this year, but the program got a last-minute reprieve when more athletes than expected showed up for practice.”

    “The decline in participation isn’t just limited to wealthy, coastal communities. Among the states where participation is down more than 10 percent are Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. Population in Illinois has also declined over that period, while in Michigan and Wisconsin it has only grown slightly.’

    “While participation in tackle football is down, flag football is becoming more popular. Participation in the NFL Flag program run by USA Football for kids ages 6-17 increased by 66 percent from 2013 to 2016, with 385,000 kids playing last year.”

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