Pupule ballot: Voters drop Monarchs

St. Francis running back Jonan Aina-Chaves ran past Damien linebacker Matthew Faufata-Pedrina during a game on Friday. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

I tried, Damien. I really tried.

There is an certain echelon, the upper crust of high school football in the 50th state. Their history, their tradition, their pedigree — all real. Their resume, each of them, real-deal Holyfield results. That’s 95 percent “strength of schedule” thanks to their ingrained league schedule.

Then there’s Division II. Technically, a stratosphere that is part collection of smaller schools (ILH), part programs that are wedged into the lower stratosphere by league power-rating formula/format/rebellious anti-National Federation “recommendation” (OIA). A team like Damien, unbeaten against all local competition, a close loser to a pretty good CIF team (Villa Park), was ranked No. 6 on my ballot for weeks. I didn’t care if I was the only (not sure, but maybe) panelist in the Star-Advertiser Top 10 poll who considered them worthy of any spot.

But in my book, a team this good, with this resume, belonged at No. 6. And there, right there, we all discovered (no pun intended on Oct. 9, 2017) precisely where the Monarchs’ ceiling is. It is possible, had Damien not lost to St. Francis 19-0 on Saturday in a game it took basically almost zero risk — strategically and physically — in a game that was so meaningless in the ILH D-II playoff food chain that it was perhaps as close to a zombie forfeit as any quality team has executed since… well, since the early aughts, when Kealakehe allegedly “lost” a late-season game to Waiakea just to avoid the possibility of facing a then-powerful Keaau squad in the playoffs.

In any event, I admit I scrubbed the chambers of my brain seeking some kind of justifiable way to keep Damien at No. 6 on my ballot.

• Everyone (almost) understood Damien’s big-picture approach. As the Monarchs handed the ball off one play after the next to end its final series in the final 2 minutes of the loss to St. Francis — without no-huddle, without a hurry-up tempo — the understanding from the rank and file was basically unanimous. There was no booing, no accusations of diminishing the spirit of competition. Damien has its edge, a hard-earned feat, and risking injury would’ve been senseless. Illogical. Spock would be proud. Stephen Hawking would say there is no other choice.

So, with that consensus, how would any voter penalize Damien? They’d already run the table in league play to this point.

• And yet, even with their remarkable run in league play, voters hadn’t really solidified their belief in the Monarchs. They were at No. 10 in last week’s Top 10. Right on the cusp. After all Damien had done, winning the league title in 2016, surprising just about everyone with their superlative, clutch playmaking despite key graduation losses, voters had a much lower ceiling than I did.

Coaches, players, fans, alums all hear about rankings. They might not all look at the Top 10, but one way or another they hear about it. And with the game plan Damien took against St. Francis in a meaningless game — to the Monarchs — the Monarchs clearly showed that playing for the end-game scenario was important and perception was not. Rankings? Worthless.

For me, I could stand to see Damien still in the Top 10. It would still make sense to me, all things considered. But to other voters who barely had the Monarchs on their ballots to this point, Damien is basically not on the radar now.

For me, the floor in a Damien loss to a very good D-II team (St. Francis might end up winning the state title, truth be told) now places the Monarchs below the “Tangled Web” of the OIA’s perenially solid programs. Below all these teams below Kahuku and Mililani who had done an outstanding job of beating each other musical chairs style. Until last weekend, I had Damien a hair above that scrum of good OIA teams locked in the horns of parity.

That’s the thin line for all overachieving small programs competing for shelf space against the perennial brand-name juggernauts. Could Damien beat the D-I teams in the Top 10? Of course. They won’t get that chance. And that’s what hurts more than seeing how low the floor is when a team like Damien or Lahainaluna or Kaimuki or Pearl City or Waipahu or Hilo or Konawaena loses. They don’t have enough ranked teams, if any, in their spheres. Their orbit is around leagues and divisions that don’t have Top 10 programs. That fall from grace is often permanent (for the rest of the season).

It normally takes a D-II state championship for voters to come back around to the fallen Cinderella programs. I hope that’s not the case for Damien, one of the more balanced and clutch teams in the state regardless of classification. All because the Monarchs had the sense to play their hand logically when probably more than 90 percent of coaches would play no differently in a game that has no bearing on playoff seeding.

I bumped Damien off my ballot this week. Does it feel right? Not really. Does it make sense? Now, on paper, yes. Head-to-head matters. Now the Tangled Web has (mostly) risen above the Purple People Eaters, the ones who defend Houghtailing. They’ll be back sooner than later, and there will be every chance for panelists to bring them back into the fold. Probably.

On to this week’s ballot…

Pupule FB ballot 10/9/17
1. Saint Louis Crusaders (7-0, 4-0 ILH)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 1
How I voted last week: No. 1

Over the weekend: def. *Punahou 40-20.
Wins: @ *Waianae 49-7, Baldwin 61-0, *Kamehameha 44-0, *Punahou 49-13, *Narbonne (Calif.) 56-50, *Kamehameha 23-12, *Punahou 40-20.
Losses: None.
Next: Idle. vs. *Punahou-*Kamehameha winner, Oct. 21.

The skinny: It would be easy for anyone to say, yes, the Crusaders’ SOS and season peaked with the comeback win over Narbonne in the most captivating Hawaii-versus-California high school football game in history. If this is true, how does this team keep improving? Does tougher competition truly stimulate growth? It’s an open-ended question. Not even a question. The answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean Saint Louis won’t improve because it is not scheduled to play nationally-ranked teams. Rest time, for example, is probably more valuable than any learning curve or evolutionary cycle.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna. Very Chiyonofuji.

2. Kahuku Red Raiders (7-1, 7-0 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 2
How I voted last week: No. 2

Over the weekend: Idle.
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: vs. Kapolei, Friday.

The skinny: The most memorable home loss in Kahuku football history during my lifetime? Oct. 26, 2007, a 14-7 loss to Kapolei. That loss ended Kahuku’s season. No OIA title. No state tournament.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna. Think Kitanoumi.

3. Mililani Trojans (8-0, 7-0 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 3
How I voted last week: No. 3

Over the weekend: Idle.
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: vs. Moanalua, Friday.

The skinny: I’m almost certain the landscape of OIA playoff games has its occasional sub-.500 team upsetting teams that had first-round byes (top 2 in its division). And that’s what this would be if Moanalua ekes out a win over unbeaten Mililani. But let’s leave the playoff aroma alone for a sec. Mililani has beaten Moanalua eight times in a row. In the more recent matchups, the Trojans have amassed huge point totals, but in ’95, Moanalua beat the Trojans 18-8 in a regular-season matchup. None of the current Menehune existed yet.

Sumo rank: Ozeki. In sumo world, there is the slightly higher division (East) and the slightly lower one (West). There are numbered ranks within each rank. Of the “Ozeki” level teams this season, Mililani is clearly Ozeki East 1. (Saint Louis would be Yokozuna East 1 and Kahuku West 1.) The Trojans clearly could merit Yokozuna status after this 8-0 start. Maybe they should.

4. Punahou Buffanblu (5-2, 2-2 ILH)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 4
How I voted last week: No. 4

Over the weekend: lost to *Saint Louis 40-20.
Wins: Moanalua 35-7, *Torrey Pines (Calif.) 56-42, @ *Serra 56-42, *Kamehameha 21-0, *Kamehameha 21-17.
Losses: *Saint Louis 49-13, *Saint Louis 40-20.
Next: vs. *Kamehameha, Aloha Stadium, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny: The Buffanblu ushered in Hugh Brady, a sophomore and third-string (?) QB, in the loss to Saint Louis. The return of starter Stephen Barber, let alone a timetable, isn’t definite. As Punahou OC Teetai Ane said, Barber’s future is not worth taking unnecessary risk until he’s fully healed. His elbow healed enough to play against Saint Louis, but once he hurt his neck after two plays (and two sacks), that was enough for one night.

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: Idle.
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: vs. *Punahou, Aloha Stadium, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny: There’s little consolation, it seems, for the third-best team in one of the nation’s toughest leagues. This is the what makes the ILH uniquely vicious and alluring. There are few organizations quite like it. And as of right now, the regular season is meaningless. All Kamehameha has to do is win two games in a row to reach the state tournament. Far easier said than done, but it’s possible.

Sumo rank: Ozeki.

6. Lahainaluna Lunas (8-1, 7-0 MIL)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 8
How I voted last week: No. 7

Over the weekend: def. Baldwin 17-14, OT.
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, Baldwin 20-17 (OT).
Losses: *Kamehameha 34-10.
Next: Idle this week. Vs. Kamehameha-Maui, Oct. 21.

The skinny: If we’re thinking of today, this era, not the Baldwin dynasty of a decade ago, this has turned into a remarkable rivalry between the Bears and Lunas. Maybe Baldwin fans want more, but there’s nothing wrong with a great home-and-home series with a true rival. The Lunas haven’t gained any traction in the Top 10, which is expected when the schedule lacks ranked opponents, but there’s a measure of value in beating quality D-I teams, and the D-II Lunas continue to do this.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

7. Leilehua Mules (6-2, 5-2 OIA)
>> Tangled web: OIA
Waianae beat Campbell
Campbell beat Farrington
Farrington beat Kapolei
Farrington beat Kailua
Kapolei beat Waianae
Leilehua beat Kapolei
Leilehua beat Farrington

Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 6
How I voted last week: No. 8

Over the weekend: Idle.
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: vs. Campbell, Saturday. 6:30 p.m.

The skinny: The Mules have come a long way and established their identity. Have they peaked? Having the bye week is so valuable in football, probably more so than any other high school sport. Five wins in a row, a fairly new head coach with a first-year OC… there could be a lot of new wrinkles up their sleeves.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

8. Waipahu Marauders (8-0, 7-0 OIA D-II)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: No. 9

Over the weekend: def. McKinley 56-0.
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, McKinley 56-0.
Losses: None.
Next: vs. Roosevelt, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny: The Marauders beat the Rough Riders 35-8 when they met on Aug. 25. As for the poll, I’d be surprised if other panelists give Waipahu any votes until the state tournament, if they get there. It’s natural for fans of OIA D-I programs to argue that Waipahu hasn’t proved anything with its D-II slate. The only point of reference is a common opponent, Nanakuli, which Waipahu beat 51-14 in preseason.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

9. Campbell Sabers (6-3, 5-2 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 9
How I voted last week: No. 10

Over the weekend: def. Castle 24-9.
Wins: *Farrington 26-20, Aiea 48-13, Kaiser 71-0, Moanalua 51-6, @ Radford 35-19, Castle 24-9.
Losses: *Kapolei 23-7, @ *Waianae 27-14, *Kahuku 45-6.
Next: @ *Leilehua, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

The skinny: The time has come for the young Sabers. They’re talented, physical, capable of game-breaking plays. They’re also 1-3 against ranked teams, including 0-2 against them on the road. This matchup with Leilehua might be the most competitive one in the OIA quarterfinals.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

10. Waianae Seariders (5-3, 5-2 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 7
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: Idle.
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. *Farrington, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny: Like Campbell, the Seariders have overcome some inexperience and grown up to become a formidable force over the course of two months. Like Campbell, the Seariders are 1-3 against ranked teams. One interesting note: five of their eight games have been at home this season.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Honorable mention
Farrington Governors (5-4, 4-3 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. Radford 36-14.
Wins: @ Nanakuli 35-0, *Kapolei 28-7, @ *Kailua 3-0, Castle 53-16, Radford 36-14.
Losses: *Kamehameha 34-15, @ *Campbell 26-20, *Mililani 42-6, @ *Leilehua 33-6.
Next: @ *Waianae, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny: There may not be another team in the league with as many wide margins of victory and defeat. Only two of the Governors’ games have bene decided by less than 21 points. That’s the way young teams roll most times. Now comes their biggest test of the season, against a Waianae team that’s similar in inexperience and talent.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Kapolei Hurricanes (5-4, 3-4 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: No. 10
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. Aiea 41-0.
Wins: @ *Campbell 23-7, @ *Waianae 7-0, @ *Kailua 33-0, @ Nanakuli 36-0, Aiea 41-0.
Losses: Castle 2-0 (forfeit), @ *Farrington 28-7, Leilehua 20-19 (OT), *Mililani 42-21.
Next: @ *Kahuku, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The skinny: Mason Koa was a hard-nosed, dual-threat QB who was up to the task when Kapolei visited Kahuku in ’07. That victory in Red Raider territory ranks as one of the biggest upsets in OIA history. This year’s Hurricanes are much different offensively, or have been to this point. Seeing Josh Kansana and Dylan Toilolo run the ball against Aiea was either a sign of things to come, or simply an outlier effect in a matchup with an Aiea team that had the will, but not the girth and depth to resist. If Kapolei plays its best game of the season, this might stay close.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Damien Monarchs (7-2, 5-1 ILH D-II)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked.
How I voted last week: No. 6

Over the weekend: lost to St. Francis 19-0.
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. Pac-Five, Aloha Stadium, Friday, 4:45 p.m.

The skinny: The Monarchs are in the position they’ve wanted to be in. A win over Pac-Five, and then a win over the St. Francis-‘Iolani winner, and the ILH D-II title is theirs. In the Top 10, voters bumped Damien out, replacing the Monarchs with Kapolei.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

St. Francis Saints (6-3, 4-2 ILH D-II)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. *Damien 19-0.
Wins: Kauai 42-0 at Punahou, @ Konawaena 39-20, Pac-Five 35-21 at Aloha Stadium, @ ‘Iolani 43-26, *Damien 19-0.
Losses: @ Leilehua 13-9, Damien 27-20.
Next: @ ‘Iolani, Friday, 3:15 p.m.

The skinny: The Saints broke through against Damien and built some momentum heading into the second round, which is also elimination mode. Which defense will show up: the one that shut out Damien or the one that permitted 45 points to ‘Iolani two weeks ago? It’s been a fascinating season and would be even more interesting with interleague play throughout, but there’s no denying that keeping the OIA and ILH separate for football creates a bit more mystery for the post-season. For those who have forgotten or didn’t pay attention earlier, St. Francis was just a few yards away from beating Leilehua at Leilehua. In other words, if the Saints had crossed that goal line, I’d probably have them and Damien slightly above the Tangled Web of OIA squads. That’s how close it is this season. And it provides some clear evidence that the Saints and Monarchs were right to declare for the D-I state tourney months ago, though we had plenty of proof over the decades that Damien and ‘Iolani always could compete with the OIA, going 1-1 or 2-0 in some years during preseason matchups.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

‘Iolani Raiders (4-4, 3-3 ILH D-II)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. Pac-Five 34-0.
Wins: Kaimuki 57-34, Pac-Five 55-20, St. Francis 45-29, Pac-Five 34-0.
Losses: *Hilo 62-35, *Damien 35-21, St. Francis 43-26, *Damien 42-35 (OT).
Next: vs. St. Francis, Friday, 3:15 p.m.

The skinny: The Raiders have come a long, long way since the major struggles of preseason. Still, they’re not deep or physically imposing on defense, and their best defense is actually a smart, ball-control offense. Tai-John Mizutani and his experienced crew of receivers are at their best right now.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

About ILH Division II
> To clarify: All four teams will compete in the second round, and this weekend’s winners will meet next week for the second-round title.

> The second-round winner, if it is not first-round winner Damien, will then have to beat Damien twice to claim the league title and state-tournament berth.

> No matter what happens, ‘Iolani and Pac-Five are competing for the ILH’s lone berth in the D-II state tournament. Damien and St. Francis are competing for the league’s lone berth in the D-I state tourney. (The ILH’s declared D-I programs are battling for one berth in the state’s Open Division tourney.)

> What Pac-Five has been forced to do with its starting QB injured — moving talented WR A.J. Ulufale to signal-caller — is somewhat similar to what the Cleveland Browns did in 2016. The Browns lost four QBs to injuries, which meant moving top receiver Terrelle Pryor. He was at QB without having the team’s best target, himself, to throw to.

Konawaena Wildcats (7-2, 7-0 BIIF)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

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

The skinny: There was a report (unpublished*) that the Wildcats lost a key defensive player to injury in the preseason loss to St. Francis on a play that was considered unnecessary, to put it nicely. Now, the Wildcats are one win away from a state-tourney return. Playing the best football of the season. Beating previously unbeaten Hilo (at home) and then hitting the road to beat KS-Hawaii, that’s hard to beat. It’s not easy going unbeaten in any league, especially the BIIF with its long, winding road trips.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Hilo Vikings (7-1, 6-1 BIIF)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. Kealakehe 42-29.
Wins: @ ‘Iolani (62-35), @ Hawaii Prep (73-6), Honokaa (41-0), Waiakea (54-0), @ Kamehameha-Hawaii, Keaau 63-6.
Losses: @ Konawaena 24-14.
Next: Idle. Vs. Kealakehe, Oct. 20.

The skinny: The rising tide is coming from the West as Kealakehe continued to surge after struggling in the first four weeks. Hilo got the win, but giving up 29 points at home (Wong Stadium)? Hilo hadn’t given up more than 14 points more than once before that — a 24-14 road loss at Konawaena. The Viking ship isn’t sinking or anything like that, but if Kealakehe can keep that championship game close, it might signal a sea change for the once-proud Waverider program.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Kamehameha-Hawaii Warriors (7-3, 5-2 BIIF)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. @ Honokaa 35-13.
Wins: Maui 23-0, Waiakea 56-0, Keaau 40-6, @ Kealakehe 15-13, Hawaii Prep 62-7, @ Waiakea 47-0, @ Honokaa 35-13.
Losses: Kauai 10-7 (Vidinha Stadium), *Hilo 28-14, Konawaena 13-12.
Next: Idle. @ Konawaena, Oct. 20.

The skinny: It ain’t over ’til it’s over. Maybe the two weeks of preparation, the mission-impossible mentality, the road trip, maybe all of it is what the Warriors need to pull off what seems to be a huge challenge.

Sumo rank: Juryo.

Kauai Red Raiders (5-2, 4-1 KIF)
Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Over the weekend: def. Waimea 23-3 (Hanapepe Stadium).
Wins: Kamehameha-Hawaii 10-7, Waimea 34-20 (Hanapepe), Kapaa 27-17, Kapaa 30-0, Waimea 23-3 (Hanapepe).
Losses: St. Francis 42-0 (Punahou/Alexander Field), Waimea 16-14.
Next: Idle. Vs. Kapaa, Oct. 21.

The skinny: That’s that. The Red Raiders clinched the KIF title, and they’ve already got a D-I state-tournament berth.

Sumo rank: Juryo.

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

>> 8-man
Molokai Farmers
Ka‘u Trojans

The Trojans blanked Kohala 60-0 to complete BIIF play 5-0. Molokai took the MIL title the week before. It sure would be cool to see these two league champions tangle. It would be cooler to have an 8-man football state championship. And maybe we can start referring to it as 8-player football? 8-person football?

Hawaii Prep’s forfeiture to Konawaena over the weekend due to low numbers (20) doesn’t tell us what the future holds for sure, but HPA doesn’t have a JV team. Numbers aren’t expected to rise there. Moving into 8-man football is a possibility, though the school is not actively looking into that right now. But with Ka‘u, Pahoa and Kohala already in 8-man, it would make a lot of sense.

Over in the MIL, there’s only speculation about what 8-man champion Molokai would or could do next season with 33 of the 38 Farmers returning. But if King Kekaulike, which forfeited its final regular-season game to KS-Maui, who knows? Maybe 8-man is a better fit for Na Alii, too.

One factor that TV and radio play-by-play man Jordan Helle mentioned during our conversation at Kapolei over the weekend is that Upcountry Maui in general has become older. The community doesn’t have as many high-school aged kids anymore. It’s a common theme across the state: older communities and shrinking high school enrollments. But I’ll never forget then-Maui coach Curtis Lee explaining that many of his linemen came from Upcountry, and that the opening of King Kekaulike would cost his program quite a bit of talent.

Oahu? Slim pickings for 8-man. The support is not there, not when the OIA depends so much on the 11-man game to generate revenues to support ALL sports. But here are teams that did forfeit games this fall: Kaiser, Kalaheo and Pac-Five. It could be an anomaly, but turnout at the JV level has decreased at a few ILH programs. When I saw Punahou’s JV scrimmage at Farrington, I was shocked to see less than 30 players suit up for the Buffanblu.

All the concerns about CTE might be taking effect. Or it’s just a product of this generation, perhaps, that the sacrifices required of football players — year-round training — aren’t what a lot of young athletes are willing to give anymore.

From a statewide perspective, Oahu isn’t about to leap into 8-man, especially with just three programs that could fit the mold, and two different leagues that haven’t merged for a single sport since the split in 1970.


  1. The Rim October 10, 2017 4:08 pm

    Paul the Hilo game was played on senior night and Kealakehe scored two meaningless TD’s after the score was 42-14 in the forth qtr. Kudo’s to Hilo coach Drummondo for letting everyone on that roster play good minutes after the game was essentially over. To read your comments just give credibility to those that say you don’t know what you’re talking about. Pupule is right, maybe get the story straight.

  2. Shmuck October 10, 2017 5:15 pm

    He’s not right about the Bingham score.

  3. Hau'ulaBoy October 10, 2017 9:00 pm

    If Damien can beat all these D1 schools, that you say in this article? Then they should be in D1 not D2, right? Than the ILH would have a better argument that they should get two teams into the State Tournament. Put Iolani, Damien and St. Francis in D1. Then no one can complain why the ILH has two teams in D1. Because, according to your statement, Damien can compete against D1 teams. Or are you trying to say that Waianae, Leilehua, Kapolei should be D2? It only makes sense to put these teams,Iolani and Damien, who, according to you and the way you voted in the past, can compete against the best in the state.

  4. TooMeke October 11, 2017 5:55 am

    “If Kapolei plays its best game of the season, this might stay close.”

  5. ALLILH October 11, 2017 7:55 am

    Hi Guys I got a great idea. To satisfy all the Kahuku people on this blog that complain about staying in yo own lane and being rooted not recruited….let everyone forfeit the whole season and every year just give the championship to Kahuku!

  6. Manoa#1 October 11, 2017 11:20 am

    Don’t sleep on Kapolei they have alot of good athletes on that team that they can hang with Kahuku. in fact they already beat the Red Raiders in a Preseason Scrimmage.

  7. TooMeke October 11, 2017 12:40 pm

    “they already beat the Red Raiders in a Preseason Scrimmage.”

    this comment shows how little you know about football. lol.

  8. Kuuipo October 11, 2017 1:53 pm

    Before Damien use to play all of the D1 teams and back then Damien had a very good team “2003” the boys played with pride and they all played their hearts out. So sad that they lost to Aiea on the playoffs. That was the first and last year that Damien took anything. Now Damien plays 3 teams over and over and if that is what you call football then I don’t know. They should let all D-11 teams play against each other OIA and ILH that would be a better match up. Worth going to watch games and the season would be longer and better for the boys.

  9. Alpha October 11, 2017 2:44 pm

    Don’t sleep on Waianae, Kapolei and Leilehua. Kahuku, Mililani might not have it that easy.

  10. Craaaazy October 11, 2017 4:07 pm

    Even more pupule, the other poll has iolani ranked ahead of Damien even though Damien beat them twice and has a better record 7-2 vs 4-4? Craaaazy! All the voters on that side gotta be iolani alum.

  11. Dafun October 11, 2017 7:10 pm

    “….let everyone forfeit the whole season and every year just give the championship to Kahuku!”

    Be careful what you wish for, Kaiser and a few other schools already forfeited their seasons. But dont look at Kahuku, you can thank Cal Lee and the Crusaders for draining the best talent around the entire state the past 30 years and now the public schools kids are playing copy-cat by flocking to only a few OIA schools, Mililani, Kapolei, Kahuku.

  12. Paul Honda October 11, 2017 10:47 pm

    Thanks for the info on Coach Drummondo letting his reserves play. I guess what can have two scores for that game, then: Hilo 42, Kealakehe 14; Hilo reserves 0, Kealakehe reserves 15.


  13. Education First October 12, 2017 9:51 am

    ALLILH October 11, 2017 7:55 am
    Hi Guys I got a great idea. To satisfy all the Kahuku people on this blog that complain about staying in yo own lane and being rooted not recruited….let everyone forfeit the whole season and every year just give the championship to Kahuku!
    That is a great idea! But if you did that, what would anywaaays blog about? I mean he should be blogging about Waialua where he graduated from and where he lives now. But like the typical bandwagoneer that he is, anywaaays roots and cheers and write for Kahuku!

    I am also on the bandwagon. I am on the bandwagon for any school or team that supports academics first and isn’t okay with just winning football games at the expense of allowing their kids to be really dumb.

  14. Education First October 12, 2017 12:30 pm

    P.S. I’m only kidding about knowing that anywaaays lives in Wailalua. A little research by y’all would uncover the fact that IP addresses are accessible by site administrators only which I’m obviously not.

    Not really surprised you RRFLifers didn’t call me out on it since most of you can barely read. LOL!!!!

  15. Education First October 12, 2017 12:42 pm

    PS #2. Besides if you’re in your home an IP address ping locator might show a location several miles away, or even 25 miles away which in Hawaii is the distance from Honolulu to Kapolei. So claiming that I knew what street anywaaays lived on was something you geniuses should have figured out was impossible. 😞

  16. Education First October 12, 2017 1:57 pm

    Look it’s anywaays back trying to be me. Anyone who knows anything knows that if you are smart enough, you can figure out the IP address or the Mac address if you know what to do.



  17. Jus Saying October 12, 2017 10:00 pm

    “Kuuipo October 11, 2017 1:53 pm
    Before Damien use to play all of the D1 teams and back then Damien had a very good team “2003” the boys played with pride and they all played their hearts out. So sad that they lost to Aiea on the playoffs. That was the first and last year that Damien took anything. Now Damien plays 3 teams over and over and if that is what you call football then I don’t know. They should let all D-11 teams play against each other OIA and ILH that would be a better match up. Worth going to watch games and the season would be longer and better for the boys.”

    I Agree! I think that we should Combine all of the D-II teams so that they all play each other, it would make for a more interesting season…

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