Mililani is moving up in the Star-Advertiser Top 10 poll, which means I’m ahead of the curve or just prophetic.
Or just lucky. After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Polls, of course, are not about predictions. Mililani simply looked to me like the second-best team in the state for some time — since Kamehameha’s loss to Punahou, to be precise.
Didn’t really seem that way, though, while the Trojans were down 21-7 to Campbell at halftime on Saturday. But they provided great drama, those men of Troy, and rallied for a 42-21 win.
Here’s how the top four teams in the state have gotten along on the gridiron.
Punahou 24, @ Mililani 14
Punahou 24, Kamehameha 0, Aloha Stadium
Kamehameha 38, Saint Louis 17, Aloha Stadium
PUN-MIL was interleague/nonconference in Week 2. PUN-KS was a meeting of teams that were unbeaten in ILH play.
Still, head-to-head results are a major criteria for me. Mililani has yet to lose since the Punahou game, and the Trojans keep winning decisively in a tough OIA Red West. Average margin of victory in the last four games: 25.8 points. Three of the last four opponents were (and still are) Top 10 squads.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 1.
Buffanblu get good tests with ‘Iolani and Saint Louis the next two weekends.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 3.
The difference between 2, 3 and 4 is basically nothing. But the Trojans get the edge in my book, just by a skosh.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 2.
Kamehameha-Mililani would be a great game. Are there two more similar teams? Both have athletic, but inexperienced first-year starting quarterbacks. Super ground games. Tough, big defensive units. Edge to Mililani at wide receiver/slotback, but Kamehameha is deeper at tailback. Outstanding coaching staffs at both schools. It would be a wondrous spectacle, this matchup.
4. Saint Louis.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 4.
Crusader defense is starting to roar.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 5.
I could see Lahainaluna here, but the Red Raiders showed some nice development in their passing game in the win over McKinley.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 9.
What can I say to my Oahu-centric panelists? The Lunas deserve better, but they don’t help the voters by staying off the radar — no significant preseason games — until the state tourney. Not that the coaches care, nor that they should.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 6.
That’s two perfect matches between the poll and my ballot.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 7.
The entire OIA Red West, with the exception of unbeaten (in league play) Mililani is interchangeable for polling purposes. Deep, deep, deep.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 8.
The biggest gap among the lower 5 in the SA Top 10 is between Kapolei and Lahainaluna.
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 10.
The third match between my ballot and the poll. That must be a record. Five of the seven teams in the OIA Red West have been in the SA Top 10 for the entire season, give or take a blip or two. That’s something that’s become the norm rather than an aberration.
‘Iolani. A definite Top 10-level offense. Marc Ma is terrific on defense. So are J.T. Los Banos and Max Look. But overall the defense remains a work in progress against teams that can run with power. Don’t forget, Lahainaluna lost close (36-33) in last year’s D-II final against the Raiders.
Farrington. My guess is most fans are grounded and a little more realistic at this point. The Govs, like Kahuku, are not as deep, not as seasoned, not as talented as they were in recent years. But they’re still dang good.
Kaiser. What shoulda been: Kaiser in the OIA Red East. What woulda been: Probably a .500 record in the Red East, somewhere around where Moanalua (2-3 in league play) and McKinley (2-3) are. That’s quite respectable. The Cougars are fun to watch, growing as a program and always hungry. They have their detractors, people who insist that all the incoming transfers can’t all be legit. I look at it like this: if a kid is willing to make the sacrifice to fulfill his or her dream, more power to ’em. What’s stopping voters from scribbling Kaiser on their Top 10 ballots? Probably that 21-7 preseason home loss to Campbell. So, the higher Campbell rises in the poll, the Cougars will be handcuffed and rising, as well. Probably.
Radford. Yes, the Rams got crushed by Kaiser a few weeks ago, but remain dominant against all other competition.
The Others, plus change
Kauai. They’re playing well on Kauai. Against everybody else, quite a mystery. Not much to gauge on.
Baldwin. Or, I should say, Baldwin? The Bears are still a solid program. Just not the best team in the MIL, and their chance to prove otherwise was jarred by Lahainaluna in a 28-7 game two weekends ago.
Kealakehe. They lost to Kamehameha-Hawaii. At Kealakehe. KS-Hawaii lost at ‘Iolani 36-0 last month. Waveriders are in rebuilding mode and should be back to form, or close to it, eventually.
Hilo. Big test around the corner for the Viks, who lead BIIF D-I. That’s an amazing thing to grasp for fans who remember Kealakehe’s utter and complete dominance of the league just a few years back.
Konawaena. A thrilling comeback win at Hawaii Prep (I’m looking forward to seeing the Sportz Viz game video) is noteworthy. The Wildcats are playing good football. But that early 47-37 loss to Maui is a tough one to shake off.
Seabury Hall. Best 8-man team in the state. Molokai gets a chance to prove otherwise this coming weekend. Video, anyone? Ka‘u is in exhibition mode. Lanai hopes to join the MIL next fall. Remember when the Pine Lads used to win national fitness competitions back in the day? Whatever happened with that? Did the invention of the microwave oven do more good or harm? When will the HHSAA start texting as a state championship sport? The Texting State Championships injury report would be so spooky. And, of course, please do not text while operating a motorized vehicle.