Q&A: Chun on HHSAA D-I football seedings


A whole new world is where the Hawaii High School Athletic Association is heading this postseason.

On Monday, seeding and pairings for the new-look First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I State Football Championships were released, and after less than 24 hours, public response has been varied, to say the least. The first year of this pilot program — expanding from two levels, Divisions I and II, to three (adding Open Division) will take time for fans, coaches, players, administrators to digest.

That doesn’t mean the process is easy. Here’s what HHSAA Executive Director Chris Chun wrote via text on Tuesday morning regarding the process.

HPW: Was it difficult cobbling the D-I bracket together or pretty easy?

Chun: Pretty unanimous by coordinators.

HPW: Hilo as the No. 1 seed may surprise people, but historically, they’ve had some pretty good performances even in defeat.

Chun: Hilo is the only league champion.

(Note: Baldwin is the Maui Interscholastic League’s D-I representative, but because the league has only two D-I members in football, Baldwin is not technically recognized by the HHSAA as a league champion. A league is required to have three members to be recognized in full by the HHSAA.)

HPW: In the eyes of some, ‘Iolani has the “easy” route against Moanalua, a team that forfeited its playoff consolation game last week. But half the field is from the OIA and can’t play against each other in round one (as much as possible). Is this more about pairings and seedings?

Chun: All leagues had them there. Not easy. Campbell is on their side.

I also asked about the Open Division format. So many questions have been peppered about Kahuku and the two ILH entries, champion Saint Louis and runner-up Punahou. Will Punahou wind up in Kahuku’s bracket? Or will Saint Louis and Punahou be lined up in the same bracket?

Chun pointed out that the OIA playoffs are not done, so nothing is a given. This is true. Kahuku has been dominant in Hawaii for the past two seasons (and many more prior), but anything could happen along the way to the state tourney.

“OIA Is not done yet, (so we) don’t want to impact their final games,” Chun said.

Whether Kahuku wins the OIA or not, it will play in the Open Division tourney since four of the six spots are reserved for the OIA’s semifinalists: Kahuku, Farrington, Kapolei, Waianae.

Chun has kept the process as streamlined and basic as possible. In one word, he writes: “Vote.”

“All leagues voted in the divisions they are participating in and we’re the tiebreaker in the ones they aren’t. No real disagreements. Everything was pretty unanimous,” he wrote.

It’s almost the perfect setting. The new format has the state’s football watchers intrigued. There is a buzz like no other. Three tiers? The OIA had three divisions in the 1980s, but all the state had in the postseason was the Oahu Prep Bowl and the Neighbor Island Bowl. Land of champions only.

That was then. For all the old-school folks who would still prefer contraction — fewer teams in state tournaments — there are many, many more who like the expansion of tournaments in all sports.


  1. Jason Keuma October 25, 2016 12:59 pm

    Cool article. Can you pose the same questions to him concerning the Open division seeding? I would like to read that article.

  2. Jason Keuma October 25, 2016 1:05 pm

    “OIA Is not done yet, (so we) don’t want to impact their final games,” Chun said.

    What are you implying? Throwing a game or forfeiting a game just to get a desired seeding?

  3. Good Story October 25, 2016 2:18 pm

    What the heck is “pretty unanimous”? It either unanimous or not. Killing me

  4. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate October 25, 2016 2:24 pm

    its ILH bias is what they mean

  5. Jenny Tails October 25, 2016 3:42 pm

    Okay, but Baldwin is a league champion too, no? And how did Campbell get the No. 1 OIA seed over Mililani?

  6. ??? October 25, 2016 3:56 pm

    No matter what format they use we will never all be happy. Lets play some Football…

  7. Chloropicrin October 25, 2016 4:02 pm

    Exactly how did Campbell get the #1 OIA seed over Mililani in the D1 tourney?

  8. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate October 25, 2016 4:11 pm

    The real question is what is Mililani and Campbell doing playing with the little dogs, for them its basically playing for the 7th place title.

  9. DC October 25, 2016 4:37 pm

    Chris Chun always gives Iolani the easy route! 2013 Div 2 play offs had Kaiser and Lahainaluna sitting at the top with Kauai and Iolani 3rd and 4th but Chris made Kaiser fly to Maui to face Lahinaluna and guess who got to stay home? Das right Iolani got home field advantage and faced who some thought was the easy win ooops Kauai kicked Iolani’s ass and Kaiser won! I seen Chris at the Maui airport that night and he looked distraught as Iolani had just lost, I walked pass him and said guess your plan didn’t work out and he was sooooo pissed! Kaiser went on to defeat Kauai in a tough game to claim the Div 2 crown……

  10. Chloropicrin October 25, 2016 5:09 pm

    Pretty much shooting from the hip with this tournement.

  11. RAM FOR LIFE October 25, 2016 7:06 pm

    Open division seeding’s are going be something to see. St Louis will get 1 or 2 seed. Kapolei & Waianae will get 5 & 6 seed. I believe 1 & 2 seed will get first round bye. It’s interesting how
    & who they will seed 3 & 4 depending who wins Kahuku/Farrington. 2nd round games matchups will be the ones people will talk about the most, as being right or wrong. I would tell OIA decide 2nd round games THEN! to save their ass. 3rd place Open division game before
    Open title game might prove something also. Again follow what NFL does on wildcard weekend. 1st round Bye teams don’t automatically know who they going to play yet among more than 1 single game. It should be St Louis will play ? if they win OR will play someone from other game if they win-not winner of 1 certain game.

  12. alohachef October 25, 2016 7:15 pm

    Ah, Mr. Chiun, Baldwin won the MIL Championship. So Hilo and Baldwin are the two only league champions in D1. They should have been seeded 1 & 2, Campbell,3, and Iolani, 4. How can a winless, ILH representative be seeded higher than a league champion?

  13. alohachef October 25, 2016 7:31 pm

    The pairings should have been:
    (1) Hilo vs. Moanalua
    (2) Baldwin vs. Leilehua
    (3) Campbell vs. Waiakea
    (4) Iolani vs. Mililani

    Hilo and Campbell
    Baldwin and Mililani

    D1 Championship game:
    Campbell and Mililani

    Sorry but the way the seeding was made to give Iolani an opportunity to advance to the semifinals with a win over Moanalua somehow looks like the powers that be favored the ILH.

  14. TopDoggs October 25, 2016 7:46 pm

    I hope the two ILH teams are not in the same bracket. Kahuku needs to earn the title and prove that they can beat both our best teams.

  15. RAM FOR LIFE October 25, 2016 8:05 pm

    Eh, Mr. Chun,
    Is there any reason you don’t have 5-8 seedings listed? If your following the traditional way,
    like 1 vs.8, 2 vs. 7 etc…something definitely looks wrong especially Leleihua? No wonder your
    not listing 5-8 seedings?

  16. 88 October 25, 2016 8:11 pm

    @TopDog the ILH needs to earn the right to play Kahuku and prove they can beat Kahuku for the Title. Something they haven’t been able to do in a very very very very VEEERRY long time

  17. Matuu Pulotu October 25, 2016 9:53 pm

    It doesn’t matter what the seedings. Sad to say but whoever is lined up against BIG RED is going to get their tail handed to them. And I do hope it is through two of the ILH teams because “they are the best teams” and of course that is what we have always done traditionally here in Hawaii.
    I remember all those prep bowls where St Louis had to play let me see Kahuku, then Waianae and possibly hmmmmm oh yeah they didn’t do that. Anyways, it don’t mean a thing if you bring Kamehameha in and we go to an 8 team bracket so there are no byes, we play three ILH teams and win the state then you guys going cry and say we gotta beat BG now.
    Come on man. Lets play ball and shut up and enjoy the rest of the football season because its going to be another long year until next August. GO BIG RED!

  18. OGRRFL October 25, 2016 10:44 pm

    @wannabe topdog! We beat the ILH best, every time we won the states or was the SECOND place team which lost to the First place team the best? I hope we play 2 ILH teams, but who’s to say Punahou will get past the first round? Good luck to all the teams and may the Best team wins . Aloha!

  19. Paper Crane October 25, 2016 11:30 pm

    Trump is right like anything else it can be rigged; HHSAA, your new championship brackets are skewed and overloaded like you have no equal balance of competition whereas too many teams on top like it should be trimmed down or eliminated; the better of best championship bracket is Win-Lose Elimination Championship whereas if you win you’re in and if you lose that’s it you’re out and the elimination keeps climbing up the (pyramid) bracket like it’s fast, feasible, and definitely marked by integrity; your phone will sure stop ringing too? Mahalo and enjoy.

  20. ??? October 26, 2016 4:04 am

    Be a REAL man, vote for Trump!

  21. TooMeke October 26, 2016 5:55 am

    Paul you forgot to ask why Kam had to “declare” for the open, thereby giving crapiolani (Chun’s alma mater) the automatic bid.

    Why not have 3rd best ILH team get the D1 slot? Like they did for OIA (5th thru 8th best teams). Kam beat crapiolani. They should be in. All that education and still making stupid, uneducated (and biased) decisions.

    Kahuku played the BEST VERSION in the nation (BG) of St LuLu’s and Pun’s offense schemes. You really think our defense won’t be ready for them? Pun’s is the more balanced of the two…they just had too many turnovers that last game. St LuLu? One-man offense with a crappy O-Line. Goooooooooooood luck.

    See you in States – I also hope we play both ILH teams. Win or go home. No excuses.


  22. TooMeke October 26, 2016 5:56 am

    @??? – you live in the wrong state. Hillary has HI’s electoral votes in her pocket. Sorryboutit.

  23. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate October 26, 2016 8:34 am

    the OIA is not in agreeance with you Mr.Chun, SHOW US THE EMAILS!

  24. Kahuku90 October 26, 2016 9:06 am

    TopDoggs October 25, 2016 at 7:46 pm
    “I hope the two ILH teams are not in the same bracket. Kahuku needs to earn the title and prove that they can beat both our best teams.”

    I know Kahuku can beat both teams. Why does Kahuku have to prove anything? It should be the other way around. Kahuku is the reigning state champs. They don’t have to prove anything. They’ve earned everyone of their titles and have proven themselves to be top dogs consistently for the past 20 years.

  25. Manley October 26, 2016 9:09 am

    1.Hilo 2.Campbell 3.Iolani 4.Baldwin. my next seed 5.Mililani 6.Waiakea 7.Leileihua 8. Moanalua. So right out of the gate, Hilo should play Moanalua right? Iolani getting the sweetest deal.

  26. rpaahana October 26, 2016 9:28 am

    This guy is supposed to be in charge and doesn’t even no what leagues are in the tournament. MIL is a league and Baldwin is the champion. I am now in line with the folks who say he favors Iolani. The only reason Hilo is 1 seed is so they would have to move up Waiakea and Moanalua because Hilo can not play Waiakea in Rd1 by their rules. Waiakea and Moanalua clearly earned the bottom two seeds. One forfeited and the other has a losing record. Had to make sure Iolani got one of them. Well played Mr Chun.

  27. Tutu Kane Ale October 26, 2016 2:09 pm

    @Chrispy Chun, the next time you people think about coming up with new changes how about establishing “Coaches Challenges” for referees/official blind sided calls; really this is overdue and needs to be adopted whereas many major competition nowadays are enforcing it and about your latest championship format, now them changes were not necessary and surely it was not thought out right like you people were racing against time and therefore your format is not full proof justifiable;

    your new format has a lot of yellow flags, time to punt Chris.

  28. Rpaahana October 26, 2016 3:35 pm

    Nice BS (note) Mr Chun! So BIIF will always get #1 seed since they will ALWAYS be the only league champion in D1 tournament? Of course not! Next excuse sir!

  29. Nuch October 26, 2016 5:29 pm

    ST. Louis fan here……

    I hope STL and Pun are on opposite sides of the brackets. Because I want to see STL and Pun mix it up against more OIA teams. I think it’s a shame that there aren’t more regular play between the ILH and OIA. In the ILH we see the same teams 2/3 times a season and that’s it. What a bummer. Trust me I’m not in a rush to watch STL play Pun for a 4th time!!

    Last year was cool when we got to play the team from Samoa and Liberty from Vegas. The thought of STL playing Waianae, Govs, Kapolei, and of course Kahuku is exciting to me.

    I also don’t get how it’s a disadvantage for Kahuku to play both STL and Pun. In my eyes they are a heavy favorite against both. I’d also think Kahuku fans would be excited to get to play Pun and STL, for a change rather than Waianae again, Govs again, etc. in the same season. But instead it seems kahuku fans think it’s a rip off.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to the tournament and hope for some variety. Go Crusaders!

  30. Mr.Maui October 26, 2016 7:39 pm

    WHAT!!!!! You got to be kidding me . . . not recognizing Baldwin as the MIL Division I champion is bogus and Chun’s reason (because a league needs to have at least three teams) is a joke, disrespectful to everyone who has ever played sports in the MIL, and embarrassing to the HHSAA.
    According to bylaws? What bylaws? No one has ever heard of any bylaws governing this tournament. When did they issue bylaws? I gurantee you nobody at Baldwin — or Maui High and the Valley Isle for that matter — have ever heard of such a rule. If you are not going to recognize Baldwin as the MIL league champion than why would you seed them at all. Only league champions can be seeded, so that makes no sense.
    As the governing body the HHSAA should make the bylaws public and as far as I can tell, that rule never existed until Hilo was granted the top seed. No Big Island school has ever won a Division I postseason state tournament game, and the MIL (and KIF) routinely dominated the BIFF champion in the Neighbor Island Football Championship at least a decade. And in the only two NIFC that the BIFF did win, they received byes both times.
    So based on past performances — which should certainly be a criteria and in the bylaws (if the bylaws are to be fair and accurate) — Hilo has no business being awarded the top seed.
    How about applying some common sense to the decision making. Because up until this year, the MIL Division I representative has always been considered a champion. If the HHSAA is not going to recognize the MIL Division I champion because there is only two teams than the MIL should go back to its old format, not categorize teams by division, and reward the league champion to play in the Div. I tournament and the league runner-up goes to the Div. II tournament. That makes more sense for the MIL and makes every game meaningful.
    Best record, or better record, goes to the tournament. That’s common sense and grand larceny to Kamehameha Kapalama, even Iolani would agree that the Warriors are more deserving — end of discussion!
    Bogus rules and backdoor shenanigans — and an unnecessary additional tournament — have already sucked the life out of the state tournament as we know it. In fact, by not having a Neighbor Island football team playing in the Open Division, it is not a true state championship tournament and the winner should not be recognized as the best prep team in the 50th state.
    That would be an inaccurate claim —— but an accurate description of this postseason mess!!!

  31. Paper Crane October 26, 2016 10:29 pm

    Definitely there’s flaws, definitely there’s political bias and pressure , definitely the phone calls and emails will come bombarding in like HHSAA needs to come focus to trash there new
    championship format like for one time use only.

    Going to say it again whereas the “Win-Lose Elimination Bracket” makes it only professional with the least of flaws and definitely marked by integrity; eh like the brackets can be streamline with some separation of locale up to the semi-finals and like 24 Division I teams and 22 Division II only difference is DIV II will have 2 brackets, one for the other islands teams yet only their top 2 teams will travel to play Oahu’s top 2 team as DIV II in semi final match up; oh by the way it’s drawing names from the box whereas who plays who and so this here sure will separate the men from the boys at game time; now tell me that’s not fair but you wanted in so what’s your hang up whereas you with the big boys now so you got nothing to lose? Enjoy my sharing.

  32. Education First October 27, 2016 9:28 am

    88 October 25, 2016 at 8:11 pm
    @TopDog the ILH needs to earn the right to play Kahuku and prove they can beat Kahuku for the Title. Something they haven’t been able to do in a very very very very VEEERRY long time

    While Kahuku is the cream of the crop for football over the past 10-15 years (definitely not in the classroom though where it’s much more important), an ILH team (Punahou) won the state title 3 years ago. That doesn’t seem that long ago. Now given that it was against Mililani which obviously wasn’t Kahuku, it isn’t anyone’s fault that year that Punahou played Mililani since Kahuku didn’t advance.

    You are insinuating that an ILH team hasn’t won in like 10-20 years. But the real question for you 88 should be:

    “Why haven’t you chosen to join me at lunch yet? The invite is always open for you my friend.”

  33. rrfl October 27, 2016 10:11 am

    hey education first, stop trying to meet men on this forum

  34. Education First October 27, 2016 11:04 am

    rrfl October 27, 2016 at 10:11 am
    hey education first, stop trying to meet men on this forum

    I smell some jealousy here rrfl. We all know that is how they roll in Kahuku. Man on Man is quite common, well that and incest. I mean half you guys and your wives look the same.

  35. 88 October 27, 2016 1:36 pm

    That is a terrible comeback 85. Lacks, well it lacks just about everything.

  36. Paper Crane October 27, 2016 1:39 pm

    @Education First (grader); whatever you are animal or worm, mahu or menace, educated or mental, you sure got everyone voting you for an Oscar Award, “THE APPRENTICE”; meaning you don’t belong on this domain and just as a reminder, again I say as witty and mental as you are, you need to move on to higher learning like pass go to the UH Warrior Domain; Damn what a disgrace to society and among alien beings and you call yourself a Democrat?

  37. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate October 27, 2016 5:42 pm

    somebody needs a friend and his meds

  38. Paper Crane October 27, 2016 7:31 pm

    @grabum.bythe.puppy.gate; must be recharging and too high to comment or napping or maybe picking up them babinos?

  39. TooMeke October 27, 2016 9:00 pm

    Hey look everyone!!!

    EF is back from his “business trip.”

    Line for welfare check was extra long this month.


  40. Paper Crane October 28, 2016 12:36 am

    @TooMeke; you right about away on a business trip; hope he didn’t get smash mouth trying to comment on the UH Warrior Domain but anyway it takes quite sometime to get his/her comments together before stepping into the Big Red Gauntlet and write 1st grader trash along with picking numbers out of the air?

  41. Jason Keuma October 28, 2016 6:08 am

    So I was reading Animal Farm a few years ago. I was reminded about how the pigs kept adding new “laws” to the side of the barn.

    I’m not calling anyone pigs, just recalling the plot from the book.

    People, please remember, this whole one season trial was cooked up after two games were already played and after the OIA turned down the $3 M enticement to create an open division.

    Just as the OIA did in 1998, when the playoff era was created, getting the ILH to agree to the 8 consecutive semesters rule, thus leveling the playing field. The OIA could extract another concession from the ILH. Maximum number of players on the team. Having 80+ players on a team playing 50 players? Yes, only 11 are on the field at a time, but injuries take players out, and substituting keeps the remaining players fresh.

    I’m not crying because the team I cheer for is loosing, I’m just saying, level the playing field. You know, in the interest of fair play.

    OIA get something out of this situation. Do you really need 80+ Players on your team, or is that simply a tactic to keep that talent from other teams? Agree to a third division, but add a player limit per team. (Be sure to include jv team limits, and limit how many can be “brought up”.)

  42. Jason Keuma October 28, 2016 6:16 am

    Matuu- I like your humor. “they are the best teams” and of course that is what we have always done traditionally here in Hawaii. I remember all those prep bowls where St Louis had to play Kahuku, then Waianae and possibly hmmmmm oh yeah they didn’t do that”

    How quick people forget how it use to be.

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