Radford still adjusting to Division I

Radford's Jonah Soakai tackled Moanalua receiver Brandon Bender. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.
Radford’s Jonah Soakai tackled Moanalua receiver Brandon Bender. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

The fine line between Division I and Division II can be measured in wins and losses for the Radford football team.

Last year’s team went a perfect 13-0 en route to an HHSAA Division II state championship. It was the school’s only state championship in the divisional format. It also won the Oahu Prep Bowl in 1981.

This year’s team is currently 0-4 and 0-3 in OIA play and has lost by an average of 36 points per game.

“It’s been tough and I expected that, and I told the team that,” first year head coach Lon Passos said. “Every game is a dogfight. You don’t have an easy week.”

Passos took over the program after Fred Salanoa resigned due to family reasons 10 days after the school’s state championship, a 30-16 victory over Kapaa. Salanoa was at the helm for 13 years. He is now the wide receivers coach for Punahou.

“We’re young,” Passos said. “But that shouldn’t be an excuse by now.”

It certainly doesn’t get any easier for Radford. The Rams host defending Division I state champion Kahuku on Friday, Sept. 9. The week after that? A visit to Waianae.

The Red Raiders (4-0) are coming off of a 44-0 win over Campbell and haven’t allowed a point in 10 quarters. Meanwhile, the Rams have yet to score a touchdown on offense this season.

“We just gotta get them mentally prepared first,” Passos said. “First of all, we’re gonna be facing a team with numbers and size. Mentally, we gotta get them prepared for that physical part and then we just gotta play our game.”

Although this season can be viewed as a rebuilding year of sorts for the Rams, they hope to show progress in ways that numbers can’t.

“They didn’t quit. At least there’s fight,” Passos said. “That pride to not give up toward the end.”


  1. Manley September 3, 2016 7:57 am

    Last year’s Rams was not by chance. Lots of recruiting to make that team. Now players transfered out. The whole coaching staff gone. A big snafu with the “toxic” field. This year’s team is a skeleton of last year’s championship. I think it will be back to D3 for the Rams. Good luck to them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.