Sources: ‘Iolani football moving up to D-I

'Iolani’s Carter Kamana caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Tai John Mizutani in a game against St. Francis last year. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Prep World has learned through multiple sources that the Interscholastic League of Honolulu has decided that ‘Iolani will move up to Division I for regular-season and state-tournament classification for football starting this fall.

No official announcement has been made by the ILH.

St. Francis, meanwhile, will move down to Division II.

Last year, both ‘Iolani and St. Francis played a D-II ILH schedule, with ‘Iolani going to D-II states and St. Francis classified for D-I for states.’

When the historic ILH and OIA agreement was announced in late February, the two leagues sent out a news release stating that St. Francis was in D-I and ‘Iolani in D-II for 2018. That release, apparently, was based on last year’s placement and came before the ILH’s decision to switch the divisions for the two schools. Sources said the decision was made about a week ago.

For the regular season, ‘Iolani and Damien of the ILH will play against each other as well as a full slate of games against eight OIA D-I teams — Aiea, Castle, Kailua, Waipahu, Leilehua, Moanalua, Nanakuli and Radford.

St. Francis and Pac-Five of the ILH will play against each other as well as a full slate of games against eight OIA D-II teams — Kaimuki, Kalaheo, Kalani, McKinley, Pearl City, Roosevelt, Kaiser and Waialua.

‘Iolani has been a Division II team since classificiation began for football in 2003, except for 2015 and 2016, when it moved up to Division I. In 2016, the state held its first three-tiered tournament, adding the Open Division (top tier). The Raiders were in the middle (D-I) tier in 2016 and the bottom tier (D-II) in 2017.

Except for 2017, the state has classified St. Francis as a D-II school since it began football competition in 2013.


  1. ??? March 9, 2018 5:59 pm

    About time.

  2. Last Samurai March 9, 2018 10:13 pm

    D1, D2, no matter, I don’t see any OIA Coaching Staff that can match Iolani’s. That coaching advantage is worth at least 14 points in the game. Wouldn’t be surprised if they run the table and end up with the best record in the D1 Tier.

  3. locomoco March 9, 2018 11:36 pm

    “About time” what?
    Iolani’s returning linemen weigh: 171, 196, 204, 206, 189, 151, 166, 156 .
    St. Francis returning linemen weigh: 230, 200, 200, 280, 200, 220, 340, 180, 220.
    Find me a varsity football team that’s smaller than Iolani’s, please?

  4. ??? March 10, 2018 11:06 am

    This is HS FOOTBALL not pop warner where everybody has to be a certain weight!!
    Quit Crying, if they really feel that way they should play Tennis and not football.

  5. crusadahss March 10, 2018 1:28 pm

    Iolani get some big freshman moving up

  6. crusadahss March 10, 2018 1:29 pm

    Both 6’ 1” one of um 230

  7. Ldub20 Owl 316 March 10, 2018 1:39 pm

    If St. Francis basketball can play at D1, Iolani FB can play at D1 against Kailua, Castle, and Aiea.

  8. Coach B March 10, 2018 2:13 pm

    I’m not really sure what you are arguing for… Isn’t the fact that Iolani is moving up a division despite their lack of size, as well as losing statistically their best QB ever, what you are arguing for? I don’t see why you aren’t more upset about the fact that St. Francis had a better record than Iolani last year, as well as more returning talent and a bigger roster, and they are moving down a division. That is unless you are just holding some sort of grudge against Iolani…

    Yes St. Francis is losing a lot of basketball size to graduation, but I really hope you aren’t trying to compare the physical size discrepancies and safety in basketball to those in football. Anyways, Iolani doesn’t have the gatorade football player of the year coming back, as well has 40% of the State D2 all-star team like St. Francis does in basketball.

  9. ??? March 10, 2018 6:55 pm

    Coach B,
    No grudge just Facts: St Francis has only been pretty good the last couple of years but still with NO championships ever!!!
    Iolani has a thousand DII championships including 6 straight (2007-2012)
    “C’MON MAN”

  10. Kamehameha#1 March 11, 2018 8:48 am

    “About time” what?
    Iolani’s returning linemen weigh: 171, 196, 204, 206, 189, 151, 166, 156 .
    St. Francis returning linemen weigh: 230, 200, 200, 280, 200, 220, 340, 180, 220.
    Find me a varsity football team that’s smaller than Iolani’s, please?

    Try comparing IQ and see what you come out with!

  11. Coach B March 11, 2018 10:44 am

    Here are some more facts for you. Here is a list of Open/D1 teams that have never won an Open/D1 HHSAA State Championship:


    You can make a parallel argument that those four teams have been as good in Open/D1 as St Francis has been at the D1/D2 level, but I would bet that you would be up in arms if any of those schools decided to move down a division. Your argument is based on the notion that division placement should only be based on historic success and not factor the programs current situation.
    Iolani is moving up after a year in D2 where they didn’t even win the title and don’t seem to be getting an influx of better players. They were competitive yet not overpowering teams in D2. Isn’t that the ideal situation? You should really be more concerned about a successful St. Francis team who fared better in the ILH than Iolani and is bringing back the same talent, yet is moving down a division. How is that benefiting the competitive balance in D2? If anything it seems like a move for better seeding and a better chance at a state playoff bid since they would only need to beat PAC-5 for the ILH berth. That makes less sense than Iolani staying in D2…

  12. TooMeke March 11, 2018 4:25 pm

    changing to D-1 is not gonna change the fact they gonna get worked by Clackamas… but glad to see they not sand-bagging anymore.

  13. Ldub20 Owl 316 March 11, 2018 6:12 pm

    People are acting as if Iolani is gonna play St. Louis and Punahou. Newsflash: they ain’t playing teams that’ll crush them. I think they match up well with teams like Kailua, Castle, and Aiea. Those teams won’t overpower them the way the Big 3 did. There ain’t as much of a size advantage over Iolani as there was when they played the Big 3.

  14. ILH March 12, 2018 10:52 am

    They got it right.

    That division that is better than the wailua’s and the Pac-Fives but not good enough for the Mililani’s or Kamehameha’s.

    Now the real issue, St. Francis has no business being in D-2 based on talent alone. Theyre stacked. All they need is coaching and they will be dangerous.

  15. Vikingspride March 12, 2018 1:03 pm

    ILH is a mess because of the lack of teams. You saw when Iolani declared for DII, Damien and St. Francis immediately jumped ship to DI for states because they’ll still get the same competition but without Iolani for a state berth. My opinion that is not how these divisions are supposed to work.

  16. DumbViking March 12, 2018 4:53 pm

    Vikingspride. You have no clue what you talking about. Iolani went down, those two teams didn’t jump ship, Iolani did. How does that even make sense and fyi both Damien and Stf beat the crap out of Iolani last year. Now we will see how the ILH matches up with the OIA on a pretty even scale.

  17. ??? March 13, 2018 5:26 am

    Coach B,
    You have just proven my point! those OIA teams you just named not winning a state championship is true, also true is none of those teams EVER cry about being in DI no matter what type of size or numbers they have as a TEAM.
    I don’t see Iolani wanting to go to DII in basketball, volleyball or baseball. “Why” cause they win!
    A few years back Iolani was undersized compared to St Louis but still won so STOP whining.

  18. Eddy Furst March 13, 2018 12:27 pm

    Coach Wendell Look is hands down the best pure HS football coach in Hawaii and one of the nation’s elite. Iolani’s limited roster is perpetually undersized and undertalented compared to the ILH Big 3 but always managed to be competitive and even beat them straight up once in a while. Look managed to beat St Francis who has them outgunned in size and talent as well. St Francis coaches aren’t great teachers and motivators like Look, in fact they’re not even below average. You Haters are a joke and need to be watch cartoons to raise your IQs.

  19. Coach B March 13, 2018 12:49 pm

    I’m not arguing about where Iolani should be placed. Where we disagree is how teams should be placed. What I am arguing is that divisional placement should incorporate more than just historic success, where as you seem to be blindly arguing against an Iolani team that has already moved up to a more competitive division even though no one was really arguing that Iolani played at an appropriate level last year considering their record and outcome.

    What I was suggesting was that a criteria for divisional placement should incorporate school size, historic success over the last 5 years or so, and team turn out. Based on the ILH criteria, Iolani qualified for the higher divisions based on its school size, and was in D1 for a couple years due to its recent success in D2. Where they may not have met the criteria for divisional promotion was in team turn out, but that is a somewhat arbitrary assumption.

    This criteria might work a little better than the current system where teams can just declare their division. It would prevent a situation like Kaiser over the past few years where they were bumped up to OIA D1 due to their D2 success and decent student body size, but their team turnouts fell off a cliff after coaching turnover and they were forced to stay at D1.

    It also might mitigate a situation like Saint Francis where they moved down a division arbitrarily for this coming season. Their student body and team turnout don’t seem to have changed dramatically, and they played for the ILH title. However, they are moving down to get a competitive advantage. If there is no objective reason for them to move down. If they had gone winless in D1 or if there was an unusually large graduating class that would’ve gutted the roster that would have made this a different situation, but that isn’t the case.

    I’m not arguing for or against Iolani’s divisional placement. If anything I think Iolani moving up to D1 poses a greater challenge for them. However, I am arguing for a more reasonable criteria for divisional placement for all teams. You seem to be getting fixated on Iolani’s situation where as I am looking for equitable treatment for all teams.

  20. ??? March 14, 2018 7:27 am

    As a coach you never know what size, talent or how many players you will have on your team year to year, so sometimes you may move to DI with no talent or size and get smashed by elite teams and sometimes you may move down to DII and have all the talent & size and smash teams. My only problem is with coach Look complaining about being in DII. You win some you lose some, “That’s Life”

  21. locomoco March 14, 2018 11:29 am

    The problem with the divisions is the arbitrary, self-selecting way it’s handled. Open should be opt-in. Div. I and II should be determined based on criteria including male student enrollment 9-12, and historical success over time (5 years mentioned above seems fair). Div. II teams can opt up for a set number of years; Div. I teams based on the enrollment/recent success criteria shouldn’t be able to opt down ever.

  22. Northshore March 15, 2018 6:51 am

    @???: True! Based on your comment, “you never know what size, talent or how many players you will have on your team year to year and get smashed by elite teams and sometimes have all the talent and size and smash teams.” It would be unfair to use “enrollment”, either way, up or down as a criteria because as an example for Oahu’s high school enrollment, Waipahu (4), Moanalua (8), Pearl City (12), Kahuku (14). Revert back to the old ILH and ROIA. ILH: Kaiser, Kaimuki, Mckinley, Kalani, Roosevelt, Moanalua, Farrington, St Louis, Kamehameha, Punahou, Iolani, Damien, St Francis, Pac-5. ROIA: Kailua, Kalaheo, Castle, Kahuku, Waialua, Leilehua, Mililani, Kapolei, Campbell, Waianae, Nanakuli, Pearl City, Aiea, Radford.

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