Still a rivalry? ‘Iolani and Punahou

Academically, ‘Iolani and Punahou are among the giants of Hawaii high school education.

Athletically, and particularly on the football field, what was once a fairly-even matchup is no more — unless unranked and youthful ‘Iolani proves otherwise this afternoon in a home game against the Buffanblu at Eddie Hamada Field.

Let’s face it. The biggest reason why the ILH forced ‘Iolani to play Division I football this year is to appease its D-I programs, who had been stuck with a meager schedule due to the lack of teams in its league.

It’s a tough situation for all involved unless you’re a D-II member of the ILH football family. Then, you might be relieved to see the state’s premier D-II program get “promoted” to the upper echelon. Yes, some years back, then Kamehameha-Hawaii Athletic Director Bob Wagner was right about Hawaii football and a need for three classifications. As the scores below show, once Punahou got serious about opening its doors to many of the state’s top athletes, results on the gridiron followed. The change is pronounced from the 2004 season and on.

2014: at Punahou 59, ‘Iolani 22
2013: Punahou 56, at ‘Iolani 0
2012: at Punahou 56, ‘Iolani 14
2011: Punahou 38, at ‘Iolani 18
2010: at Punahou 24, ‘Iolani 19
2009: at ‘Iolani 35, Punahou 12
2008: at Punahou 49, ‘Iolani 7
2007: Punahou 48, at ‘Iolani 14
2006: at Punahou 52, ‘Iolani 25
2005: Punahou 24, at ‘Iolani 20
2004: at Punahou 35, ‘Iolani 22
2003: at Punahou 27, ‘Iolani 19; Punahou 41, at ‘Iolani 9
2002: Punahou 7, at ‘Iolani 6; at Punahou 40, ‘Iolani 35
2001: at ‘Iolani 14, Punahou 7
2000: at ‘Iolani 22, Punahou 21; at Punahou 21, ‘Iolani 17


  1. Ldub Twenty September 11, 2015 5:52 pm

    My honest interpretation of this, Paul, is that you think it is an injustice that Iolani is playing teams like Farrington and Punahou. I don’t think that’s a crime. It’s more of a crime to have Iolani play St. Francis and Anuenue on a regular basis. Bottom line: Iolani is as much of a D1 team as Castle, Kailua, and Aiea are. They can hold their own sometimes against the Big 3 but struggle playing a schedule consisting solely of teams like Kahuku, Mililani, Punahou, St. Louis, and Kamehameha. A good idea: have Iolani play a creampuff schedule in the preseason, then play the Big 3 twice, then play in the D2 tournament. It is a win-win! It keeps the storied Punahou-Iolani rivalry alive (as well as Iolani’s rivalry vs. St. Louis) and lets Iolani avoid a more games against D1 teams than it’d play if it were solely a D1 team. Keep in mind: Iolani ALWAYS plays Punahou tough, even though the scores are misleading, Need I mention last year’s game where they outscored Punahou in the 2nd half and never quit? Don’t forget that they gave Kamehameha’s FIRST team a run for their money last year on the Kamehameha-Oahu campus. That ought to prove that my idea may suit Iolani best and appease anyone that can’t stand seeing them win D2 each year. Iolani may not be a true D1 team, but them playing somebody like Anuenue is the equivalent of UH playing an NFL team.

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