To play another day: Bowl possibilities for good, non-qualifying teams?

Pac-Five receiver Angelo Coluccio (1) hauled in a pass over Pearl City'sVictor Atkins (30) to set up the winning score during a comeback victory over Pearl City. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

There is a muddled huddle atop the OIA D-II standings with Kaimuki, Kaiser and Roosevelt tied at 6-1.

Kaimuki plays Kalani, Kaiser travels to face Kalaheo and, on Saturday, Roosevelt hikes to Nanakuli. If the three co-leaders win as expected, there will be a coin flip to determine seeding for the three playoff spots. The fourth spot is also up for grabs with Nanakuli needing a win and a Waialua loss to keep the Bulldogs from getting the final berth.

But what if the OIA had counted games against ILH teams? In this case, in D-II, no difference. The only ILH D-II team was Pac-Five, which lost to the OIA’s co-leaders.

The Wolfpack are the lone dog out of the playoffs since there is no state-tourney berth for ILH D-II. In a parallel universe, maybe Pac-Five is part of the D-II playoff picture. At 5-3, the ‘Pack would be in position for the fourth and final playoff berth (in the OIA), having beaten playoff hopefuls Nanakuli (17-12), Waialua (20-14) and Kalani (20-9).

If the OIA counted results against the ILH, Nanakuli and Waialua would be 4-4, Kalani would be out at 3-5. And if the head-to-head tiebreaker rule was still in effect for a league that included Pac-Five, the Wolfpack would already have that edge.

There is no postseason for Pac-Five, but occasionally two programs from different islands can turn lemons into lemonade. In 1991, a strong Damien squad opened the ILH season 4-1 — long before there were Open, or Division I and II — then suffered key injuries, and finished 5-5. The Monarchs were invited to play BIIF champion Konawaena in the MacFarms Bowl. Konawaena normally would have played in the Neighbor Island Classic, but a long league schedule left the Wildcats on the outside looking in as the champions of the KIF and MIL squared off.

Damien’s injured players recovered, including quarterback Francis Breckterfield, and the Monarchs won 17-6 at a packed house at Julian Yates Field. Breckterfield still ranks among the Top 10 in school history in single-game yardage. He passed for 256 yards against Kamehameha on Sept. 27, 1991, which ranks fifth on the list.

Today, reasonable air fares make postseason travel a real possibility for teams like Pac-Five. Maybe. Just a side note: Konawaena, which moved up from Division II this season, is battling for the BIIF’s lone state berth in D-I. If the Wildcats fall short against perennial champion Hilo, they too will be a good team all dressed up with no place to dance.

Of all the potential matchups in a non-state tourney scenario, Konawaena is one of the sites that would draw a substantial crowd. If Konawaena isn’t interested, there’s Kealakehe, which is currently third in the BIIF D-I standings. There’s Hawaii Prep, which is second in BIIF D-II.

Konawaena coach Brad Uemoto is focused on guiding his team in the BIIF D-I playoffs. He said that if the Wildcats do not get past undefeated, defending league champion Hilo, they would be very interested in hosting a bowl game — pending approval from administration.

Who else is interested? Pac-Five coach Kip Botelho and at least one ILH D-I coach. Botelho said he would have to get approval from his administrators, as well.

If four teams are interested, this could become a doubleheader — transportation costs and proper approval pending. Kealakehe’s first-year head coach, Wyatt Nahale said he would seek the OK from his administrators. A Pac-Five/Kealakehe matchup would be intriguing. Kealakehe edged Pearl City 13-7 in nonconference play. Over the weekend, Pac-Five rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to beat Pearl City 28-21 at Aloha Stadium.

“That is an awesome idea and I would definitely support that,” Nahale said. “I watched that (Pac-Five/Pearl City) game. It definitely would be fun to play another Oahu team.”

Both Uemoto of Konawaena and Nahale of Kealakehe said they would arrange for visiting teams to stay overnight in their gyms if needed.

Teams like Pac-Five and Konawaena could pass on an extended season, preferring to let athletes dive into their winter sports rather than linger in football an extra two or three weeks. If Pac-Five would not travel, maybe the ILH’s D-I runner-up — Damien or ‘Iolani — would be interested. Those two teams aren’t in the same straits as Pac-Five, but both have proven to be worthy teams stuck in a tough situation.

A powerhouse in D-II, Konawaena only moved up to D-I this year because of drastic changes in the BIIF. They could still win the BIIF D-I crown, and if the ‘Cats were still in D-II, they would clearly be atop the league standings.

Pac-Five at Konawaena, or Pac-Five vs. Kealakehe as part of a doubleheader, would be a challenging task for the visitors, but in a year of oddity and heartbreak, maybe the Wolfpack would be up for it. They just want a door to open.


  1. Hmmm? October 9, 2019 1:59 pm

    Wait, I understand wanting to play, but the HHSAAA State Tourney allows enough teams to play. Bowl Games is for College… Just my opinion.

  2. Falcon Future October 9, 2019 3:32 pm

    ^^^ @Hmmm, I agree with your opinion. Is somebody seriously talking about creating a “bowl game” for the mediocre teams in Division 2?

  3. Choloropicrin October 9, 2019 6:36 pm

    Bowl names with a local twist Hahaha

    The Reynolds Recycling Bowl
    The Ironworkers Union Bowl
    The Times Supermarket Bowl
    The Shiros Saimin Bowl
    The Scott Slipper Bowl
    The Town and Country Surf Bowl
    The Big Island Candy Bowl

  4. Hau’ulaBoy October 9, 2019 9:52 pm

    If they want to play. Why not?? More games for the kids.

  5. Paul Honda October 9, 2019 9:56 pm

    Halm’s Kim Chi Bowl
    Itchy Butt Spam and Egg Bowl
    Leeward Bowl Bowl

  6. Hau’ulaBoy October 9, 2019 9:59 pm

    Why can’t Punahou or the second place ILH team do this? Go play Kahuku, Mililani or Campbell on the outer Islands. Give a chance for outer Island fans to get to see Open football up close. Maybe add this game and make it a triple header at War Memorial Stadium.

  7. Paul Honda October 9, 2019 10:01 pm

    Falcon Future, it doesn’t matter what division. Football is football whether it’s D-I Konawaena or Kealakehe or Hilo or ‘Iolani or Damien, or D-II Pac-Five or HPA, or any other team.
    The Damien-Konawaena game in 1991 was a great battle. Yes, I was there. Both teams benefited from it, and the full house enjoyed it, too. It certainly filled a void for each program.

  8. Hau’ulaBoy October 9, 2019 10:04 pm

    Aiea Bowl Bowl.
    Have it in Waianae and call it the Stuck in Traffic Bowl.

  9. Hau’ulaBoy October 9, 2019 10:11 pm

    Have a game at Laie Park. With all the kids from Laie Park Big Boys vs all state team. Even get Sol-Jay to come back and play. Call it the Laie Park Bowl.

  10. To Da Hale October 10, 2019 12:02 am

    Since we live in Hawaii, what would be better than:

    Da Poke Bowl
    Da Spam-n-Rice Bowl


  11. Hee-Haw October 10, 2019 12:36 am

    In 1991, there was the Prep Bowl, a “mythical” Oahu State Championship. It pitted the OIA and ILH champs. It was an extra bowl game for 2 teams that earned it. Later, the Outer Islands made their own Bowls amongst themselves and that was good too. Now, we have 3 Divisions and only the 2 lower div. play amongst all leagues. Seems we should of just left Prep Bowl and Outer Is. Bowl as is….

  12. Observation October 10, 2019 6:14 am

    Like the article stated if all of OIA teams games counted (including those played against their single ILH opponent) and had the lone ILH team games counted (against the other nine OIA opponents) there would be no need to invent a bowl game. In that scenario, Pac5 would round out the fourth place spot in the DII playoffs.

    As a side note, DII teams (including Pac5 and the BIIF teams) are not mediocre. A mediocre team does not come back seven points down with 2:25 on the clock on their own five yard line and win by seven.

  13. ILH Should Pay Bill for Pac 5 to Play additional Game October 10, 2019 7:43 am

    Yup… send Pac 5 to play Konawaena or Kealakehe and send the bill to the ILH office. That’s the least the ILH can do for putting Pac 5 in the situation. The ILH had options to prevent leaving Pac 5 as the sole team in Div II, but they chose not to take the bull by the horns and make a decision by moving a Div I team down to Div II and accept Kamehameha’s tranfer from Open to Div I. Hats off to Kamehameha, who was willing to do whatever is needed for the ILH to keep all teams “states” viable.

    Paying the bill is the least the ILH can do for the kids on the Pac 5 team… especially the seniors; they are robbed of an opportunity.

  14. Falcon Future October 10, 2019 8:38 am

    @Paul Honda, I will disagree and say the division does matter. Otherwise, why have divisions?

    And the bigger point is that there already is a state tournament on 3 different levels!!! That’s 14 teams that qualify and EARN their way in to the tournament. Creating another level of “bowl games” for the teams that don’t get in does not seem right. Might as well call it the Enablement Bowl.

  15. Observation October 10, 2019 9:02 am

    @Falcon Future,

    Why does a team like Pac5 not qualify for the post season tournament play?

  16. More games the merrier! October 10, 2019 9:05 am

    @ Falcon Future

    What’s wrong with having a consolation or bowl game for those teams that didn’t qualify for states? A little extra $$ for the school… and community (if team travel is involved). No harm done right? They not stealing the “thunder” from the state games right?

    Some teams like Pac 5 do deserve to be in the states but can’t due to some administrative technicality. That’s no fault to the kids right?

    So I say, let them play.

  17. Hau’ulaBoy October 10, 2019 9:36 am

    Blame the ILH not the OIA. The OIA is pretty stupid, but this one is on ILH.

  18. Observation October 10, 2019 9:46 am


    I agree, this one in on the ILH, but as @Falcon Future suggests that 14 teams already qualified and EARNed their way into the tournament, is not exactly the total story. Pac5 only had OIA opponents and you had guys playing hard every game knowing (before the season started) their fate. I don’t think anyone is asking that the rules be changed now as this would be unfair to either Waialua or Nanakuli. I think part of the Bowl series outside of the Prep tournament, is an admission that the ILH did blow it. However, to make this admission (in a roundabout way) and present this bowl option this late in the season is further insult since a team like Pac5 likely did not plan for this financially.

  19. Paul Honda October 10, 2019 10:12 am

    Falcon Future, thank you for responding. I see your points. I don’t look at an exhibition (bowl) game as “enablement.” On the contrary, these kids and coaches worked very hard for months and months. If they can find another game against another good team, MORE POWER TO THEM. This has nothing to do with the state tournament, not “creating another level” of anything. If Pac-Five can play Konawaena or Kealakehe or Hilo or HPA or Kamehameha-Maui, that’s up to them. It would be good football. And everything I saw in that 1991 Damien-Konawaena game was proof positive that it is possible, and wonderful. I challenge you to find one athlete or coach from that game who would agree with you about “enablement.” Sheesh…

  20. Paul Honda October 10, 2019 10:18 am

    Aloha Hee-Haw. I also see a certain, aesthetic beauty in keeping things simple. In the 1970s, we had the National League and American League West and East Divisions. Two teams made the playoffs in each league, then the World Series. Basic. We also had “only” eight or 10 college football bowl games. And, of course, the Oahu Prep Bowl.
    Guess what? Most teams only played seven or eight games if they missed the playoffs. Nobody likes that. Everybody loves one more game.
    The Neighbor Island Football Classic was interesting, but again, with only three leagues participating, it had its limitations. I covered those games in the 1990s and they were fantastic sometimes. However, there’s nothing like matchups between Oahu programs and Neighbor Island programs. Fans love it. Teams love it. That’s why the ’91 game between Damien, arguably the second-best team in the ILH that season, and Konawaena (at the tail end of its dynasty) was so intriguing.

  21. Oily Oilz October 10, 2019 10:25 am

    @ Falcon Future Shut up you support Kalani

  22. Falcon Future October 10, 2019 10:30 am

    @Observation, This has been discussed before. Pac-5 does not qualify because they are the one and only ILH team in D2. The state tournament does not accept a 1-team league and rightfully so.

    Here’s the thing. Pac-5 and ILH knew about this since last year when St. Francis went out of business. Pac-5 could have and should have moved up to D1 with Iolani and Damien and that would at least give them a shot at competing for a state title.

    Yes, Pac-5 is behind Iolani and Damien right now, but not that far behind. It certainly could not be considered a dangerous situation for the boys if Pac-5 had to play against Iolani and Damien.

    I don’t know if ILH and Pac-5 made this decision together. Did ILH force Pac-5 to stay D2? Did Pac-5 truly fight to move up to D1? I don’t know. Hopefully it is a lesson learned and Pac-5 declares for D1 next year. Keep them in D1 and I bet they raise their level of play over the next few years.

  23. Observation October 10, 2019 10:49 am

    @Falcon Future,
    A little education: No, Pac5 could not just move up to DI. There was a two-year contract (this being the second year of that contract) between the OIA and ILH. Part of the contract was that there would be representation by both leagues in each division. If Pac5 had moved up, there would be no ILH team in Div2, violating the contract. There was a request for either Damien or Iolani to move down to Div2 since Kamehameha agreed to move down to Div1. This, so that the remaining Div1 ILH team (if either Iolani or Damien had moved down) would not be stuck with the HHSAA ruling. Both of those teams (Damien and Iolani) declined and ILH did nothing after that point. This was not a decision available to Pac5. It was a decision made over the summer by administrators beyond the reach of the team.

    So, again why does Pac5 not qualify for their (earned) spot in the D2 tournament?

  24. Observation October 10, 2019 10:58 am

    At this point it is not about suggesting a sudden rule change that allows a team like Pac5 into the state tournament. But, I don’t think that a bowl series outside of the State tournament is diminishing to any team in that series nor is it somehow providing a message of enablement or giving everyone a trophy. These boys know the difference.

    But, to suggest this bowl game the week of the final game of the season is an insult. Teams like Pac5 did not budget for this and unlikely to participate.

  25. Falcon Future October 10, 2019 11:27 am

    @Paul Honda, You keep bringing up Damien vs. Konawaena in 1991 as if it were yesterday. There was no state tournament and no divisions in 1991. Now we have 3 divisions and 3 state tournaments.

    Konawaena was the BIIF champ and got left out of postseason in 1991. Damien was ILH runner-up (better than Punahou and Kamehameha that year!). Of course that was a intriguing match up to make … 28 years ago!!! That situation does not happen today because there are three levels of state tournaments.

  26. Falcon Future October 10, 2019 11:39 am

    @Observation, thanks for the info. Can @Paul Honda confirm the details of the ILH as fact? If so then I certainly feel for Pac-5, but at the same time it basically means they got left in the dust and were not shown much respect by their own peers in ILH.

    The rules of the HHSAA states are set (just like the contract), and a 1-team league does not qualify for states. No getting around that unfortunately. However, if the 2-year OIA-ILH contract is finished this year, then Pac-5 definitely should declare for D1 next year.

  27. Observation October 10, 2019 11:54 am

    @Falcon Future,

    If @Paul Honda can verify that would be helpful, however that is how understood it to be.

    My only issue was the comment that suggests any post season play other the state tournament was somehow to placate mediocre teams. Or to suggests that this is “let’s give everyone a trophy” bowl game. I find those comments out of bounds considering the work and effort by coaches and players since week one of June. And the successes achieved on the field of play.

  28. Chloropicrin October 10, 2019 9:12 pm

    Sumida Watercress Bowl
    Waikiki Bowl
    The Sand Island Waste Water Treatment Bowl
    The Lex Brody “Thank You Very Much” Bowl
    Rainbow Drive Inn Hamburger Bowl

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