Fans who bemoaned the loss of a true rivalry game between Mililani and Leilehua the last two years were repaid this season.
The Mules and Trojans had faced off every year since 1998 before two years ago when the OIA decided the West was too tough and merged the divisions.
They certainly made up for it this year, with the rivals meeting for the third time this season when they clash in the semifinals of the Division I state tournament on Friday. Mililani won the previous two meetings, bringing rise to the old adage, ‘it’s hard to beat a team three times.’
The ILH had teams face each other a third time in five instances this year, with three of them being sweeps. Before that, ‘sweeps year’ was 2005, when the ILH featured two of them and the OIA had one if its two.
That two OIA teams would face each other three times in a season is extremely rare, this will be just the third time after Waianae beat Mililani 2-1 in 2010 and Kahuku swept Farrington in 2003.
The multiple matchups may not be over when the lights go out in Mililani on Friday. If Waianae can beat Saint Louis, the Seariders are assured that the state championship will be a ‘Game three’ as they have already met both Kahuku and Kapolei twice this season already.
Most of the action has occurred in the smaller ILH where regular season splits led to a championship.
Two programs have had to face each other three times in a season 25 times over the years, beginning with the epic Mosi Tatupu vs. Ed Kini clash in 1973 that was captured by Punavision and robbed one of the greatest players in history the chance to play in the Prep Bowl.
Schools meeting three times in a season
2016: Saint Louis 3, Iolani 0
2016: Punahou 3, Kamehameha 0
2016: Damien 2, St. Francis 1
2016: St. Francis 3, Pac-Five 0
2016: Saint Louis 2, Punahou 1
2015: Saint Louis 2, Punahou 1
2011: Punahou 2, Kamehameha 1
2010: Waianae 2, Mililani 1
2006: Iolani 1, Damien 1, 1 tie
2005: Saint Louis 3, Kamehameha 0
2005: Punahou 3, Saint Louis 0
2003: Kahuku 3, Farrington 0
2002: Saint Louis 2, Kamehameha 1
1999: Saint Louis 2, Kamehameha 1
1998: Saint Louis 2, Kamehameha 1
1997: Saint Louis 2, Kamehameha 1
1995: Saint Louis 2, Punahou 1
1993: Saint Louis 2, Punahou 1
1991: Damien 2, Kamehameha 1
1990: Punahou 2, Iolani 1
1988: Damien 2, Kamehameha 1
1987: Pac-Five 2, Iolani 1
1981: Saint Louis 2, Pac-Five 1
1980: Kamehameha 2, Iolani 1
1973: Saint Louis 2, Punahou 1