Nonconference football, nonleague, interleague — whatever it is called, to the prepared usually go the spoils. It happens every year this way, generally. It’s happened again this fall.
ILH/private school teams are a bit deeper and somewhat more prepared. Kids coming through the intermediate and JV pipeline at private-school programs are more in sync in August football games.
OIA/public school squads are sometimes less potent in terms of depth and the playbook. It’s the nature of the system. Until public-school teams have long preseasons — long gone are the days of two- and three-a-days, for the most part because of the shortened period — and middle-school feeders, it’s an uphill battle.
The result: Kamehameha, Punahou and Saint Louis won their ILH-OIA interleague games. Only Division II ‘Iolani has taken a loss, and that came after a win over Kalani.
Still, every year, OIA/public school teams tend to hit their stride by midseason or late season, long after early-season academic probation lays its big hammer on active rosters. Not all of them, but Leilehua just a few years back was 3-3 in the regular season (OIA Red West) when a prodigy (Andrew Manley) from the JV stepped in at quarterback and sparked the Mules to a state-championship run.
There are advantages to being a public school, though they may seem few and far between. But where there’s preparation, organization and leadership, there’s ample room for hope. This matchup between Leilehua and ‘Iolani is an example of those elements, even though both teams have inexperience at several positions.
The Raiders may be very young defensively, but offensively — with two new quarterbacks battling for playing time — they’ve scored 87 points in two nonconference games. There’s no fluke in that. None.
It was a tug of war between superb coaching staffs, and a lot of fun to watch again on video.