According to Hilo AD Kurt Kawachi, the BIIF athletic directors met Tuesday and decided to amend the league’s mercy rule. After a 35-point differential in a game, running time will be instituted even if it occurs in the first half.
“In general, there is some imbalance in the BIIF this year,” he said.
Nobody can say for sure if Waiakea will bounce back and give everything it has on the field after Saturday’s 104-0 loss to Hilo.
But if practice, talk and the players’ actions have anything to do with it, they’ll come out hungry.
Coach Neil Azevedo was wondering how many players he would have at practice Monday.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said via cell phone Tuesday. “I thought maybe that having two show up was possible, but we had 43, the most we’ve had all season.”
Of the 43 players who showed up for Waiakea practice, six are players who have not been out for the team so far. They’re stepping up when the school needs them most, even though they won’t be eligible for Friday’s game at Konawaena.
“The team texted me after the game and asked if they could have a meeting, players only, to talk story,” Azevedo said. “They came out after the meeting (Monday) and their spirits were high. It was awesome. It was like the Warrior days of the 1990s, when Tim Lino was the coach (of a dominant BIIF Waiakea team).
“After the game, they came up and apologized to me. I told them when they win, it goes to them. When they lose, it comes to me. I’ll take the negative. I’ll take the criticism. I thanked them for showing up and playing. I believe in what they do. The mountain we’re climbing just got higher. Baby steps. We’re going to get better and grow in life. I will always be there for them. I’m just a phone call away.”
And what about those 104 points?
“Hilo did what they were supposed to do,” Azevedo said. “The whole thing was we couldn’t hang on to the ball. It was one of those days where nothing was falling our way. It was turnover after turnover after turnover. One time, one of our players recovered a fumble by jumping on a loose ball by himself. The ball popped out and went to a Hilo player. It was one of those days where everything went bad.
“The score is the score. The main thing is they fought and how they came back (Monday) for practice. The spirits are all up. We’re going to grow from this. We’ll be a different team. We’ll go hard to the end of year and we’ll finish it stronger. This could have been the worst loss ever, but we’re never going to give up. The kids didn’t get any unsportsmanlike penalties. They kept their heads. They sang their alma mater with pride and waited with respect for Hilo to finish theirs. Our chance to come back from this, I look at it as a plus.”
After a 52-14 loss to Keaau on Aug. 31, Waiakea (0-4, 0-3 BIIF) was down to 17 players due to injuries and players not participating for various reasons.
The troop level was 24 before the Hilo game.
“I heard from the Waiakea AD (Tommy Correa) today that some players who didn’t play this year but played last year showed up at their practice yesterday to help their team,” Kawachi said by cell phone Tuesday. “That’s a positive. No one feels good about the score. Our philosophy is to never run up the score or embarrass anyone. It was untimely turnovers and all of that defensive scoring that made the situation difficult.”
Azevedo does not know for sure that Waiakea will play a sound, fundamental, inspired football game against Konawaena on Friday. But he does have belief that it will happen. He also has a vision.
“The two-hour ride home will be beautiful,” he said.