Waialua could end 61-year league title drought

The Waialua Bulldogs raised their flag after ousting Kaimuki in the OIA Division II semifinals. Brian McInnis / Star-Advertiser
The Waialua Bulldogs raised their flag after ousting Kaimuki in the OIA Division II semifinals. Brian McInnis / Star-Advertiser

Few places on Oahu have gone unchanged over the decades.

Waialua remains as vibrant and serene as ever, in its quiet, understated way. Lifetime residents — and coaches — would have it no other way. When the Waialua Bulldogs face Waipahu on Friday night for the OIA Division II football championship, they’ll be chasing history. Waialua placed first the OIA Blue in 1992 when the league had Red, White and Blue Conferences. There were no conference playoffs. Instead, the top four teams in the Red (toughest division) and top four in the White (second toughest) qualified for the league-wide playoffs, along with the top top from the Blue.

(Note: Current OIA Executive Director Raymond Fujino said the league recognizes Waialua as a conference champion.)


Waialua has not won a league championship title since 1955 — the days of the Rural Oahu Interscholastic Association. The coach then was Toshi Nakasone, namesake of the on-campus field today.

“I think it will mean a lot to this community and it will bring back the pride into our hometown,” longtime coach Lincoln Barit texted.

Under Barit, who is in his 15th season as head coach, the Bulldogs have already achieved a gem for the school, reaching the D-II state tournament for the first time. Even when they had a stout team with Caleb Fore at QB, they didn’t quite reach the postseason.

“Ironically, Caleb’s (senior) year, we fell short and lost to Waipahu,” Barit recalled.

The team a few years back that featured mammoth linemen Graham Crowley (BYU) and Micah Hatchie (Washington)?


“We never made the playoffs,” Barit wrote.

The current edition of the Bulldogs has played well enough, played clutch enough, edging Kaimuki last week to reach the OIA title game. Vestiges of success in the past are standing in the present. Hatchie’s younger brother, Matthan Hatchie, is a stellar two-way lineman/wide receiver who blocks kicks, punts and knocks in PATs. The defense has been steel-tough, and the offense has talent with RBs Risein Campbell and Howard Nahooikaika, and QB Tevesi Toia.

Still, their best game still hasn’t been played in Barit’s eyes. It could come soon. For now, the focus is on the title game, and the gratification of reaching states is real.

“Being from a small town and succeeding is a big accomplishment,” Barit texted, “and it couldn’t have been done without the support of our community and the hard work and commitment of our players, coaches, students, faculty, parents, alumni and everyone that helped along the way.”


Waialua football championships (with coaches)
All titles ROIA
1941 Gordon Tewksbury
1947 Tom Higa (title shared with Kahuku)
1952 Toshi Nakasone
1953 Toshi Nakasone
1954 Toshi Nakasone
1955 Toshi Nakasone

(Note: Mahalo to our friends from Waialua for the information about the Blue Conference championship.)

COMMENTS

  1. Bulldog Strong October 28, 2016 5:29 am

    Waialua Built – Bulldog Strong. Go Get ’em Boys. We are so proud of you!!!


  2. Dennis Sanchez October 28, 2016 5:31 am

    So Hawaii Prep World doesn’t remember the OIA Blue Division Championship that Waialua won in 1993?


  3. YNAE October 28, 2016 7:41 am

    THEY FORGOT ABOUT THE THREE DIV THEY HAD BEFORE THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE


  4. Kuulei October 28, 2016 7:48 am

    Waialua won OIA blue division 1992 champions


  5. PupulePaul October 28, 2016 12:06 pm

    It’s a very good question. The OIA website doesn’t recognize the 1980s’ Red, White and Blue Conference titles. The top teams from Blue moved up in the playoffs to compete against White and Red teams for the league championship.
    The league called these separate entities “Conferences” so there’s a LOT of gray area going on.
    My take: If the Blue Conference had its own playoffs and the OIA recognized it as a Division III type of championship, it would be listed on the website. But it never has been as far as I remember and I’m pretty old.
    Those Red, White and Blue Conferences were great. It worked perfectly, my opinion, for the teams the league had at the time. It would work now, too, I believe. But on the whole, if the OIA doesn’t recognize those Blue Conference first-place teams, I’m going with D-I and D-II champions as listed on oiasports.com. Mahalo.


  6. Paul Honda October 28, 2016 12:19 pm

    OK, I checked with my editors and we agreed that there’s a difference between league titles and divisional titles, so I added ‘league’ to this headline.
    Would be great, though, if the OIA would list the Red, White and Blue Conference standings from that era. Probably it would take a lot of research and the league office doesn’t have people around do do that. I’ll ask my colleagues if they have the info. If 1992 was the last time Waialua won the Blue, that’s 24 years ago and would be a cool story.


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