Blowouts are not fun for the losing team.
“They’re not fun for the winning team, either,” said one coach recently.
Blowouts are certainly not fun for the fans, either.
Something needs to be done about this, not just because HawaiiPrepWorld.com says so, but because the time has come for change.
Here are the lopsided Oahu football scores during conference games that we’re talking about:
>> Kamehameha 48, St. Francis 9
>> Punahou 52, Damien 6
>> Saint Louis 60, Pac-Five 13
>> Kahuku 51, Waipahu 10
>> Kahuku 41, McKinley 7
>> Waianae 42, McKinley 7
>> Farrington 35, Waipahu 0
There were other romps, but the scores above represent the same mismatches that happen year after year:
The following routs don’t happen every year, but are eye-openers to the fact that one team is clearly head and shoulders above the other.
>> Leilehua 50, Kailua 7
>> Castle 44, Waipahu 9
>> Kaiser 45, Waipahu 6
>> Farrington 52, Aiea 0
>> Campbell 44, Kailua 0
>> Mililani 49, Kailua 7
>> Kalani 54, Anuenue 6
>> Radford 41, Kaimuki 9
Every game on both lists was a win by at least 32 points, but most of these differentials are more than 35 points, the magic number that puts the in-game mercy rule into effect, and that allows the clock to keep on running to get the game over faster and everybody home a little earlier.
Close games are a rarity now and that’s because there are a bunch of teams who have jumped up into an elite class. There are a bunch of teams who are competitive, but can’t compete with the elite. And there are bunch of teams who are struggling to compete for various reasons.
The light switch on this issue is not hard to find. Talk to anyone, especially the coaches, and they’ll tell you they hate it.
And it’s not necessarily the administrators’ fault, either. They are locked into a schedule.
The easy (naïve) answer is for the ILH and the OIA to merge in football and create three divisions. Media members such as the Star-Advertiser’s Dave Reardon and Paul Honda have written about this sad song many times.
But what the media says doesn’t matter much, especially in the world of education. If it did, then college would be free by now, like it is in some enlightened countries.
But we will keep harping on it because it will be safer for the kids and so much better for the fans if people with different viewpoints can come together for the betterment of all. Come on now, did you expect Ranan Mamiya to stay at St. Francis and let his talent work to help a team that is waging an unwinnable war against Punahou, Saint Louis and Kamehameha?
Mamiya is a rare talent and he chose to go to Farrington, which has a chance to compete for a state title. Who wouldn’t do the same?
So, if you are listening ILH and OIA, it’s not just HawaiiPrepWorld.com that is clamoring for some real competition. We are the mouthpiece for the people who realize that the situation is out of control, and it looks like it’s going to get worse and not better if some leaders don’t step up.
The ILH is talking about separating its Division I and Division II teams. Pac-Five, for example, would no longer have to play three teams — Kamehameha, Punahou and Saint Louis — that are bigger and more physical, something the Wolfpack has done for many years with little to no success.
Bravo to the ILH for recognizing the mismatches and at least trying to do something about it as early as next season.
It’s a little trickier in the OIA. Yes, they’ve separated the D-I and D-II teams and for the most part have done it right. But certain teams — Mililani, Kahuku and Farrington among others — are moving on up in a big way, while some bottom feeders are heading in the opposite direction.
One possible way to get to the heart of the matter, if they want to at all, is create a task force made up of coaches, athletic directors and principals between the two leagues to at least discuss the possibility of merging.
There are plenty of sticking points. Recruiting for one. Private schools have always been able to attract athletes from the whole island, but that is changing and certain OIA schools have benefitted from island-wide school-to-school transfers.
Money is another issue. Who would get the gate receipts?
Surely, there are many other differences that would need to be ironed out, things that have never come completely to the forefront.
There was a rift between the two leagues, when five Honolulu public schools (Kaimuki, Farrington, McKinley, Roosevelt and Kalani) left the ILH to join what was called at the time the Rural Oahu Interscholastic Association for the 1970 season.
That rift, it is said in some circles, was never completely mended and maybe there are some hard feelings that remain on both sides of the coin.
But that was 45 years ago, folks. If hard feelings still exist, then they can be extinguished.
Back then, Farrington played big rival Punahou in league competition. Wow, what a concept?
If it was done then, it can be done now.
But there has to be the “want-to” factor by people in high places.