When a 91-8 score is misleading

A month or so ago, Konawaena dominated Kohala in a 76-0 win.

A few weeks later, with injuries mounting and morale at a low — they didn’t have enough for an 11-on-11 workout — Kohala closed shop for the season, forfeiting the rest of their games.

Now, after a 91-8 win by Konawaena against Ka‘u, questions are going to surface again. Are the Wildcats running the score up? Do they belong in Division II?


Frankly, they’re normal questions. But as we’ve seen in the past, runaway scores have more to do with struggling, young programs than a “pile-it-on” scenario.

>> 1984, Konawaena 86, Pahoa 0 — Pahoa throws on almost every down and Konawaena runs back a bunch of picks. The clock stops on every incomplete pass. No mercy rule in place back then.

>> 2012, Konawaena 76, Kohala 0 — Kohala throws on most plays in a 76-0 loss to Konawaena. Konawaena has 19 plays from scrimmage total, 387 total yards.

This time, it was 70-8 at the half. Konawaena, a prolific passing team, had just 12 attempts. Kahoali‘i Karratti completed nine of them and seven were touchdowns. Two starters were held out of the game, and linebacker Mike Rabara saw limited action. Konawaena JV players played, and every Wildcat got playing time.

In other words, Friday night’s score could have been … worse.

At this point, I’m convinced that Kohala and Ka’u should be in Division III or 8-man football, period. Pop Warner comes and goes in those districts. Consistent adult leadership in the feeder programs isn’t always there, as was the case in the 1990s when Anthony Manantan was at Kohala Chargers Pop Warner, then moved up with his players to the high school — and the Cowboys were very competitive. (Jacob Hook at quarterback, anyone? He was solid.)

Here’s some great input from former Hawaii Prep lineman Derrick Hanano, now a Pop Warner coach in Kona.

“Since we bought all new equipment this year, most of our old (but still good) equipment went to Ka‘u Pop Warner and the rest went to Kohala. Equipment is usually the first hurdle. You should see Kohala and Kau travel! They came to Kona last week with more fans than I’ve seen at a Pop Warner game in a while. Excited fans at that! I think things are looking up for both Pop Warner programs.

“What helps too is not getting your (okole) handed to you. Before the game, I gave all coaches (in Mitey Mite and Pee Wee) specific directions to not run up the score. I didn’t want these kids going back to Kohala with no will to go back to practice on Tuesday. Hopefully the awesome support from their fans keeps them excited to play, thus keeping the program going. Ultimately in football, no one wants to see a 91-8 score.”


Derrick was a superb lineman who played for the iconic Gordon Bryson at HPA, then went on to play college football before returning home. He’s a big part of the solution as a coach and organizer. I’ve seen the great results that coaches like him bring to a community. I’ve also seen the other side, places where population dwindles in a stagnant economy. Where the cycle of players becoming coaches dies out.

On Oahu, I’ve seen a few lazy communities. I also see a few strong communities, not necessarily rich in material resources, but blessed with community pride and leadership. As Derrick noted, Ka‘u and Kohala can get it done.

Long term, though, I wonder if 11-man football is a good fit for those small communities unless leadership is constant and consistent. Eventually, Division III would be ideal. (Bob Wagner may have retired, but his vision lives on.) Better yet, 8-man football. The MIL has four 8-man teams and ILH’s small schools on the west side are looking into it.

Derrick’s perspective is a bit surprising, given the reluctance of some Big Island coaches, players and fans to try a different format.

“I’d go with 8-man. A few guys that I played with in Oregon came from 8-man programs,” he said.

In the MIL, two seasons of exhibition play have led to this fall, the first sanctioned season of league championship play in 8-man football. Tiny Seabury Hall, which is in first place, has 36 on the roster. Molokai has nearly 40. Even Hana, one of the state’s smallest high schools, has 25 players.

An 8-man league in the BIIF, even under ideal conditions, would need time to develop, but not as much as the MIL. Seabury Hall, Hana and Molokai had to start from scratch. Kohala, which has a school van ready to be used for traveling — and would save the athletic program on $360 per game for bus rentals — and Ka‘u would need more 8-man partners to get started.

Fans point to Makua Lani, Pahoa, Christian Liberty and Laupahoehoe as schools that might support 8-man teams. It’s a long shot, but if the MIL, ILH and BIIF have 8-man football leagues, the HHSAA could sanction it as a state championship sport.

But is the will there?


Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser

 

COMMENTS

  1. Greg Rush October 15, 2012 10:32 am

    If Ka’u had run the ball a bit, that would have helped keep the score down. But in spite of what you were told, Kona pulled their first unit with 7 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Karratti threw a touchdown pass in the 2nd half. Kona went for 2 after they missed a 1 pt kick and they went for it on 4th down when they were up by 50. This was a payback event.


  2. pupulepaul October 15, 2012 12:36 pm

    Thanks for your input, Coach. What do you mean by “payback event”? 


  3. Greg Rush October 15, 2012 1:09 pm

    Don’t want to go there, but it’s not hard to read between the lines if you look at the ‘official’ won-loss records.


  4. Paul Honda October 16, 2012 11:25 am

    I appreciate your input, Coach Greg, but can you be more specific? Was this payback toward Ka‘u for anything? Please be clear. I want people who understand what both teams do and chime in with clear explanations of their beliefs. In other words, get really direct about why you believe this was or was not an example of bad sportsmanship.

    The score was 70-8 at the half. I still think it could’ve been much worse.


  5. Cindy K PuaSantiago October 16, 2012 1:26 pm

    It’s easy for you to call it that, “PAY BACK” event when you have no idea what your talking about-to Greg Rush! Were you there at each game to see both sides? No just speculations from headlines! It’s people like you that come up with your notions that our Konawaena boys are beating down the boys of Kohala and Ka’u! We DO NOT encourage that! They show a lot of sportsmanship, encouragement and RESPECT towards Kohala and KA’U! They do not brag about their wins and rub it in their noses! Their out on that field encouraging those boys of KOHALA & KA’U to not give up…keep playing the best they can..WIN or LOSE! Regardless of the wins, Kohala and Ka’u are dear friends and families. Many of us have gone to the HPA and Kohala game to support Kohala….So don’t down play our boys. Some of them are playing cousins’ on the Kohala and Ka’u team and we hold no animosity to either. But you know what, it’s such fighting words that fuels our Konawaena Wildcats energy to prove people like yourself how wrong you are! So bring it on! Our team goes thru a lot of shots to the ribs and have always risen above all of your adversity and will do so again!


  6. pupulepaul October 17, 2012 2:25 am

    You think the ‘payback’ has to do with the forfeitures? 


  7. pupulepaul October 17, 2012 2:25 am

    Hi Cindy. Any relation to Shannon Pua? I covered his games back in the 1990s when he was the QB for Konawaena. Just wondering. 


  8. Cindy K PuaSantiago October 17, 2012 8:33 pm

    It’s easy for you to call it that, “PAY BACK” event when you have no idea what your talking about-to Greg Rush! Were you there at each game to see both sides? No just speculations from headlines! It’s people like you that come up with your notions that our Konawaena boys are beating down the boys of Kohala and Ka’u! We DO NOT encourage that! They show a lot of sportsmanship, encouragement and RESPECT towards Kohala and KA’U! They do not brag about their wins and rub it in their noses! Their out on that field encouraging those boys of KOHALA & KA’U to not give up…keep playing the best they can..WIN or LOSE! Regardless of the wins, Kohala and Ka’u are dear friends and families. Many of us have gone to the HPA and Kohala game to support Kohala….So don’t down play our boys. Some of them are playing cousins’ on the Kohala and Ka’u team and we hold no animosity to either. But you know what, it’s such fighting words that fuels our Konawaena Wildcats energy to prove people like yourself how wrong you are! So bring it on! Our team goes thru a lot of shots to the ribs and have always risen above all of your adversity and will do so again!


  9. Cindy K PuaSantiago October 17, 2012 8:34 pm

    Yeah….Cuzin’s.


  10. Cindy K PuaSantiago October 17, 2012 8:40 pm

    Yeah don’t go there because you know nothing….Stop faulting these boys for your short comings because these boys are fighting hard to earn their spots despite all the adversities…and you are no different! You obviously have no respect, humility, dignity or class and SPORTSMANSHIP to know better that you have to find your manhood by slandering these hard working boys who really don’t give a damn about what you or others have to say…becaucse they will continue to work hard and play the game to the best of their ability.


  11. Cindy K PuaSantiago October 17, 2012 8:48 pm

    No…there is “NO PAYBACK” whatsoever, pupulepaul! If you were there at the games, both Kohala & Ka’u then you would see for yourself the awesome sportsmanship that our players show…dude why would our boys help up the kohala and Ka’u players or say encouraging words to not give up and keep playing…or our Konawaena parents trying to cheer on Kohala and Ka’u…On top of that I have family and friends on both teams and have been and encourage them regardless….so like I said this GREG RUSH whoever knows nothing….


  12. Cindy K PuaSantiago October 17, 2012 8:52 pm

    Really sorry missed that covering his games, but yes we are cousins’.


  13. Cindy K PuaSantiago October 18, 2012 6:56 am

    Here you go from one of Konawaeana boys, Greg Rush…..
    Give Aloha,
    Speak Aloha,
    Teach Aloha,
    Be Aloha,
    Show Aloha,
    Live ALOHA !…
    MOVING FOWARD !
    SO….. ALOHA !
    Now does that sound like “PAYBACK” event as you call it?!!!!!!!!


  14. Guest October 20, 2012 2:36 pm

    CINDDDDY 🙂 …… if you think you guys football team is soooo good. just think again. you guys ARE in “DIVIDION II” !!!!!! So in other words you guys are junk. and to add to that you guys can run up scores like for instance 91-8, 76-0, & 86-0 ….. but when it comes to playing Iolani you guys cant do NOTEN! soo just stop! if you think you guys can play ball i think you guys should step it up and MOVE UP into the red division!!! then we can see how good you guys are!!! i just KNOW that if you played one of the weaker red division teams you guys would get a little taste of your OWN medecine!


  15. Guest October 20, 2012 2:44 pm

    SOO JUST CAUSE KONA FORFEITED does that mean there out of playoffs?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!


  16. pupulepaul October 21, 2012 9:11 am

    Konawaena forfeited three of its early-season games. Only one was in BIIF D-II play, so the Wildcats still won the first round. They have a spot in the BIIF D-II title game. 


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