Football has become a pass-happy sport over the last decade, but that trend seems to have come to an end in 2017.
This season there have been an average of 20.7 points scored per team in the OIA playoffs, the lowest since an 18.8 mark in 2011. But points scored or points against doesn’t tell the story of defenses, the number of elite performances against it does. And there have not been many this year.
Kapolei’s Titus Mokiao-Atimalala is the only receiver this year to have a 100-yard game in the OIA Division I playoffs with two games remaining. Teammate Isaiah Ahana and Moanalua’s Ezra Grace are the only others to catch even 80 yards worth of passes in a game.
The last time an entire OIA playoff bracket was played out with only one receiver going over the century mark was 2001, when David Kaihenui had 105 for Kailua against Mililani in the semifinals. There were only six playoff games that year due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York.
The two years before this one was the first time in back-to-back years there have been more receivers to hit the century mark than running backs.
As can be expected, there has not been a quarterback throw for more than 250 yards in the postseason this year, the first time that has happened since 2007 when the big slingers were Andrew Manley, Rustin Funakoshi and Cody vonAppen.
This year has a lot of similarities to 2007, the last time defense dominated the way it has this year.
There have only been three running backs (Campbell’s Tyrese Tafai, Samson Tanuvasa of Farrington and Kahuku’s Enoch Nawahine) go over 100 yards in this year’s tournament, but that is better than a decade ago when only two (Waianae’s Ben McQuown and Apelu Sooalo of Farrington) did it.