Saturday football preview

A lighter schedule tonight in prep football, but no less intriguing. Here’s a look at the matchups.

No. 2 Kahuku vs. No. 3 Punahou, Aloha Stadium
The Red Raiders were relatively unchallenged in last week’s 49-14 win over Kealakehe. With “only” 64 players, coach Reggie Torres may not be as free to test his personnel as he likes to do in nonconference games.
The starters might just play extended minutes, which would be a godsend for Red Raider fans who will clamor for a win tonight. Punahou has not played a game yet and is in laboratory mode of sorts with several new starters on both sides of the ball.
The Buffanblu combination of run-and-shoot and offset-I formations may go through modifications. New quarterback Kaiana Eldredge is more familiar with option plays and another passer, Liloa Travis, is a 240-pound gunner.

No. 4 Leilehua at No. 10 Mililani
This is one heck of an OIA Red West opener, pairing arch rivals. The Mules escaped with a narrow win over Radford last week, but it was a good test for a revamped squad. Despite high expectations, it will take time for Leilehua’s complex offensive sets to develop, particularly with new personnel.
Quarterback Andrew Manley remains a true playmaker, but Mililani has an ace of its own in Dalaunte “Taz” Stevenson. Coach Darnell Arceneaux loves mobile defenders and has one at safety now in Stevenson, who will still see spot duty at running back and wide receiver.

Pac-Five vs. McKinley, Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium
The Wolfpack are smokin’ hot after P.J. Minaya’s seven-touchdown passing performance against Kaimuki a week ago. Receiver Darin Kamealoha, who caught four of those scoring strikes, is one of the top playmakers in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu.

Kalani at Aiea
The Falcons held back several sophomores last year to let them develop at the JV level, a wise decision that should yield some success down the road. For now, though, the Falcons are still maturing and developing — those sophs are still learning now as juniors at the varsity level. Aiea is coming off a 24-3 win at Roosevelt.

Anuenue at Radford
The Rams aren’t deep, but have talent and size at key positions. Playing at home, in comfy John Velasco Stadium, will only help. The key players in last year’s 27-12 win over Na Koa — Mosiah Manuma and Shawn Putman-Curry — have graduated. Anuenue may have its best team since 2007. Na Koa went to Kamehameha-Maui and won 26-20 last week.

King Kekaulike at Kealakehe
Na Alii lost 34-7 to Kalaheo last week, and Kealakehe returns from a 49-14 loss to Kahuku. The Waveriders have the biggest enrollment in the BIIF, as well as a wealth of feeder programs in Kona, but lost some outstanding talent. Jordan Ursua graduated, and his talented younger brother, John, moved to the mainland.

Konawaena at Hilo
This cross-divisional game pits a D-II program with some renewed success against a D-I team in coaching transition. Konawaena has reached new heights in D-II in recent years, only to suffer the embarrassment of jersey theft orchestrated by one of its players.

Most of the jerseys have been returned, but overcoming that stigma is a big test for this year’s team. The Wildcats will probably fare well; Konawaena’s proud tradition goes back decades. One glitch shouldn’t alter the legacy of the program’s success under Aaron Nagata, and prior to him, Todd Brown.

Damien at Roosevelt
The Monarchs hit the field for their first game under first-year head coach Punahou Aina. Roosevelt, under new coach Pat Silva, fell to Aiea last week. Damien is in new uniforms this fall, so posh Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium is as good a place as any to unveil the cool threads.

Cancelled games
Word of Life vs. Farrington
Honokaa vs. Trojans (team disbanded)


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