Kohala High Forfeits Remainder of Football Season
The Big Island Interscholastic Federation (BIIF) announced Monday night that Kohala High School has forfeited the rest of the football season.
Kohala Athletic Director Laurie Koustik confirmed to Big Island Now Tuesday that health and safety due to the amount of players eligible to play were issues that forced their hand to end the season early. She said that in last week’s game against Honoka`a, the Cowboys had only suited up 22 players due to season-ending injuries and other factors.
Kohala waited until the final day possible to declare themselves able to play this season because of numbers. Koustik said that the school targeted having 30 players to feel comfortable enough to let the team play.
The issue of numbers for Kohala’s football program has been an ongoing issue for several years. Some people point to the lack of a Pop Warner football program in the area. That is reportedly set to change. Koustik described competition with other sports in the spring season when most schools are having spring drills as another factor.
“It’s hard. When everybody has spring ball, they can kinda get a good indication. Our kids, because we’re so small, those kids are all in other sports, explained Koustik.” They can’t commit to a sport that’s going to happen next year when they’re involved in a sport that’s happening now.”
With only five seniors on the last released roster out of the 22 players remaining on the squad, there is a foundation for the future if younger players are willing to join the team, and Koustik is optimistic, yet cautious, about having football next year at Kohala.
With the Cowboys struggling to field an 11-man football team, the next question that remains is whether the school would be interested in pursuing eight-man football. The Maui Interscholastic League currently has several schools who play the sanctioned eight-man game.
“As far as discussion purposes are involved, it’s not something that we would completely rule out,” says Koustik. “Our actual concern would be how many actual teams here on the island would be participating. If it’s basically only us and Ka`u, do you play Ka`u eight times during the season during eight-man? Are there other schools that would be willing to look into it? My thought process is to definitely look into that and to see if it would be even reasonable for us to do it.”
By league rule, Kohala must pay an undisclosed fine to each school that they forfeited games with, regardless of whether was supposed to be played at home or on the road.
Kohala was slated to play Ka`u this weekend. This season, they played three games against Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Konawaena, and Honoka`a, and were outscored by a combined total of 180-8.