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Illegal Procedure: Hopes Dashed for Kohala Football Players

August 7, 2013, 4:59 PM HST
* Updated August 8, 8:55 AM
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Despite a last-minute effort to get Kohala High School’s football players on the field, Big Island principals failed to hear a motion Wednesday that would have allowed those players to take the field with Honoka`a High School for the upcoming season.

The entire body of principals met during a conference call today to discuss a number of league topics. Allowing Kohala’s players to play at Honoka`a was one of the main agenda items.

Big Island Interscholastic Federation President Shawn Suzuki, who serves as the Principal at Konawaena High School, said Wednesday that official procedures could not allow the principals to vote on the proposal.

“Basically, when we declare for sports, we have to do so before the end of the prior school year,” Suzuki said in a phone interview. “You have to declare for next year before the end of last year so that over the summer and with HIADA (Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association) and what not, schedules can be made.

“We have to do that prior to May/June, and this is August.”

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Principals from both schools formally submitted letters last week. Initial discussions between Kohala and Honoka`a began after Kohala Athletic Director Laurie Koustik announced that her school would not field a football team due to low numbers.

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Following Koustik’s July 25 announcement, her counterpart at Honoka`a, Keith Tolentino, reached out to her to present the idea of having Kohala’s players potentially suit up for the Dragons. Discussions advanced to both principals, Glenn Gray of Honoka`a and Janette Snelling of Kohala.

Because the proposal did not follow procedures, no vote was taken, but that didn’t stop discussion on the topic. Suzuki said that using this proposal to gather information on the matter could help everybody moving forward.

“We’re getting information pro or con,” said Suzuki. “Does that mean we are getting information to initiate it? No. Are we going ahead to get information so that we can block it? No. We just need to get information so that we can all make a decision for ourselves whether or not we support it.

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“There are varying opinions and there are varying reasons. What needs to happen is that we all have got to come together and we all need to voice those opinions into concerns so that we can make an informed decision.”

Honoka`a will still host a team for this season despite earlier concerns that low numbers could keep them from taking the field. Tolentino said Wednesday that since school got back in session, there have been anywhere between 28-32 players showing up to practice.

League football schedule revised

The BIIF revised its regular season schedule Wednesday. The league’s athletic directors, led by football coordinator Kalei Namohala, worked with league Executive Director Lyle Crozier to revise the regular season slate after Kohala and Ka`u High Schools decided not to field teams this season, leaving only seven regular season games for each team.

The format of the schedule remains the same. Every team will face each other during the season, regardless of division.

The change comes in the league’s postseason format. Initially, the top two teams in each division were slated to face off in a championship game, which would also determine the BIIF’s only berth into the First Hawaiian Bank / HHSAA State Football Championships.

Now, every team will play at least one game in the league’s revised playoff format. The top team in each division will host the fourth seed in one semifinal while each division’s runner-up will host the third best team. The winners of each semifinal will meet at the highest seeded team’s field for the title.

The entire schedule will be announced once the league releases it to the media.

There were also changes to the non-league schedule announced Wednesday. Kea`au and Kamehameha-Hawai`i announced that Saturday’s scheduled junior varsity game is now a controlled scrimmage. It will still get underway at 5:00 p.m., prior to the varsity contest between Kalaheo and Kamehameha-Hawai`i.

Kamehameha-Hawai`i also changed their varsity contest against King Kekaulike on Aug. 17 to a controlled scrimmage. Both junior varsity teams will play at 10:00 a.m. before the scrimmage, also held at KSH’s Pai`ea Stadium.

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