Gridiron Preview: HPA Looks to Improve on Impressive Opener
Week two of the high school football preseason schedule features a trio of games with different meanings.
For example, Hawai`i Preparatory Academy wants to prove that they are as good as their 34-0 win last week over Waiakea may have indicated. As for the Warriors, they are looking to rebound from that loss by facing their cross-town rivals, Hilo High.
The Konawaena Wildcats open their season this weekend at War Memorial Stadium against Maui High. The defending Division II league champion will feature new starters at quarterback and running back when they kickoff their title defense.
Waiakea Warriors (0-1) at Hilo Vikings (0-0) – 7:30 p.m. Friday
Waiakea, under rookie head coach Moku Rita, fumbled the ball 13 times last week in wet and windy Waimea. The Warriors’ defense couldn’t save the day, allowing 185 yards on the ground.
Hilo starts Donovan Kelley in its season opener at quarterback. The athletic and versatile junior started last season under center for several games while Drew Kell was injured. Kell has since transferred to a high school in Oregon and Kelley, who has also spent time at slot receiver and running back, will once again be given the keys to the Vikings’ offense.
Waimea Menehune (1-0) at Hawai`i Preparatory Academy Ka Makani – 2:00 p.m. Saturday
Hawai`i Prep’s shutout victory over Waiakea earned them a vote in the most recent Star-Advertiser Top 10 poll. It also reminded football fans about the talent that the team returns.
Senior running back Bobby Lum rushed for 164 yards and scored two touchdowns. Junior quarterback Koa Ellis tossed three first half touchdown passes, each to a different receiver.
Their biggest test will be stopping the running game of the Menehune. The Kauai Interscholastic Federation squad racked up 450 yards on the ground last week, accounting for all of their offense, in a 42-0 home victory over Anuenue. Destin Miguel picked up 270 of those yards and rushed for three touchdowns.
Konawaena Wildcats (0-0) at Maui Sabers (1-0) – 7:00 p.m. Saturday (ESPN550.com and ESPNHawaii.com)
Both teams played last year at Konawaena’s Julian R. Yates Field in a preseason battle. The game was forfeited because the Wildcats used an ineligible player.
Konawaena opens this season with a new quarterback. Last year’s starter, Li`i Karratti, transferred to Kaiser High School on Oahu. That opens the door for Brandon Howes, who transferred over from Kamehameha-Hawai`i. Howes started several games for the Warriors last season.
The Sabers opened the season with a 51-0 victory over a young Saint Francis squad. Mario Fernandez ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns to carry an offense that did all of its work on the ground.