Gridiron Preview: Interleague Play Highlights Final Preseason Week
Entering the final week of preseason matchups, several Big Island squads are making their first appearances on the gridiron.
Kealakehe’s debut this weekend may be the most surprising, considering that the Waveriders have regularly been able to schedule teams from across the state and into the mainland. Earlier this month, however, head coach Sam Papalii said that scheduling became difficult.
“It isn’t that we didn’t try to get some games, it’s just that it didn’t work out,” said Papalii during a radio interview. “On the other hand, we look at it as a positive. We’re a young team.”
Honoka`a will make their 2013 debut on Saturday when they visit Waiakea at Wong Stadium. It’s a preview to the following week’s rematch in Honoka`a to open the regular season. The Dragons were supposed to open the season last Saturday at Kea`au but were not ready to compete as players were still trickling in late during practice and workouts.
Konawaena (0-1) at Hilo (1-0) – 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wong Stadium
The number in Konawaena’s loss column appears because of a rough third quarter last Saturday in Maui against the Sabers. The Wildcats held a 24-7 lead at halftime but saw it evaporate thanks to turnovers and poor run defense. Maui High scored 27 unanswered third quarter points and went on to win by the score of 47-37.
On the bright side, Konawaena’s offensive attack didn’t miss a lot of steps with a new quarterback at the helm. Brandon Howes, a transfer from Kamehameha-Hawai`i, threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Two of his receivers, Chase Takaki and Cameron Howes, each accumulated over 100 yards receiving.
The Vikings defeated cross-town rival Waiakea 36-6 last week in a non-league game. Junior quarterback Donovan Kelley showed off his improvisational skills and elusive quickness by running for 118 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Hilo’s defense may be a bigger key in the game. The Vikings forced five Waiakea turnovers in last Friday’s victory.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i (1-0) at Iolani (1-1) – 2:00 p.m. Saturday
The Raiders dropped out of most Top 10 rankings in the state after falling to Leilehua 56-35 last week on statewide television. The glaring statistic wasn’t the number on the scoreboard, but the yards Iolani gave up. The defending Division II state champions allowed 307 rushing yards and 527 yards overall from the Mules.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i took part in a controlled scrimmage with King Kekaulike last week at Pai`ea Stadium. The game was originally scheduled to be a regular non-league game.
The game broadcast will be streamed at ScoringLive.com. Felipe Ojastro and Mark Veneri will describe the action.
Honoka`a (0-0) at Waiakea (0-2) – 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Wong Stadium
The Warriors have scored just six points in their first two games of the season. That’s despite a decent start for senior running back Devin Preston, who has rushed for 203 yards this season. That currently puts him second in the league behind Hawai`i Preparatory Academy’s Bobby Lum and sixth in the state.
Kealakehe (0-0) at Kamehameha-Kapalama (2-0) – 7:00 p.m. Saturday
The Warriors, ranked fourth in the KHON2 Cover 2 Power Poll, have been dominant under new head coach Doug Cosbie, a former Dallas Cowboys tight end.
Kamehameha-Kapalama has outscored their first two opponents by a combined score of 53-3. Their running game, led by Brandon Kahookele, has racked up 266 yards per outing. Kahookele currently tops all rushers in the state with 338 yards rushing.
Against Farrington last week, the Warriors allowed just 69 yards of total offense in a 38-3 victory. The defense has allowed on average only 18 yards per game.
Kaimi Wilson, a transfer from Konawaena, will lead the Kealakehe offense. He replaces Jordan Cristobal, who rushed and passed for over 1,700 yards combined in his senior season.