Gridiron Preview: Regular Season Kickoff
The Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s regular season football schedule kicks off this weekend with all eight teams in action together for the first time.
For the first time in many years, both divisions may see legitimate challenges for its respective titles. Division I powerhouse Kealakehe only took the field once in the three-week preseason schedule, losing last Saturday to fourth-ranked Kamehameha-Kapalama 34-0.
The Waveriders’ main challenge is expected to come from Hilo High School. The Vikings, however, lost for the first time this season, 38-24, to Division II foe Konawaena.
Division II is a crowded race at the top. The Wildcats open their defense of last year’s league title with a matchup against Kamehameha-Hawai`i, who lost to Iolani 36-0 last week at Eddie Hamada Field. The Warriors, however, did not allow a point in the second half and was able to establish a ground game with Ina Teofilo despite the lopsided score.
Don’t forget about Hawai`i Preparatory Academy. The Waimea private school is the only one on the island without a loss, beating Waiakea and Waimea in the first two weeks of the non-league campaign. Ka Makani also has the island’s second-leading rusher in senior Bobby Lum entering regular season play.
Konawaena (1-1) at Kamehameha-Hawai`i (1-1) – 7:30 p.m. Friday, ESPNHawaii.com broadcast.
Brandon Howes, a transfer from KS-Hawai`i, is the BIIF’s top passer through three weeks. He has completed 39 of 77 passes for 778 yards and six touchdowns. He also leads the team with 100 rushing yards.
Howes’ numbers show that the offense hasn’t missed much of a beat from last season, despite turnaround at all skill positions. A familiar face, senior wide receiver Chase Takaki, has emerged as Howes’ top target. Takaki, who also transferred from KS-Hawai`i several years ago, has caught 19 of Howes’ passes for 222 yards, two of them for scores.
Ina Teofilo picked up his first 100-yard rushing day of the season last week when he carried the ball 19 times, accumulating 118 rushing yards. The Warriors did rush for 177 yards in the losing effort against defending state champion Iolani.
Waiakea (1-2) at Honoka`a (0-1) – 7:00 p.m. Friday
Both teams meet six days after last Saturday’s contest, won by Waiakea at Wong Stadium. Final score was 39-15.
The Warriors’ rushing attack, led by Devin Preston, has led the team through an inconsistent passing game. Preston’s 345 rushing yards puts him at the top of the BIIF rushing category and third in the state, 50 yards behind KS-Kapalama’s Brandon Kahookele.
Hilo (1-1) at Hawai`i Preparatory Academy (2-0) – 2:00 p.m. Saturday
The Vikings struggled to throw the football anywhere around the field last week in a loss to Konawaena. According to Hilo stats submitted to Big Island Now, quarterback Donovan Kelley completed only one pass on the evening.
A bright spot, however, has been Hilo’s special teams play. The Vikings have returned a kickoff for a touchdown in each of the first two games of the year. Tristan Spikes was the latest to do it, taking a third quarter kickoff 95 yards to paydirt.
Kealakehe (0-1) at Kea`au (0-0) – 4:30 p.m. Saturday
The Cougars take the field for the first time this season. That wasn’t the original plan, however.
Kea`au was scheduled to face Honoka`a in week two of the preseason schedule but was forced to change the game to a controlled scrimmage because of the Dragons’ numbers issues.
It’s also uncharacteristic for Kealakehe to open the regular season with only one game under its belt. In their road loss last week to KS-Kapalama, the Waveriders were only able to net 80 yards of total offense. They were in negative numbers on the ground, thanks in large part to six quarterback sacks on Kaimi Wilson.
Wilson, a transfer from Konawaena, was 7-for-12 last week for 97 yards.