Gridiron Preview: Ground Attack Takes Center Stage
Some of the top running backs in the state, statistically speaking, will be highlighted during the second week of Big Island Interscholastic Federation football play.
It’s amazing that rushing attacks have stayed in the spotlight, considering the recent focus in past years to spread offenses and heavy doses of a passing game.
While spread offenses have remained, the attention has shifted back to establishing a running game at all levels through pistol formations and read-option style strategy. The success teams have had in running the football can also be credited to teams running without a huddle to keep defenses from substituting, allowing physical running backs to quickly wear down the other team.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i (1-2 overall, 0-1 BIIF) at Waiakea (2-2 overall, 1-0 BIIF) – 7:30 p.m. Friday
Two of the island’s top running backs will be showcased at Wong Stadium. Waiakea’s Devin Preston ranks second among the state’s Division I schools with 463 rushing yards, trailing Mililani sophomore Vavae Malepeai by just 22 yards.
Both of Waiakea’s wins have come in consecutive weeks against Honoka`a. Preston accounted for a large majority of his team’s 15 points with a pair of touchdown runs.
Despite losing 37-3 against Konawaena last week, Kamehameha-Hawai`i stayed true to the ground game and lead running back Ina Teofilo. The senior sits fourth among all Division II teams with 370 rushing yards. He ran for a season high 180 on 31 carries in last Friday’s loss.
Honoka`a (0-2, 0-1) at Konawaena (2-1, 1-0) – 7:00 p.m. Friday
Konawaena’s Brandon Howes is second in the state in passing with 1,013 yards. Last week’s blowout win was actually one of Howes’ worst performances statistically. He threw a pair of picks and completed only nine passes for 235 yards.
Hawai`i Preparatory Academy (2-1, 0-1) at Kealakehe (1-1, 1-0) – 7:00 p.m. Saturday, ESPNHawaii.com
Ka Makani running back Bobby Lum was silenced for the first time this season in HPA’s home loss against Hilo. The senior running back rushed for just 44 yards on 23 carries as his team fell 18-10.
Bigger, however, was the three interceptions thrown by quarterback Koa Ellis. He may be key if Kealakehe, who boasts a physical defensive line, can stop Lum at home.
The Waveriders won 21-12 at Kea`au to open the regular season, but head coach Sam Papalii knows that his young team has a lot of work to do to get towards the postseason.
“It just confirmed that we have a young team with 18 new starters,” said Papalii on Thursday. “We’ve got a ways to go to get where we need to be and our goal is to peak by the time we hit the playoffs.”
Kea`au (0-1, 0-1) at Hilo (2-1, 1-0) – 7:30 p.m. Saturday
The Vikings trotted out sophomore quarterback Sione Atuekaho, last year’s junior varsity quarterback, on Saturday in their 18-10 win. He went 4-for-9 for 67 yards and threw a touchdown and an interception in the win.
Tristan Spikes also had a big day against HPA last week. Spikes ran for 157 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. His performance came a week after he returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Konawaena in his season debut.