Gridiron Preview: Rivalry Weekend Caps Off Regular Season
College football and college basketball both dedicate at least a week of its seasons to pushing and promoting rivalry games across each sport.
The Big Island Interscholastic Federation did the same thing when they re-issued its 2013 football schedule following the losses of Ka`u and Kohala to low numbers.
Unlike previous years, every team plays each other once during the season, regardless of division. That meant that rivalry games that are normally played in the preseason, like the Kipimana Cup between Kea`au and Kamehameha-Hawai`i, now have a place in the BIIF schedule.
It also meant that rivalries that were lost because of divisional play were renewed. Kealakehe and Konawaena have not played for several years, despite opportunities to schedule each other in the non-league portion of the schedule. The hearsay from parents and supporters about why the teams haven’t played, as well as the proximity between campuses and talent level of both teams, are expected to create a big-game atmosphere at Kealakehe’s Waverider Stadium, despite how meaningless the game actually is.
Truth be told, none of the games this week have any significance in the league’s standings. All seeds have been accounted for and the league’s postseason schedule, minus the championship games, have been set. All that’s at stake now is regional pride.
Kea`au (1-5 overall, 1-5 BIIF) at Kamehameha-Hawai`i (4-4 overall, 3-3 BIIF) – 7:30 p.m. Friday
Kea`au earned its first victory of the season last Saturday under sloppy conditions against Honoka`a. The Cougars look to build momentum toward next Friday’s Division I semifinal against top-seeded Hilo.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i started the scoring against Hawai`i Preparatory Academy last Friday in a battle for the second seed in Division II with a field goal inside the game’s first six minutes. From there, Ka Makani went on a 35-7 run over the rest of the half and cruised to a 41-24 win.
In the loss, quarterback Micah Kanehailua completed the longest pass in the league this season, a 97-yard touchdown completion to Kamuela Kawamoto. Kanehailua threw for 177 yards and three touchdowns in the loss.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i has won both previous installments of the Kipimana Cup, which was created in 2011 by W.H. Shipman, Ltd. with both schools. This year, each school’s booster club will receive $500 from Shipman.
Konawaena (6-2, 5-1) at Kealakehe (3-4, 3-3) – 7:30 p.m. Friday, ESPNHawaii.com
The Wildcats were just over two minutes away from celebrating their seventh victory and remaining unbeaten in league competition. That changed when a bad handoff turned into a defensive touchdown for Hilo. The Vikings won the game 21-16.
The Wildcats were held to a season low 16 points last week, a far cry from the 35.1 points per game the team averages in its eight contests. Konawaena was also held to -4 rushing yards.
The Waveriders enter Friday’s homecoming game on its best run of the season. Kealakehe has won two of its last three games and in its only loss in that stretch, the defense allowed just six points to Division I top seed Hilo in a 6-3 loss.
Honoka`a (0-6, 0-6) at Hawai`i Preparatory Academy (6-2, 4-2) – 2:00 p.m. Saturday
The BIIF’s first 1,000 yard rusher on the season is Ka Makani’s Bobby Lum. The workhorse running back gained 207 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns last Friday in HPA’s victory over Kamehameha-Hawai`i. Lum has 1,153 rushing yards on the season, leading the entire state.
Honoka`a scored just six points against Kea`au last week in a losing effort. The Dragons have scored in only two games this season with the last score coming against Waiakea on Aug. 24.
Hilo (7-1, 6-0) at Waiakea (2-6, 2-4) – 7:30 p.m. Saturday
The Vikings defeated Waiakea 36-6 in a non-league matchup on Aug. 16. The Warriors turned the ball over five times and were held scoreless until the fourth quarter.
For all of the accolades the Hilo defense has received this season for its work stopping running backs like HPA’s Lum, one man the Vikings haven’t contained is Waiakea power rusher Devin Preston. The senior ran for 120 yards on Hilo’s defense in the non-league game and is closing in on the century mark for the season. Preston is the leading rusher among Division I runners in the state.