BIIF FB Weekend Preview: HPA, Waiakea Look for Strong Rebound
Every week, we will dissect every Big Island football game, giving you the key players and stories before the games kick off.
There may not be a lot happening this weekend in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation scene, but don’t tell that to Hawai`i Preparatory Academy and Waiakea High.
Both schools, who lost last weekend to open the season, have a lot to work on in Saturday’s preseason matchup at Wong Stadium.
HPA (0-1) lost a heart breaker to Waimea last Saturday after leading with under a minute left in the game. Waimea quarterback Patrick Keamoai-Strickland found Neno Costales for a nine-yard touchdown connection, giving the Menehunes a 26-21 lead. Waimea’s defense sealed the game when Caleb Ephan picked off HPA quarterback Koa Ellis Jr. with :13 left on the clock.
Waiakea (0-1), on the other hand, was beaten soundly by cross-town rival Hilo in a home game at Wong Stadium. The Warriors’ defense gave up 452 yards of total offense, 250 on the ground, in their 49-18 loss.
Waiakea Head Coach Moku Pita is still trying to figure out his team’s plan at quarterback and will use Saturday’s game help make a decision on what to do.
“We’ve got our quarterbacks back,” said Pita. “We’re going to go with Bryce (Felipe) and Isaiah Mau`ulu and see how they work out. We played everybody from first to third string this past weekend to see where we’re at, so we’ll see more of the first string and second string in there this game.”
Pita was happy with his team’s running game, despite the lopsided score. “My running backs did pretty good, all of them. They had some nice long runs. Our lineman did very good.”
Waiakea’s defense is under Pita’s magnifying glass, however, after allowing 49 points. “We had a lot missed tackles last week…Our defense has to work. We only had Zac Correa returning (as a starter) from last year, but I think we can fix it before our season opener.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
8-Man Football: Kamehameha-Hawai`i (Junior Varsity) vs. Kohala – Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
It may not count against the league standings, but Kohala’s 8-man football game against Kamehameha-Hawai`i is important on several fronts.
The success of 8-man football on the island won’t be relegated to the amount of teams that play it regularly, but the willingness of other schools to use their junior varsity programs to give these smaller programs extra games.
Three other schools (Konawaena, Waiakea, and Hilo) will temporarily turn its junior varsity team into an 8-man squad against regulars Pahoa, Kohala, and Ka`u this year. Kamehameha-Hawai`i is the only one that will do it twice, with another game scheduled for Fri., Sept. 26 at Ka`u.
Kealakehe was scheduled to do the same Friday at home against Ka`u, but the Trojans announced earlier this week that they had to pull out of the game because of low numbers.
BIIF Executive Director Lyle Crozier clarified earlier this week that games against JV schools will not count against the league’s 8-man standings.
For Kohala, Saturday’s contest marks the beginning of a new football chapter for the school. Last year, the Cowboys had to drop out of the season because of poor turnout. Now, the school hopes to model the success in Ka`u this season to keep the football team on the field and avoid costly forfeits.