BIIF FB Friday Preview: Division II Title Hopefuls Meet in Kealakekua
Every week, we will dissect every Big Island football game, giving you the key players and stories before the games kick off.
A schedule maker’s job is never easy.
In a perfect world, you’d like to save the best for last, allowing for a proper build-up to a big game. In the Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s crowded Division II race, however, there’s no true feature game to save for the end of the season.
That’s what makes Friday’s matchup between Kamehameha-Hawai`i and Konawaena that much more exciting. Could it be a preview of the league’s Division II championship game? Maybe, but Hawai`i Preparatory Academy certainly deserves to have a say, and will get its chances throughout the season.
No one around the league would deny, however, that Kamehameha-Hawai`i is in the running for the league title. Despite a 5-5 mark last season, the Warriors return quarterback Micah Kanehailua, who threw for over 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns. He participated in the Manning Passing Academy over the summer, and Warriors’ fans hope that will help him to unlock Head Coach Dan Lyons’ fast-paced offense, which averaged a meager 19 points per game last year.
Defensively, the Warriors will rely heavily on All-BIIF defensive lineman Kullen “Pono” Davis and Makani Pau. Both seniors combined for 22 tackles and three sacks last season. Lyons is also looking for leadership from senior defensive back Caleb Baptiste, who tallied 21 tackles and three interceptions in his junior year.
On the other side, Konawaena’s offense didn’t show a lot in its win against Kauai two weeks ago. Junior Cameron Howes and senior Shelton Grace split time at quarterback, and ironically, the two hooked up, Grace on the receiving end, for a game sealing touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Howes is expected to take the majority of snaps in Friday night’s game, and running back Bubba Ellis-Noa, who split time between the half back and slot positions against the Red Raiders, should see a heavier influence in the Wildcats’ offensive attack.
Kickoff at Kealakekua’s Julian Yates Field is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The game can be heard online at ESPNHawaii.com
Kea`au (0-1) at Waiakea (0-2) – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Warriors, under second year head coach Moku Pita, continue to struggle to find a rhythm on offense, especially in the passing game. Waiakea turned the ball over five times against Hawai`i Preparatory Academy last weekend, three of them by interceptions. Pita’s two-quarterback rotation managed just 79 yards passing.
Kea`au had last week off after falling to St. Francis by the final score of 33-14 on Aug. 16.
***Editor’s note: A preview of Saturday’s games will appear in a separate story on Saturday morning.***