BIIF FB Saturday Preview: 8-Man Officially Makes its Debut
The Maui Interscholastic League laid the groundwork for 8-man football in Hawai`i, and the Big Island Interscholastic Federation is building on that foundation with its first regular season 8-man game Saturday.
Technically, Ka`u High School started building on that foundation last season when it kept its football program alive, despite low numbers that made 11-man football impossible. The Trojans consider themselves pioneers, and its only right that they play in the first BIIF-sanctioned 8-man game against Kohala Saturday at Pahala Ballpark. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Kohala (0-1), like Ka`u last year, could not field an 11-man football team last season, but unlike its weekend opponent, could not put an 8-man team together to play Ka`u or one of the many Maui schools, so the Cowboys took the 2013 season off. With the Trojans serving as the example, not just on the field but also in the community to get people to buy in to the game, Kohala decided to jump on board.
Pahoa joins them this season, approximately 15 years after dropping its 11-man football program. The Daggers face Hilo’s junior varsity squad in an 8-man football game at Wong Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
All three 8-man schools will face several junior varsity teams from other schools throughout the season. BIIF rules state that only games between Ka`u, Kohala, and Pahoa will count toward the league standings.
Hawai`i Preparatory Academy Ka Makani (1-1) at Hilo Vikings (1-0) – 7:00 p.m. at Wong Stadium
This game might not stand out to many as a game to watch, but any game featuring the gritty Ka Makani is immediately one to watch.
HPA’s strategy will be to pound the football on the ground and keep the clock moving against a tough Hilo defense. The line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball will be what determines the game. Ka Makani have always been known to be tough on the line, but Hilo’s size and depth may be a big challenge for its Division II counterpart.
Honoka`a Dragons (0-0) at Kealakehe Waveriders (0-1) – 7:00 p.m.
It wasn’t a guarantee that the Dragons would have an 11-man football team this season. Numbers were low last season, and the idea of joining Ka`u, Kohala, and Pahoa was on the table.
That all changed when 27 returning players showed up early and numbers remained high. The Dragons even put together a junior varsity program for this year.
The Waveriders have had two weeks to recover from its road loss at Maui High School. On the positive side, Kealakehe had an early lead on the Sabers, who have been gaining statewide attention in several polls. On the other hand, Maui kept a considerable distance from its opponent and picked up a fairly easy win.