Prep Football Titles Up For Grabs At League’s Mid-season
As the 2013 prep football season approaches the midway point, every game is like a playoff game. A preview follows of this weekend’s matchups involving Division I Leilehua and Waialua, which competes in DII. (Mililani has the week off.)
Kapolei at Leilehua – 7:30 p.m. Friday
This is the final home game for Leilehua, as it will finish up with three straight on the road. Its offense has been a big reason for its early season success, as the Mules averaged 424 yards per game in their first three outings, including wins over defending Division II state champion Iolani, Red West rival Campbell and Vincent Massey High of Canada.
Balanced is the word that best describes the offense to date, with the Mules averaging 234 yards via the airwaves and another 190 per outing on the ground. Quarterbacks Mack Eberhardt and Justin Jenks also have been solid in decision-making with six touchdown passes versus only one interception through the first three weeks. Run-defense has been the strength of Mark Kurisu’s Leilehua defense so far.
Kapolei has enjoyed the comforts of home to date, with five games in a row on its home field. Now the Hurricanes will need to become road warriors with a stretch of three in a row away from home to close out the Red West slate, beginning with this one against Leilehua, which was the league’s last unbeaten team heading into last weekend.
The key for Kapolei is clear: The Hurricanes have to get their run game going, as they are 3-0 when rushing for 110 yards or more. It’s no coincidence that Kapolei’s only loss – a lopsided one at the hands of Mililani – saw the Hurricanes limited to a mere 69 yards on the ground. Its best defense in this one has to be offense, as it can keep Leilehua’s own explosive offense off of the field by possessing the ball. Leilehua won last year’s game 47-0.
Waialua at Radford – 7:30 p.m. Friday
This is the second contest in a key two-game stretch for Waialua, which was to visit Kaiser last weekend.
With home games coming up versus Kalaheo and Kalani, as well as a very winnable road date with Anuenue still on its slate, the Bulldogs have a chance to go on a nice run to close out their OIA White schedule. With that in mind, a win at home over a good Radford team could be a real difference-maker in the season.
Pivotal for this game is how well Waialua’s defense can handle the Radford passing game, which averages more than 260 yards per outing. The Bulldogs will need a solid offensive showing, enabling them to possess the ball and control the clock to keep the Rams’ offense off of the field for long stretches.
For their part, Radford was rolling along with blowout wins over Pac-Five, Anuenue and Nanakuli to begin the season until its momentum was undermined in a loss to Kaiser. The Cougars’ recipe for success in their win over Radford was to hold the Ram offense to just 143 total yards – well below the 461 total yards per game it had averaged in the first three games.