West Oahu Teams Facing Critical Matchups This Weekend
The OIA’s post-season is still weeks away, but every game is critical now, and all West Oahu teams can’t help but be in the playoff mode as they position themselves for a favorable seeding in the post-season.
A preview of this weekend’s matchups for Aiea, Campbell, Pearl City and Waipahu follows. (Note: Kapolei has the week off).
Leilehua at Aiea – 7:30 p.m. Friday
If this game has the look of an Aiea win, the same can be said for Leilehua, which needs to keep pace with Red West leader Mililani, whom the Mules will face Sept. 27. Aiea needs a win to keep its playoff hopes alive following an 0-3 start.
The outcome of last weekend’s game with Waipahu was equally big, as the Marauders also were looking for their first win in league play.
Self-imposed miscues and offensive woes have been Aiea’s Achilles heel this fall. Defensively, it has been formidable, as it yields only 103 yards on the ground per outing.
Leilehua looked to get back on track versus Kapolei last weekend, meanwhile, after suffering its first conference loss, a road setback to Waianae. This is the first of three straight on the road for Leilehua, which travels to Mililani and Waipahu for its next two games.
Waipahu at Waianae – 7:30 p.m. Friday
Waipahu is coming off of its biggest game to date versus Aiea last weekend, as both teams looked to get the upper hand in the battle for the last playoff spot in the Red West. The key question for the Marauders this week against Waianae is whether or not they can handle the Seariders’ run game.
Waianae is averaging 203 yards per outing on the ground. Conversely, the strength of Waipahu’s defense to date has been its run-defense, as it’s giving up 121 yards on the ground per week.
Waipahu’s first two losses were to Westlake of California and Mililani, teams with potent passing attacks. If it can avoid giving up the quick score and make the Seariders go the long hard route, the task from Waipahu’s point of view looks doable.
It would also aid the cause if its offense can possess the ball and consume the clock, thus limiting Waianae’s own offensive chances.
Roosevelt at Pearl City – 7:30 p.m. Friday
While Pearl City will enter this game as a heavy favorite, the game is plainly a must-win for the Chargers, who will finish their OIA White schedule against three of the league’s elite – at Nanakuli, Kaiser at home, and at Radford.
Since a lopsided loss to Kalani in week one, the Chargers have righted the ship with wins over Waialua as well as a good Kalaheo team.
While the Pearl City offense has been clicking, its defense also has done its share, giving up only 213 total yards per game. Offensively, a balanced attack has helped to keep Pearl City’s opponents off-balance.
In addition to consistent play from its quarterback, Travis Joe, it also boasts four backs that are averaging better than 4 yards per carry: Justin Dupio, Jordan Taamu, Timothy Rivera and Reno Abero.
Campbell at Mililani – 6 p.m. Saturday
Mililani enters this battle with Campbell well-rested after enjoying an open date last weekend.
For Campbell’s part, this is the second in a key two-game stretch that began with last weekend’s battle against Waianae. The Sabers follow up this contest with a game against Waipahu and then the traditional rivalry game with Kapolei. Both of those games will be at home.
As such, as far as seedings for the OIA’s post-season go, this game is huge for both Campbell and Mililani with the top two finishers from the West guaranteed first-round byes.
Balance has carried Campbell on the offensive side to date, led by dual-threat quarterback Isaac Hurd. Defensive stops will likely be the key this week for Campbell, which is yielding only 176 total yards a game, including an impressive 59 yards on the ground per outing.
Mililani won last year’s game between the two schools with a score of 42-14.