Windward Teams All Over Oahu For Friday Gridiron Action
While one football game doesn’t make a season for any team, this weekend’s battles involving Windward’s four prep teams surely will have a big impact on each school’s fate – especially with the OIA playoffs approaching in two weeks. A look at the Friday night matchups is below.
Kahuku at Kailua at 7:30 p.m. Friday
With the season-ending showdown with Farrington looming next week, expect the Red Raiders to be on “upset alert” this Friday as they look to maintain pace with the Governors. A win over McKinley last weekend would have guaranteed Kahuku one of the Red East’s top two seeds for the playoffs, but the young team has treated every game as a must-win from here on out to gather post-season momentum. Recent workmanlike wins over Moanalua and Castle helped Kahuku, which returned only four starters from its 2012 state title team. Defense is hitting its stride at the right time, as it’s relinquishing just 43 yards on the ground per game. Offensively, it’s rolling up 251 yards per game via the run. Kailua’s hope to spring an upset this week will hinge on how well it can control the Kahuku run game. Kailua gave up 263 yards rushing to Farrington in its Sept. 14 game and will look for better results Friday. Kahuku won last year’s game 56-7.
Castle at Moanalua at 7:30 p.m. Friday
With a winless Kaimuki team as Castle’s last opponent, this matchup with Moanalua shapes up as a huge one for playoff positioning. As Castle will be favored to take care of business against Kaimuki, a win here could vault the Knights to a .500 record in the league and a solid seeding for the OIA playoffs. Aiding Nelson Maeda’s team’s cause is that extra week to get healthy and prepare for Moanalua, since Castle’s bye was last weekend. The Knights’ defense has remained tough, so the question is once again whether the offense can move the chains and provide the required scoring. Moanalua’s defense is giving up yardage in huge chunks, including 183 yards per game on the ground. Therein rests the key matchup this week – the Castle offensive line versus Moanalua’s defensive front. Offensively, Na Menehune can move the ball behind the arm of quarterback Micah Kaneshiro, who had thrown for 17 touchdowns (with 12 interceptions) through his first six games. Moanalua won last year’s game 33-12.
Kalaheo at Waialua at 5 p.m. Friday
In their quest to make the OIA White playoffs, this is plainly a game the Mustangs have to win – especially with critical games ahead versus Nanakuli and leagueleader Kaiser. Waialua entered its bye week on a three-game losing streak that saw it outscored 121-7 over the last eight quarters. Run defense has been the Achilles heel, as the Bulldogs have yielded 200 yards a game on the ground per game. Since running the football has been the strength of the Kalaheo offense this year, look for the Mustangs to try to exploit the Bulldog defense to that end. If all goes according to plan, it could be a productive night for Kalaheo back Makena Johnston. Kalaheo’s passing game centers around quarterback Jack Bell and receivers Shayde Spencer and Raymond Bragg. Kalaheo won last year’s game 48-13.