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All Windward Teams On Football Radar This Weekend

For both the Kahuku and Farrington football teams, the road to the OIA East Red season crown has invariably passed through them the past few years. That’s the case once again in 2013, as both were still undefeated in league play entering last weekend’s action. A look at Thursday’s matchup follows, as well as previews of other Windward games.

Kahuku versus Farrington – 7 p.m. Thursday at Aloha Stadium

While the loss of 18 starters from last year’s state title team made this a rebuilding year for Kahuku, it’s still been dominant in East Red play, winning its first four conference games by an average score of 41-18. The Farrington game is the last link in another undefeated season, if the Red Raiders can take care of business. With a first-round bye all but sealed already, Kahuku will be looking at an open date next week when playoffs begin. Above all, it wants to take momentum into the post-season, and that can only happen with a spirited win here. Defense remains the key for the Red Raiders, who are yielding only 45 rushing yards a game. Offensively, among its play-makers is quarterback Tuli Wily-Matagi, who is averaging 5.3 yards per rush in addition to throwing only one pick against seven touchdown passes (entering last weekend). Like Kahuku, Farrington also has been in rebuild mode and has put together a nice win streak of its own after getting by Castle in an overtime thriller in week one of East Red play. Kahuku defeated Farrington twice last year.

Castle versus Kaimuki – 7:30 p.m. Friday at Kaiser High

Castle’s bye week came at a nice time, as it followed the Knights’ game against Kahuku with games versus Moanalua (last weekend) and Kaimuki. Wins over Na Menehune and the Bulldogs would nicely position Castle for the playoffs, since it would be 3-3 in league play. Expect an extra sense of urgency this weekend to solidify that playoff berth. With Kaimuki still winless heading into last weekend, this is a game the Knights should be heavily favored in, as they’re just a couple of plays away from a much-better record, given overtime losses to Farrington and Kailua early on. The catalyst for Castle is its defense, which has given up an average of only 205 yards to opposing teams through its first six games. Castle won last year’s game between the teams, 26-16.

McKinley versus Kailua – 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Aloha Stadium

The early kickoff will confront both teams as they look to improve their seeding for the OIA playoffs. Kailua entered last weekend’s game with league-leader Kahuku with some offensive momentum at long last, having come through in a big way the previous week by burying Kaimuki under a 52-32 avalanche for its second league win. The Kailua attack, led by quarterback Noah Auld, amassed 432 total yards – 237 on the ground and 195 via the air – in that win. McKinley was on a three-game losing streak entering last weekend, when it had an open date. McKinley won last year’s game between the teams, 14-7.

Nanakuli versus Kalaheo – 7:30 p.m. Friday at Kailua High

Points have been hard to come by of late for Kalaheo, which suffered back-to-back losses to Pearl City and Radford that all but eliminated it from the OIA White race. With Nanakuli this week and a game against league leader Kaiser to close out the season next weekend, however, there’s still an opportunity for Kalaheo to make some noise in the White Conference. (Last weekend’s game with Waialua provided a favorable matchup for the Mustangs as well.) Turnovers have been an issue for Kalaheo to date, but its ability to stop the run, defensively, remains something it can rally around over the season’s final two weeks. Kalaheo won last year’s game, 24-21.