Campbell-Kapolei Gridiron Battle Friday

When the OIA restructured its league conferences in the off-season, one rivalry that survived was the matchup between Campbell High School and neighboring Kapolei, as both were sent to the new Blue Division.

Fans of both teams should be relieved, as past Saber-Hurricane games have been among the most entertaining in the local high school football scene in recent years.

Campbell won last year’s game, 18-14, and four of the last six meetings. All but one was decided by a touchdown or less.

A look at that game and other matchups is below.

Campbell at Kapolei, 7:30 p.m. Friday

The forecast for Friday night is for another close encounter.

Despite an 0-3 start to the season, Kapolei has played well against what was arguably the state’s most daunting schedule out of the gate: Kahuku (33-19), Farrington (28-26) and Mililani (41-14) in successive weeks.

The Hurricanes were to play Moanalua over the weekend before turning their attention to this game.

Conversely, Campbell, which was to meet Kailua last weekend, opened its season at 2-0 following impressive showings against Castle and Moanalua before having a bye.

The Sabers need to keep winning to stay in the mix for the OIA Blue Division crown, with games against Mililani and Farrington on the back end of the slate.

If the trends continue, the matchup between the Kapolei defensive front and Campbell’s offensive line could go a long way in influencing the game’s outcome. The Sabers are averaging 504 yards of total offense a game, including a whopping 322 on the ground.

The Hurricanes’ defense, meanwhile, is yielding 237 yards per game on the ground.

The game also will feature two of the West side’s top playmakers: Campbell running back Terell Johnson and Kapolei quarterback Alton Julius.

Leilehua at Waipahu, 7:30 p.m. Friday

Like Kapolei, the Marauders have played a big-time schedule to begin 2014, with games versus Farrington, Kahuku, Castle and defending DII OIA champion Kaiser the first month.

There is certainly no drop-off in the competition this weekend as Leilehua comes to town.

The Mules’ resounding road win at Waianae Aug. 29 served notice that they are definitely back in the OIA title discussion following a disappointing 2013 season.

The Leilehua defense looked in mid-season form versus Waianae, holding the Seariders’ normally proficient run-game to a scant 1.5 yards per attempt.

Offensively, the Mules have been as efficient as any unit in the state, behind quarterback Kalanimoku Pauole and all-around standout Randy Neverson. In his first three games, Pauole already had thrown for 11 touchdowns versus four interceptions.

All things considered, if there is a good time to play a red-hot Leilehua team, this week might be it. Indeed, this contest should have the look of the perfect “trap” game from the Mules’ vantage point, as it comes between high-profile games with Waianae and Kahuku.

Expect that Leilehua will be on upset alert , as it will want to head into its bye week with momentum and an extra week to prepare for the Sept. 26 epic road game with the Red Raiders.

Mililani at Aiea, 7:30 p.m. Friday

Aiea’s workmanlike 25-14 road win at Kailua Aug. 30 couldn’t have come at a better time, as it served as a springboard into a two-week stretch that included a game last weekend with Farrington and this one against the defending OIA Red Conference champion Trojans.

In Na Ali’i’s win over Kailua, it was defense that carried the day, as they limited the Surfriders to just 140 total yards. That is good news for Aiea, who will now face one of the best offenses in the state in Mililani.

Three games into 2014, the Mililani offense has been unstoppable, as the Trojans have averaged a state-best 578.3 total yards per game.

Junior quarterback McKenzie Milton has been the catalyst of a balanced attack with nearly 1,400 yards of total offense himself, including a touch-down-versus-interception rate of 9-2 through three games.

This is the second of three straight road games for the Trojans, who defeated Kapolei 41-14 on their first appearance away from home back Aug. 30. An open date followed for Mililani, giving it an extra week to prepare for this Aiea game.

Mililani should be careful not to look past Aiea, as the Trojans have huge games with both Campbell and Farrington in the next two weeks.

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