Central Teams Gearing Up For Football Season’s Second Half

As prep football reaches the midway point this weekend, every game from here on out is critical in shaping the playoff picture. Here’s a look at this week’s games.

Roosevelt at Waialua, 7:30 p.m. Friday

The Bulldogs are currently in the midst of a three-game home stand that began last weekend with Nanakuli. A bye week follows the Roosevelt contest before Waialua hosts Kaimuki Sept. 26. If the Bulldogs want to stay in the hunt for one of the OIA White Division’s playoff berths next month, winning home games will be paramount. Waialua’s road win over Kalaheo Aug. 29 was a huge confidence builder after opening with losses to Kalani and Pearl City — teams that were playoff qualifiers a year ago. Despite giving up big yardage on the ground, the Bulldogs proved stingy in the red zone, keeping Kalaheo out of the end zone for three quarters. Special teams were also big for Waialua, most notably Thomas Pule’s 37-yard field goal, which provided the winning margin in the closing seconds. Roosevelt, which moved down to DII this season, was 0-3 entering last weekend’s game with Kalani. The Rough Riders have struggled offensively, averaging just 92 yards of total offense to date.

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

A month into the 2014 season, Leilehua is playing as well as anyone in the state, with three impressive victories highlighted by a resounding road win at Waianae Aug. 29. Defense looked in mid-season form there, holding the Seariders to 1.5 yards rushing. The Mules’ offense to date also is rolling behind quarterback Kalanimoku Pauole and all-around standout Randy Neverson, having compiled 361 yards of total offense versus Waianae. In his first three games, Pauole had thrown for 11 touchdowns versus four interceptions.

In addition to the Marauders, Leilehua has another enemy this week: complacency. Waipahu was routed in its first three games and might not look up to the task on paper, but this contest has the look of the perfect “trap” game from the Mules’ vantage point, as it comes between high-profile games with Waianae and Kahuku. Leilehua will want to head into its bye week with momentum. Following their off-week, Leilehua will travel to Kahuku Sept. 26 for a much-anticipated matchup that could decide the OIA Red champion.

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

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 on Aug. 30. An open date on the schedule followed, giving the Trojans an extra week to prepare for this Aiea contest.

Three games into 2014, the Mililani offense has been unstoppable, averaging 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 touchdown-versus-interception rate of 9-2 through three games.

Aiea took a 1-1 record into its game with Farrington over the weekend. Its lone win to that point was 25-14 over Kailua.

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