Every Team Still Has Chance For OIA Glory In WW Football

For the Castle and Kahuku teams, no weekend figures bigger in their football season than this one, as they close out their OIA Red slates. Kahuku is still in the mix for a top seeding at the playoffs, while Castle looks to claim a berth of its own. (Division II Kalaheo has two games left). A look at the weekend’s games is below.

McKinley at Castle, 7:30 p.m. Friday

As the Knights held a full-game lead over the Tigers for the last Red playoff spot entering last weekend’s game with Kaiser, this matchup with McKinley is akin to a post-season game. Despite a 1-4 mark entering last weekend, the Knights have progressed weekly and played league-leader Leilehua (41-28) and Waianae (21-13) in tough road losses. A win here would clinch a playoff spot and give the team momentum for post-season play.

Castle’s short passing game has been its offensive strength to date. Quarterbacks Willie Ewaliko and Stephen Lee are averaging 148 yards passing per game.

McKinley is giving up 213 yards a game through the air, so look for Castle to get plenty of touches for its play-makers, who include receivers Chad Figueora, Sione Pikula and Isaiah Lewis. The trio has combined for 48 receptions and six touchdowns this season.

Offensive struggles have defined McKinley, as it averages just seven points per game. Castle won last year’s game, 21-7.

Kalaheo versus Kaimuki, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Kaiser

Both teams are just a handful of plays from a much better win-loss record. Kalaheo dropped close ones to Waialua (10-7) and Roosevelt (19-9), while Kaimuki has seen its share of heartbreak with narrow losses to Nanakuli (21-14) and Kalani (21-20). This is the second game of a key three-game stretch to close out the season for Kalaheo, which was to play Radford last weekend. The Mustangs visit White leader Pearl City in their finale Oct. 10.

Look for the matchup between the Kalaheo offensive line and Kaimuki’s defensive front to be at center stage. Kaimuki defense is giving up 211 yards per game on the ground, so the Mustangs are likely to make an effort to run the ball. The strength of Kalaheo’s offense has been its run game, averaging 148 yards per contest. That could mean a busy night for running back Kawika Cavanh, who is the team’s leading rusher at 5.7 yards per attempt. Kaimuki’s offense has been building momentum with solid showings against Kalani and Nanakuli. Quarterback Tevita Lino and wide receiver Nixon Siona are play-makers, collaborating on six touchdowns so far in 2014.

Waianae versus Kahuku, 5 p.m. Saturday at Aloha Stadium

The OIA Red crown could be on the line in this epic battle between two of the state’s most successful programs. After four straight runaway wins, Kahuku was brought back to planet earth after their upset loss to Kaiser on the road Sept. 19. Kahuku was to play league-leader Leilehua last weekend in another key Red contest before turning to Waianae. While still in the mix for the title, Kahuku also is playing for a No. 1 or 2 seed in the OIA playoffs.

Its run game is clicking on all cylinders, as it’s averaging 203 yards a game on the ground. Running backs

Kesi Ah Hoy and Salanoa-Alo Wily have been doing much of the damage along with quarterback Tuli Wily-Matagi. Waianae’s best defense is against the run, as it gives up just 68 yards per game rushing. The matchup between Kahuku’s offensive line and Waianae’s defensive front seven could go a long way in influencing the outcome. Kahuku won the last meeting between the teams 45-20 last October in the quarterfinal of the OIA playoffs.