Key Matchups Play Out This Weekend In OIA Red West

Will it be another “September to Remember” for West Oahu teams? This weekend could be telling with several key matchups in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West Conference set to play out. Here’s a look at this weekend’s games:

Mililani at Kapolei – Friday Night (7:30 p.m. kickoff)

It wouldn’t be accurate to put this game into the “must-win” category for Kapolei, but since it is the first of three straight conference home games for the Hurricanes, a victory here would figure big for the hosts, who follow this encounter up with matchups against Waipahu and Aiea. Kapolei closes out its regular-season slate with three straight on the road. If Kapolei proved anything in its pre-season win over Pearl City, it is that the Hurricanes are once again a force to be reckoned with, as transfer Tristan Pebria ran wild in week one with 189 yards (an average of 9.9 yards per carry) on the ground and three scores. For Mililani, this is the second contest in a brutal three-game stretch, which included a game with defending DI State Tournament runner-up Punahou last week and a trip to Waianae next weekend. The Mililani defense looked as if in midseason form against Moanalua in their pre-season game in week one, as the Trojans held Na Menehune to minus-36 yards on the ground in a 39-9 win. The key matchup here figures to be the Mililani defense versus the Kapolei offense.

Campbell at Leilehua – Friday Night (7:30 p.m. kickoff)

If Leilehua enters this Red West clash with revenge on their minds, no one will blame them after dropping a heartbreaking 35-34 decision to the Sabers last September in overtime. Two weeks into the league race, the winner here positions itself nicely for the remaining slate. Campbell’s pre-season game against Kaiser proved a resounding success, as they won 21-7 on the road. Quarterback Isaac Hurd threw for two scores and posted one rushing, while the Sabers’ Austin May averaged 8.2 yards a rush on just 11 carries. The Campbell defense was nothing less than workmanlike in their pre-season game with Kaiser a week-and-a-half ago, yielding only 120 total yards (and only 27 on the ground) versus a good Cougar offense. The Mules’ public unveiling was only last weekend, when Leilehua played Iolani.

Waianae at Aiea – Saturday Night (6:30 p.m. kickoff)

Traditionally speaking, it always is better to draw Waianae early in the season, given the Seariders’ propensity to play their best football when it counts the most. For Aiea, this is the third straight home game, with another to follow next week against Campbell, so there’s a chance for a nice run if Na Ali’i can get a win here and another versus the Sabers. Aiea was impressive in its pre-season game, scoring a 35-0 triumph over Kailua Aug. 10. Aiea’s quarterback, Jordan Liilii, did much of the damage for Na Ali’i on the offensive side of the ball, as he threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns. Waianae may have been the most impressive of all Hawaii teams in their first encounter of 2013, as they defeated Farrington 33-16. The Searider defense gave up only 41 yards on the ground in that game.