Stakes Are Raised As Season Approaches Halfway Point

As the 2013 prep football season approaches the midway point, every game is like a playoff game. A preview follows of this weekend’s matchups involving Aiea, Kapolei, Waipahu and Pearl City. (Campbell has the week off.)

Aiea at Kapolei – 7 p.m. Friday

After impressive showings against Kailua and Pac-Five, Aiea was brought back to planet earth in a 29-13 loss to Waianae in week one of OIA Red West play. Even so, Aiea is still in the big picture for the league race, pending the outcome of last weekend’s battle with Campbell and this game with Kapolei. As both teams already have a league loss, the loser of this game could fall out of the conference race. Na Ali’i still have games with Mililani and Leilehua remaining. The key matchup in this one figures to be Aiea’s run defense opposite Kapolei. Both teams have big-time playmakers at quarterback. Aiea’s Mana Kaahanui and Jordan Liilii both have had stellar outings, as has Kapolei’s Aizon Kahana. Turnovers have been an issue for both teams to date, however, so the one that makes the least number of mistakes this weekend should have the upper hand. Kapolei won last year’s game 34-20.

Mililani at Waipahu – 7:30 p.m. Friday

This is the second game in a brutal three-week stretch for Waipahu, which began with a game against Kapolei on the road last weekend and continues with this game and a much-anticipated contest with Aiea looming in week three of Red West play. Nothing has been easy schedule-wise for Waipahu. With this game at home and the upcoming Aiea game also on their home field, this is a huge opportunity for Waipahu to become a factor in the Red West. The good news is that the Marauders have a ground game – something they’ll definitely need for a win over Mililani. Waipahu’s best defense this week may be its offense, if it can keep the always-dangerous Trojan offense off of the field. Mililani’s run defense has been among the best on the island, as it’s yielding just 60 yards per game on the ground. That figure was established against three good running teams – Moanalua, Punahou and Kapolei. Mililani won last year’s game 49-12.

Pearl City at Kalaheo – 7:30 p.m. Friday

For the Chargers, this game figures big in their slate for a variety of reasons. Three of their remaining five games will be on their home field after this weekend, including the much-anticipated matchup with East power Kaiser Oct. 5. Two of those home dates will come the next two weekends versus Anuenue and Roosevelt, teams that entered last weekend a combined 0-6 in the won-lost column. A win here against the Mustangs could obviously kick-start a nice run for Pearl City. The Chargers will look to get their offense untracked, as points have been hard to come by to date. This game is also huge in the big picture for Kalaheo, which still has games remaining on its OIA White slate against Radford, Nanakuli and Kaiser. How well Pearl City’s defensive front can handle the Kalaheo run game could go long way toward deciding the outcome. Pearl City won last year’s game 46-20.