Weekend Matchups Could Have Big Impact On Red West Race

With five of seven OIA Red West teams within a mere game of league-leader Mililani entering last Friday, the league race should become much more clear after this weekend’s action. MidWeek‘s West Oahu Islander takes a look at the matchups for Friday and Saturday.

Waianae at Campbell – 7:30 p.m. Friday

Campbell’s bye week couldn’t have come at a better time, as they had some extra time to prepare for this game with Waianae, not to mention the stretch run in the Red West, which also will include a much-anticipated road date Sept. 21 with Mililani. The outcome of these two games figures to be the difference between a good season and a great one for Campbell, whose remaining schedule is favorable – at least until the rivalry game with Kapolei in week nine. All eyes should focus on Campbell’s run defense in this one. The Sabers are giving up just 59 yards per outing on the ground – a stat that bodes well against a Waianae team that rolls up 163 yards each week in the run game itself. If Campbell can contain Waianae on the ground, its chances are greatly enhanced since its own offense possesses the balance to keep Waianae’s defense off balance. Waianae won last year’s game 28-14.

Kapolei at Leilehua – 7:30 p.m. Friday

Kapolei has enjoyed the comforts of home to date, with five games in a row. Now the Hurricanes will need to become road warriors with a stretch of three in a row away from home to close out the Red West slate, beginning with this game against the Mules, who were the league’s last remaining unbeaten team heading into last weekend. The key for Kapolei is clear: It has to get its run game going, as it’s 3-0 when rushing for 110 yards or more. It’s no coincidence that Kapolei’s only loss – a lopsided one to Mililani – saw it limited to a mere 69 yards on the ground. The Hurricanes’ best defense in this one has to be their offense, as they can keep Leilehua’s own explosive offense off of the field by possessing the ball. This is the final home game for Leilehua in the regular season, as the Mules will finish up with three straight on the road themselves. Leilehua won last year’s game 47-0.

Aiea at Waipahu – 7:30 p.m. Saturday

With a schedule that ends with back-to-back games against Leilehua and Mililani, this one figures big in Aiea’s Red West slate if it wants a spot in the post-season. After top-ping the 30-point plateau in the first two weeks against Kailua and Pac-Five, Aiea’s offense was hard-pressed to put up points against Waianae and Campbell. The good news for Aiea is that its run defense remains strong. That should give the team hope against Waipahu, whose strength is its ground game. For the Marauders, this is the second game in a key four-game stretch that began with last weekend’s game against Mililani. On the heels of this one, Waipahu will finish league play versus Waianae, Campbell and Leilehua. Waipahu won last year’s game 28-7.

Anuenue at Pearl City – 5 p.m. Friday

After tough outings versus Division I Kapolei and OIA White foe Kalani, the Chargers responded with a resounding 38-12 win over Waialua. The back end of the schedule is still demanding, with games against Nanakuli and Kaiser coming up, so the Anuenue contest and next week’s date with Roosevelt have to be “must wins.” Offensive balance remains a huge key to success for the Chargers as they move forward. They put up 201 passing yards and another 153 on the ground in their win over Waialua. Anuenue was shut out in its first three games. Na Koa’s run-defense has been their Achilles heel this fall, as they are yielding more than 330 yards per game to opposing teams. Pearl City won last year’s game 54-21.