West Football Teams Face Must-win Games This Weekend
By JACK DANILEWICZ
At a time when parity rules OIA, protecting a team’s home field is paramount to having a successful season.
In the case of West teams Pearl City, Kapolei and Waipahu, this weekend’s home games can be regarded as “must wins” for each as they position themselves for the post-season. Aiea is the lone West team playing on the road. Previews of this weekend’s games are below.
Kaimuki at Pearl City, 8:30 p.m. Friday
Bulldog-Charger match-ups in the past were among the most entertaining in local prep football until Kaimuki was promoted to Division I. As such, this will be the first game between them since Pearl City’s riveting 29-27 win back in 2011.
The Chargers opened 2014 with a resounding 34-6 win over Roosevelt at home 10 days ago, with defense leading the way. The Chargers held Roosevelt to just 110 total yards and only 41 rushing (an average of 1.8 yards per attempt). Conversely, Pearl City averaged 4.7 yards per carry on the ground, led by running back Dominic Maneafaiga, who received the bulk of the carries, rushing for 78 yards and a touchdown.
With Pearl City controlling the game, veteran quarterback Jordan Taamu was only called on to attempt five passes (he completed four). Kaimuki was to play its season opener over the weekend against Anuenue.
Castle at Waipahu, 8:30 p.m. Friday
Waipahu was put to the test in its season opener against Farrington. The Marauders were forced to concede, trailing 35-0 in the second quarter, because of a limited roster. The schedule hardly lightened for them last weekend when they were set to travel to Kahuku.
Waipahu hopes to have its full complement of players available for this game with Castle. A win here could figure big down the line, as three of its last five games will be at home. In fact, Waipahu has only one true road game left.
For the Knights, this game starts a brutal stretch on a schedule that includes games with Leilehua (away), Kahuku and Waianae (away) over the next three weeks.
Aiea at Kailua, 6:30 p.m. Saturday
The front end of Aiea’s 2014 slate is among the state’s most demanding, with games against Farrington Sept. 6 and defending OIA Red champion Mililani Sept. 12, to go with their season opener 10 days ago against defending DII state champ Kaiser. The fourth game for Aiea in this stretch is against Kailua.
The Surfriders will honor retired longtime football coach (and athletic director) Alex Kane by renaming its stadium for him in a pre-game ceremony.
Mililani at Kapolei, 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Can anyone slow the Mililani offense? The Kapolei defense is poised to take its shot against the Trojans, who registered 729 yards and 63 points in their win over Saint Louis in week one. The Hurricanes hung tough in their opener on the road at Kahuku before eventually succumbing 33-19.
To have a chance here, Kapolei’s best defense may be its offense. If the offense can avoid turnovers and control the clock with a run game, it will mean less time with the football for Mililani.
That role could fall on the shoulders of Kapolei backs Trensten Spragling, Ronald Matautia, Ronald Young and Joseph Kaina. The question of how well Kapolei can defend against Mililani dual-threat quarterback McKenzie Milton figures to be the theme of the night, however. In his opening-night performance versus Saint Louis, he threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another 210 yards and three scores.