What To Expect At West’s Weekend Gridiron Matchups

With little margin for error in both the OIA Red and White conference races, the outcome of this weekend’s games should go a long way in clearing up the big picture for West Oahu’s prep football teams. A look at the matchups is below.

Aiea at Leilehua — 7 p.m. Friday In the wake of its heartbreaking 7-0 overtime loss to Campbell in week three, Aiea had a bye week and, thus, an extra week to get ready for this one. That can only bode well for Na Ali‘i as they are once again among the toughest defenses in the state. Leilehua’s own defense has been way ahead of its offense to date, so a low-scoring affair is a safe bet for this matchup. Aiea’s defense is relinquishing just 61 yards a game on the ground and only 70.7 via the air, numbers that should keep them in every game this fall. The question for Aiea is whether it will be able to come through with the scoring it will need to close out games. This is also a crucial week for Na Ali‘i for another reason: Should they pick up a road win here against the Mules, their remaining slate — Waipahu, Waianae, Mililani and Kapolei — consists of all four games on their home turf, so there’s a chance to make a good late-season run here.

Waianae at Waipahu — 7 p.m. Friday This is the fourth straight home game for the Marauders, who will close out their season with three straight on the road. Their 28-21 win over Kapolei in week three was a huge boost for the program after moving up to Division I in the off-season. The Marauders’ ability to play physical should serve them well here. While Waianae’s offense has a passing attack this year, the Seariders’ forte is still the run game. This may be good news for Waipahu, which is holding opponents to just 93 yards on the ground per outing. Its offense has thrived with its unpredictability and a balanced attack. The Marauders are averaging 121 yards per game through the air and 137.7 on the ground. Quarterback Kaimi Paredes and wide receiver Dylan Pakau are having solid seasons.

Mililani at Campbell — 7 p.m. Friday Campbell’s football identity of late has invariably been tied to its offense because of the mastery in the play-calling department of head coach Amosa Amosa. But the Sabers’ defense has been as good as any team in the state in 2012, having yielded only a single score in each of their first three games. Opponents are gaining almost nothing on the ground (51 rushing ypg) and not much more through the air (126). Campbell’s defense will face its toughest challenge to date here as Mililani and quarterback Jarin Morikawa come to town. In addition, the Sabers’ offense likely will need to possess the ball themselves to keep Morikawa and the “quick-striking” Mililani offense off the field. That task could fall to Campbell running backs Paul-Andrew Rhoden and Tristan Pebria, who are averaging 5.3 and 4.8 yards per carry, respectively.

Pearl City at Roosevelt — 7 p.m. Friday The game marks the midway point of the season for the Chargers in the OIA White Conference, and with already with two league losses, this is one that automatically goes into the “must win” bin if they are to make a run in the latter half of the slate. The remaining schedule is favorable for them with arguably their two toughest remaining games — Kalaheo and Kalani — set to be played at home. Pearl City’s greater challenge is to finish drives with scores, as it tallied only a single score in each of its first three games. Pearl City has gone with a pair of quarterbacks to date in Travis Joe and Brock Teixeira, while receiver Daicorri Briscoe (17.0 yards per catch) remains one of the top playmakers in the state.