St. Louis' reign in ILH threatened
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Warriors (6-0 ILH, 9-0 overall), No. 1 in The Advertiser Top 10 statewide poll, need a win to clinch their first ILH title since 1979, as well as earn their first state tournament berth.
The No. 2-ranked Crusaders (5-1, 6-2) need a win Saturday to force a playoff tentatively scheduled for Nov. 14. The winner of the playoff will be ILH champion and receive the league's lone state berth.
St. Louis has not lost twice to the same team during the same season since 1985, the last time it did not win the ILH. That year Pac-Five beat St. Louis, 20-6 and 21-20, in regular season meetings en route to winning the ILH title and the O'ahu Prep Bowl.
In a first-round game this season, Kamehameha beat St. Louis, 41-20, behind quarterback Caleb Spencer, who passed for 274 yards and four touchdowns.
If the Warriors win Saturday, it will be the first time the state or Prep Bowl champion will not be either Kahuku or St. Louis since 1985. The two-time defending state champion Red Raiders (6-3) saw their season end with a 21-20 loss to Farrington in last week's O'ahu Interscholastic Association quarterfinals.
The OIA's four state representatives will play in the league semifinals Friday at Aloha Stadium.
Castle (6-4) will meet Farrington (6-4) at 5:05 p.m. and defending OIA co-champion Kailua (8-1) will take on McKinley (7-3) at 7:35. The winners advance to the 33rd OIA championship on Nov. 15. Last year, because of the impact on scheduling from the Sept. 11 attacks, the league shortened its playoff format and the semifinal winners were declared co-champions, with Kailua and Kahuku sharing the title.
Last week, Castle upset West co-champion Campbell to advance. In another quarterfinal, McKinley stunned the other West co-champion Wai'anae, 35-0. It was McKinley's first win over Wai'anae since the Tigers joined the OIA in 1970. Only East co-champion Kailua survived among the top four seeded teams, who drew first-round byes, by beating Mililani, 41-17, in the other quarterfinal.
Since 1988, when the OIA did away with division championships and started the tournament format, Castle, Farrington and Kailua have broken even in semifinals. Farrington and Kailua are each 3-3, and Castle is 2-2. McKinley is 0-1.
All four have reached the OIA championship game, but combined have won only two titles. Farrington won in 1989 and Kailua shared the title with Kahuku last year. Farrington is 1-3 in the OIA championship game, while Kailua is 1-5, McKinley 0-2 and Castle 0-5.
On the Big Island, Kealakehe will play Hawai'i Prep for the Big Island Interscholastic Federation championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Old Kona Airport Field. Kealakehe beat Hawai'i Prep, 22-21, in the regular season. Saturday's winner also advances to the state tournament.
Maui and Kaua'i have already determined champions and the state berths that come with their league titles.
Baldwin (3-0 second round), which won the first-round title, has clinched the Maui Interscholastic League championship regardless of how it fares Saturday against Maui (2-1). At worst, there will be in a three-way tie with Maui and idle King Kekaulike (3-1). Because of the three-way tie, the tiebreaker reverts to the first-half standing, MIL football coordinator Jon Garcia said.
Waimea (6-0, 7-1 overall) clinched the Kaua'i Interscholastic Federation championship several weeks ago.