Usually during the first week of football season, much of the talk is on how the top teams will fare.
Not so, this year. Of more interest are the effects of hurricanes Iselle and Julio. Iselle hit the Big Island on Thursday night and Julio is following close behind.
Because of the two storms, all high school football games statewide scheduled for the weekend have been canceled or postponed.
All but one of the 21 scheduled games were wiped off the slate before 1:50 p.m. on Thursday, when the last holdout game — ‘Iolani vs. Kamehameha-Maui scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Aloha Stadium as part of the 51st Father Bray Classic — was called off.
"Most people are relieved that we canceled the games," OIA football coordinator Harold Tanaka said. "Everyone (administrators, coaches, parents, players) is kind of worried. What if we played the games and something happened and we end up looking foolish. We’ll be starting the season next week, and the teams are probably going to be very rusty."
Tanaka said games involving two OIA teams will not be rescheduled.
There is talk about three games being moved to another date, including one with Star-Advertiser Preseason Top 10 implications No. 3 Saint Louis of the ILH at No. 2 Mililani of the OIA.
Mililani coach Rod York said it’s possible the Trojans-Crusaders game could be played Aug. 16, when Mililani is scheduled to host McKinley.
"We may play (Saint Louis) next week if McKinley agrees to forfeit because of a lack of numbers," York said via a phone message.
McKinley coach Joe Cho said the Tigers will, indeed, forfeit the game against Mililani because of safety concerns.
"We have 44 players on the varsity, but there are a lot of injuries combined with players who are ineligible and that brings the number to about 20 for next weekend," Cho said. "And of that, only seven (of 22 position players) are starters to go along with many others who are backups at best. Mililani was (a touchdown) away from winning the state title and I’ve heard they are even more loaded this year. This is a safety issue. There could be serious injuries if we play players who are not ready to step into this type of game."
Another source familiar with the situation said that the Saint Louis at Mililani game for Aug. 16 is all but confirmed.
Cho said the McKinley forfeit is unofficial as of right now, but that he has had discussions with the OIA and Mililani officials. The decision to forfeit was made Thursday after Cho’s discussion with athletic director Bob Morikuni. Cho expects the forfeit to become official anytime between Saturday and Monday.
"Bob came in to my office and told me to think about it," Cho said. "I told him that there was nothing to think about."
Cho expects to have enough experienced players back for an Aug. 22 game at Leilehua. Officials at the various schools involved are also working on the possibility of rescheduling two other games — Damien at Kauai, and Konawaena vs. St. Francis at the Campbell High field — for Aug. 23.