The rumor was brutally difficult to digest, but, for now, the news is actually good for defending Division I state champion Kamehameha.
The elbow injury to all-state first-team linebacker Kawika Stant will not end his season. The hyperextended joint will need three weeks to recover, coach David Stant said.
"It was one of those situations where we were in a tackling drill and a 250-pound lineman got tangled up with him," said Stant, who is also the linebacker’s father.
Kamehameha meets Anuenue tonight — at Leilehua’s Hugh Yoshida Stadium — as nonconference play resumes across the islands. Kamehameha’s Kunuiakea Stadium is under renovation for the entire season.
On the other side of the island, Waianae makes the long trek to face longtime rival Kahuku in a 6 p.m. battle.
Here’s a look at today’s other games:
>> Baldwin at Kailua: The Surfriders have dynamic new talent to go with some solid returnees. Former Word of Life running back Awa Poggi is learning the ropes rapidly as a full-time safety and slotback Kila Zuttermeister has also shined.
Baldwin is undergoing some changes, as well, but has key returnees in defensive end Pasoni Tasini (6-3, 200), linebacker Chace Boloson (5-6, 177), offensive lineman Sione Finau (6-3, 295) and wide receiver Ro Wilson. After years of excelling in the run-and-shoot, a dearth of pure passers has made Bears fans yearn for the "old" days when Jordan Helle regularly spiraled touchdown passes and racked up 300-yard games.
>> Pac-Five vs. Kaiser, Aloha Stadium: This matchup of Division II contenders is an early test for Pac-Five’s newcomers. The graduation of all-state second-team quarterback P.J. Minaya and his horde of receiving talent leaves a gaping hole, but coach Kip Botelho and his staff have often found solutions to remain competitive in a tough league.
Kaiser has D-I level talent in spades. Seth Keolanui (6-2, 240) will play defensive end and tight end. Jarrin Inagaki (5-9, 189) will double at running back and mike ‘backer.
>> ‘Iolani vs. Waialua, Aloha Stadium: The Bulldogs lost a pair of superb linemen — Micah Hatchie (Washington) and Graham Rowley (BYU) — but a strong senior class could keep momentum moving forward.
The Raiders lost plenty of talent to graduation, including all-state third-team quarterback Jarrett Arakawa. The position is up for grabs with returning backup Josh Hannum, Reece Foy and Josiah Situmeang.
>> Kapaa vs. Kalani, Kaiser Stadium: The Warriors, who have implemented the run-and-shoot under coach Kelii Morgado, downed the Falcons last year on the Garden Island. The Falcons have a senior class in its third year of learning coach Greg Taguchi’s run-and-shoot system, but all eyes will be on new assistant coach Ron Lee, the former UH offensive coordinator.
>> Waimea vs. Hawaii Prep, Honokaa field: Ka Makani feature one of the state’s top offensive linemen in junior Shane Brostek.
>> Kamehameha-Hawaii at Kauai: Defending KIF champion Kauai has its hands full with a KS-Hawaii team that collects some of the best talent on the Big Island. The Red Raiders have holes to fill with the graduation of quarterback Trey Shimabukuro, receiver Taran Tani and running back Paleku Yasay.
>> Waiakea at Maui: The Sabers were once a gridiron dynasty in the MIL, but have struggled in recent years with the opening of King Kekaulike and Kamehameha-Maui.
>> Keaau at Konawaena: The Cougars have a history of success on the Kona coast despite the 2 1/2-hour drive from East Hawaii.