comscore Third tier added to state football championships | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Third tier added to state football championships

  • JAMM AQUINO / NOV. 2015

    Kahuku’s Kesi Ah Hoy rushes the ball during the second half of the 2015 HHSAA Division I Football Championship against the St. Louis Crusaders on Nov. 20 at Aloha Stadium. Kahuku won 39-14 to become the 2015 state champions.

Hawaii high school football will have three competitive state tournament divisions instead of two under a one-year pilot program this season.

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board voted today to add a third tier called the Open division to the already existing Divisions I and II.

The five Hawaii high school leagues will continue to play their regular season this year the same way they’ve been doing. The three classifications — Open, D-I and D-II — will be for the state tournament only. The Open division and D-II will have six-team tournaments and the D-I tournament will be comprised of eight teams.

The Oahu Interscholastic Association’s top four teams and the Interscholastic League of Honolulu’s two best teams will play in the Open division tournament.

As an example, if this format was in effect last season, the Open teams would have been Kahuku, Mililani, Waianae and Farrington from the OIA and Saint Louis and Punahou from the ILH.

In the D-I tourney, four teams will come from the OIA, two from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, one from the ILH and one from the Maui Interscholastic League.

The D-II tourney will be comprised of two teams from the OIA and one each from the ILH, MIL, BIIF and Kauai Interscholastic Federation.

It is not clear yet exactly how the five leagues will pick their D-I and D-II representatives.

The state football tournament will be held with first-round games on Nov. 4 and semifinals on Nov. 11. The D-I and D-II championship games will be held Nov. 18, with the Open division title game on Nov. 19.

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  • So more Oahu teams in the playoffs and the neighbor island D1 teams don’t get a chance to play the top Oahu D1 teams. Interesting idea but definitely benefits the Oahu schools.

      • Exactly. The ILH has 2 of their 4 teams playing. That is 50% whereas the OIA got only 4 teams representing about 16 schools. Who in the OIA voted for this lopsided prejudice for the ILH?

      • So is Iolani going to compete in the D1 instead of open? that means only 3 ILH teams in Open division and 2 of them get into the tourney? Thats 75% of the ILH being represented while the OIA (a weaker conference) with their 4 teams will only have like 25% representation.

    • Neighbor island teams elected not to field a team in the Open Division. Realistically, their best teams are a better fit for the new 2nd-tier (Division 1). Before this, non-Oahu teams have never advanced out of the semifinals of old D1.

  • The “dumbing down” of Hawaii. The Hawaii GOP denounces one of the Republican Party running for office because of blatant religious bigotry and makes national news yet in Hawaii the High School Football tournament schedule is headline news. Nothing is mentioned about this serious issue.

  • This aint flying. Sounds great, but OIA will balk about the top two ILH teams gunning for the top spot. The OIA will probably want both of the ILH schools in the same bracket to give them a better chance at the cup.

    • Thats what they need to do, put the two ILH teams in the same bracket because they already have the unfair advantage of recruiting top talent where the OIA schools have to do with what they have in their back yard.

    • Doesn’t matter if the OIA balked or not. The other leagues held a majority of votes, so the 1-year pilot project is on. ILH teams will be in opposite brackets, so yes, there could be an all ILH championship game. So be it…if that’s the best two teams left standing.

  • So to give the ILH another seat at the table, the neighbor island D1 champions get left out. So much for it being an “Open” division. I don’t like that solution at all.

    • Neighbor island teams decided themselves to – not – field an “open” team. Even their past strongest teams never got out of the semifinals. The new D1 field will be very, very competitive and the games should be exciting.

      • Baldwin SHOULD have beat Kahuku in a 2006 state football tournament semifinal game but Kahuku scored a TD on a last play hail mary pass.
        I do not like this. Now the ILH title means nothing.

        • The ILH title wasn’t as important as being the one team from the ILH to be eligible to play for the state championship. Such a small and boring league especially having to play each other twice during the season and this why the ILH unanimously voted to join with the OIA. No way should private and public schools become involved in the same league especially when the private schools have the resources and means to recruit blue chip players from all over.

      • Thank you for that information kimchee. I feel a lot better about the proposal knowing that the neighbor island teams decided themselves to opt out.

  • Go with a All public school league. Nuff wit the rich recruiting fancy schools. The third tier smoke head line s was just to sneak another ILH team in the Big league. Money talks.

  • The “open division” should just be renamed the Prep Bowl! How can you have a state championship tournament and not include neighbor island leagues for the open division?

    • You have a state open championship when those neighbor island leagues decide they will not try for the open division. Which is the correct choice. I know for a fact they were asked at the table to decide what was their preference.

      • So what is the rationale for an open division? The article does not state a reason. Last year’s set up was fine. It it ain’t broke…why the need to “fix” it? If the reason is to appease the ILH, that league should just expand its D1 league to justify more teams at the HHSAA table.

        • The reasons… Open division will help make more money which is to be split by all schools. Taking the top 6 into “open” – well, opens up the new D1 field. Giving those caliber teams a chance to grab a title. Historically you can pretty much write-in the field for top tier. So leveling the competitive playing field, more moolah, and teams winning a title which would be out of reach otherwise if not for three divisions. ILH did a decent thing in keeping Punahou/KS/Saint Louis only in “open” consideration. One of them will not be playing for anything. Imagine if the ILH #3 dropped into the new D1? Yeah…pretty much hand that team the D1 title most likely. It’s not perfect but I see why they’re giving the three tiers a try.

        • It’s all about the ILH getting 2 teams in the open division instead of 1 as in the past division I state championship. Also, by having 3 division playoffs, the ILH will have more teams (4) participating. The Hawaii public high schools should have their own state public high school championship and have the ILH take care of their own business on conducting their championship. Hope that the OIA don’t give in and joining with the ILH. It’s all about ILH involvement with the public schools and HHSAA making more money.

  • No matter what is suggested, always going get somebody not happy. I don’t care for the present or the suggested. I just wanna see the best vs the best. I don’t care if they all happen to be from the OIA or the ILH or the neighbor island. So be it where ever it should stand. The top 6 or 8 teams in the poll make it to the tourney.

    • The best vs. the best was the old Prep bowl format. Winner of the ILH vs winner of the OIA, done end of story!

      In the 16 year history of the state tournament it always ended up with the ILH champ vs. the OIA champ in the title game anyway.

    • Yup, The 3 big ILH schools are on another level then the OIA, Kahuku is the only OIA school that can hang with the ILH consistently and maybe once every 10 years would a second school from the OIA be able to compete. All other OIA schools are on a lower level and have shown to get blown out by the ILH.

      When the ILH aint winning titles something is wrong, they thought that by sending only one of their elite schools (the ILH champ) into the tourney was enough to bring home the title but Kahuku has been spanking them so now they want to send two elite schools into the tourney to increase their chances of bringing home the trophy.

  • Why all this about football?! Time and effort into this should have been put to better use. Education is not the motivating factor and never will be for the OIA, public schools. Yes, people comment about the private schools and how they recruit players, but they graduate and go to college. ILH parents, deep pockets? I have to disagree, you do what you can to give your child the best opportunity for the future. Lots of ILH kids don’t go to a Div 1,2 or 3 college. They end up going to JC or community college. Why? Because they relied on sports to get them somewhere, it was a dream! Now they have to start all over, while their classmates who did the work and focused on school are that much ahead.

  • Heard that the ILH football league doesn’t generate as much money as they’d like to but that the OIA football makes money every year. This new HHSSA format will definitely generate more money for the ILH and for Aloha Stadium playoff games. What a clever idea!

  • One rule in life, you can’t please everyone, someone is going to be unhappy. To me this is the best idea if heard so far. As an ILH Alum, I like having multiple ILH teams in the state tourney, it’s about time. We want to find the best, not put in more mediocre OIA teams. Besides the team to beat is Kahuku. The top OIA teams versus the top ILH teams, will pack aloha stadium. Kahuku vs Pun, Kam and SL would draw huge crowds. The money raised would help every high school program.

  • So ‘Iolani dominates Division Two football in the last few years and they now that they cannot win or complete in Division One gets to complete in the “Open” Division? Christopher Chun, HHSAA executive director is a 1992 graduate of ‘Iolani School. Go figure.

    • Now that UH football gone way down the public is clamoring for more marquee high school games and in the end more $$$$$$$$$$. How much interest and attendance would be if top teams like Kahuku and Punahou played regular season games together that mattered in their overall league championship. Whether public or private, the best teams play each other during regular season and the much weaker teams, public or private, play each other. Better for everyone as less of those lop sided games or coaches having to forfeit games to save their smaller players from injury. And teams are not permanently assigned to a division, rather the winners of a division have the option to go to a higher division and if they do so the last place team of that higher division will get bumped have to play at the lower division. That way there is lot of room for movement between the divisions and tries to keep games competitive and injuries down by minimizing severely mismatched teams.

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