The Lahainaluna High School football team won their third straight Maui Interscholastic League Division II title on a roll with a 28-14 victory over D-I champion Baldwin leading into this Friday’s First Hawaiian Bank State Football Playoffs. The Lunas’ win over the Bears capped a 6-2 regular season and added the final touch to their five-game winning streak as the red tide rolled into post-season play.
Lahainaluna was slotted as the fourth seed in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association’s (HHSAA) six-team D-II playoff format, which lined the Lunas up versus the Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) White Division runner-up Aiea at number five. The top two seeds — Iolani and Kauai — receive first round byes, while number three Moanalua, the OIA champ, is matched up against sixth-seeded Hawaii Preparatory Academy of the Big Island.
So far, so good, as these pairings looked nice as the playoff sites were laid out. This is where the picture gets a tad fuzzy. Third-seeded Moanalua will play HPA at home, while fourth seed Lahainaluna will host fifth seed Aiea on Maui... right? Wrong.
The HHSAA has dictated that the Lunas will travel to Oahu to play Aiea at, now get this, THEIR home field. The “powers that be” at the HHSAA have given the reason for this odd — and unfair — scheduling to be that Baldwin, the number three seed in the D-I match-ups, will be playing Leilehua, the OIA runner-up and sixth seed, at War Memorial Stadium in that time slot within the inflexible and unimaginative scheme of organization officials.
Double-headers are played all the time throughout the regular season and during the playoffs. Or what would prevent the D-II teams from playing on Saturday night here on Maui? You could bet your last creme-filled malasada that Maui’s football faithful would fill War Memorial Stadium with more fans than will attend that game at Aiea. And the bottom line for these decisions is always gate receipts, right?
I have my home boy affiliation stirring me up right now, but it still seems odd that the Lunas, should they win this Friday night, would have to travel to Oahu again for the semifinal contest. And, if they should win that one, again the following week for the finals.
Out of focus, isn’t it?
Come on, HHSAA! This is unfair!