Fumbling the playoffs

Whether one thinks the selection committee was trying to send a subtle message to Kaiser High School or more cynically believes an attempt is being made to set up an all-Oahu final, the seeding for the First Hawaiian Bank Division II State Football Championship is certainly curious.

All season long, Lahainaluna and Kaiser have been ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in every statewide poll. Neither team has done anything on the field to make any reasonable person question those rankings.

The Lunas finished a perfect 10-0 – Kaiser won 10 in a row after losing to a team that is now in the Division I tournament.

But, lo and behold, when the seeding came out for the D-II state championship, the Lunas were still No. 1 – but Kaiser was No. 4. The Cougars found themselves ranked behind Iolani (7-4) and Kauai (8-0).

The seeding alone means that the two teams that have been ranked first and second the whole season cannot meet in the state championship game. The Lunas have a bye this week; Kaiser will play Konawaena on Saturday. The winner of the Kaiser-Konawaena game will play Lahainaluna on Nov. 16 in the semifinal round at War Memorial Stadium.

A Maui News story on the seeding seemed to express concerns by some that Kaiser has built its team on transfers. There was a hint that the Cougars’ drop to fourth in the seeding was to send a message.

The more cynical view, of course, is that if Iolani and Kaiser were seeded second and third (in any order), they would probably meet in a semifinal game and one of them would have been out of the championship game. In that scenario, Lahainaluna would have seemingly had an easier path to the championship game.

Well, whatever the reason for the seeding, there is a sure way to thwart an Oahu conspiracy and/or send a message to Kaiser – Lahainaluna needs to win the Nov. 16 semifinal game. Imua Lunas.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.