State format set

MIL to put one team each into D-I, D-II events

Lahainaluna High School’s Elijah Ragudo will return in the fall after helping his team reach last year’s state tournaments. -- ANDREW LEE photo

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association football committee finalized the format for the 2017 state tournaments Friday, creating three four-team events — the Maui Interscholastic League will send one team each to the Division I and Division II fields.

Joe Balangitao, the MIL executive director, said Maui High School and Baldwin will remain in D-I, with Lahainaluna, Kamehameha Maui and King Kekaulike in D-II.

The D-I tournament will have one team each from the MIL, Interscholastic League of Honolulu, Big Island Interscholastic Federation and Kauai Interscholastic Federation. The D-II field will consist of one team each from the MIL, Oahu Interscholastic Association, ILH and BIIF. The Open Division event will have three OIA teams, and one from the ILH.

“Basically things stay the same for us,” Balangitao said. “I guess the disappointing thing is the OIA is not in Division I, but that’s their prerogative. … It’s a little disappointing that the OIA, with 23 teams, is not on every tier.”

On June 8, three six-team tournaments were announced after voting by the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association. Those plans were apparently confirmed by the HHSAA Executive Board one day later, but the OIA then announced it would not take part in the Open Division under that plan, which had four OIA teams and two from the ILH in the tournament.

Baldwin’s Chayce Akaka will return in the fall after helping his team reach last year’s state tournaments. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“We as a league, we said we were going to support what we voted on at HIADA — six, six and six,” Balangitao said. “It didn’t go our way, so we just live with it.”

Balangitao and Kamehameha Maui athletic director Jon Viela are the MIL’s members of the HHSAA football committee. Viela is the league’s football coordinator.

Last year was the first for the Open Division, with a six-team tournament — Saint Louis won the title. Lahainaluna was the champion in D-II, which also had six teams qualify, and Mililani won in D-I, which had an eight-team tournament.

Chris Chun, executive director of the HHSAA, said that the money from the state tournaments will be distributed equally among the 46 schools that compete in 11-player football, and that schools will have to declare their level by Sept. 1. Those rules were in the original plan from HIADA.

“I totally like this format,” Chun said. “I always felt that 12 teams was the right amount of teams to make the state tournament — I like the fact that they’re in three divisions.”

The new plan will have nine state tournament games, while the plan adopted at HIADA would have had 15. Balangitao said he expected less money to be generated with fewer games.

“I don’t know what the thinking is on that, but I can’t answer for them,” Balangitao said. “I just know what we wanted, what we voted on, and the other leagues have their reasons for whichever way they want to go. I don’t know what their thought process is. We will just go with it and see what happens.”

State championship games will all be played Nov. 18 at Aloha Stadium. D-II semifinals will be played Nov. 3, and D-I semifinals on Nov. 4, all at sites to be determined. Open semifinals will be Nov. 10 at Aloha Stadium.

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

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2017 STATE FOOTBALL FORMAT

Open Division–Three from OIA, one from ILH

Division I–One each from MIL, ILH, BIIF, KIF

Division II–One each from MIL, OIA, ILH, BIIF

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ACTIVE STREAKS OF STATE APPEARANCES

10–Lahainaluna

5–Mililani

4–Hilo

3–Kahuku, Kapaa

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