With preseason action less than a month away, anticipation is building for the Big Island Interscholastic football season, including the debut of the league’s eight-man division.
BIIF officials have confirmed that three schools — Kohala, Pahoa and Ka‘u — will field eight-man football teams for the 2014 season, making it an official league sport.
“We have schools on this island that can really benefit from it,” BIIF executive director Lyle Crozier said.
The eight-man teams will play each other twice during the regular season, with games against some of the island’s junior varsity squads and Maui Interscholastic League opponents. The MIL is the only other league in the state that has eight-man football.
The rest of the BIIF landscape remains the same, with Keaau, Kealakehe, Hilo and Waiakea playing in Division I, and Honokaa, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Kamehameha, and Konawaena battling in Division II. All teams will play each other once, regardless of division.
The weekend of Sept. 19-20 will feature rematches of the 2013 BIIF title games.
On Sept. 19, HPA will travel to face Konawaena. The Wildcats have won the last three Division II BIIF championships and Ka Makani are looking to avenge a 27-19 loss in last season’s championship game.
The following day, Kealakehe will host reigning Division I BIIF champion Hilo. The Waveriders, led by the new regime of head coach Sam Kekuaokalani and athletic director Alan Vogt, are looking to rebound from the program’s first losing season in more than a decade.
Both division championship games are slated for the weekend of Oct. 24-25, with the Hawaii High School Athletic Association games starting Nov. 7. League officials are still working out the details for the eight-man league championship.
Crozier noted that the current schedule is subject to change, and schools have 14 days after the start date to drop a program without penalty from the league.