By JOE FERRARO
Hilo vs. Waiakea, 7:30 p.m. today
These neighborhood rivals will spend a lot of time at Wong Stadium over the next two weeks.
Today, the Vikings (3-2 BIIF Division I, 5-2 overall) and Warriors (2-3, 3-5) will battle each other after a 5 p.m. junior varsity game between the schools, with the teams earning either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the BIIF Division I playoffs.
However, because both teams call Wong Stadium home, seeding means nothing, with the contest merely serving as a tuneup for an Oct. 19 BIIF semifinal that takes place at 7 p.m.
The outcome of the last game between the teams wasn’t determined until the final minute, as Hilo stopped Waiakea on two consecutive fourth-and-goal plays — a Vikings penalty on the first led to the Warriors’ second opportunity — to earn a 21-14 win on Sept. 21.
Vikings quarterback Drew Kell did a little bit of everything in the victory, throwing for 197 yards and two touchdowns and running for 109 yards and another score. The junior leads the BIIF in completion percentage at 60 percent (74 of 123), having thrown for 738 yards and eight touchdowns with three interceptions.
That contest started a three-game stretch in which the Vikings have allowed only 11.3 points per game — including only 14 to high-powered Kealakehe in a 14-6 loss last Saturday.
Waiakea comes off a 25-8 win over Keaau in which dual-threat senior quarterback Kean Wong threw for two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores.
For the season, Wong has completed 26 of 43 passes for 518 yards and seven touchdown passes — senior wideout Dayton Kiko has caught five of them — with five interceptions.
Konawaena at Ka‘u, 7 p.m. today
The Trojans (2-5 BIIF Division II, 2-5 overall) scored their first points of the regular season last Saturday in a 70-30 loss to Hawaii Prep.
However, Ka‘u faces the unenviable task of facing a Konawaena defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown since a 49-13 home win over Honokaa on Sept. 1.
Thanks in large part to linemen Kawika Kealoha and Laimana Grace, and linebackers Mikey Rabara and Evyn Yamaguchi, Konawaena (6-1, 6-4) has outscored its BIIF opponents 319-26.
Meanwhile, a Wildcats’ offense that struggled to find consistency against Kamehameha two weeks ago in a 16-3 home win got back on track in a 49-10 road victory over Honokaa.
Junior quarterback Lii Karratti, who has thrown for 1,908 yards and 30 touchdowns, has three different receivers who have caught 15 passes or more in Domonic Morris (26 receptions), Chase Takaki (21) and Kenan Gaspar (19).
Morris and Gaspar have caught 11 and eight touchdown passes respectively, while senior running back John Kamoku (598 rushing yards, 14 TDs) has averaged one rushing touchdown for every five times he carries the football.
Keaau at Kealakehe, 7:30 p.m. today
The Waveriders (5-0, 7-1) wrapped up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a 14-6 win over Hilo at Wong Stadium last Saturday.
Kealakehe’s opponent today is the same team the Waveriders will face on Oct. 20 in a 7 p.m. BIIF semifinal at Kealakehe: Keaau (0-5, 0-7).
Behind their thunder-and-lightning combination of David Fangupo and Lennox Jones, respectively, Kealakehe came from behind to beat the Vikings. For the season, Jones has rushed for 643 yards and four touchdown, while the 348-pound Fangupo has rumbled for 397 yards and six scores.
Meanwhile, the Waveriders defense has allowed just 18 points in their past two games after giving up 20 points or more in each of their first three league games.
In the last meeting between the teams, the Waveriders defeated the Cougars 34-22 on the road Sept. 22 behind 197 rushing yards from Giuseppi Zapataoliva.
Honokaa at Kamehameha, 1 p.m. Saturday
Both teams feature formidable running attacks, and both will try to bounce back from losses to defending BIIF Division II champion Konawaena.
The Dragons (5-2 BIIF Division II, 6-3 overall) revamped their offense two weeks ago, moving sophomore Sione Epenesa from fullback to quarterback and giving senior running back Michael Higaki more carries. The result: 110 passing yards from Epenesa and 275 rushing yards from the team.
However, Honokaa managed just 93 yards of total offense against the Wildcats last Friday.
Physical senior running back Justen Kawamoto still proved reliable in the loss, running through several tackles to gain many of his 78 yards.
The Dragons will face a Warriors defense that has been particularly stingy defending the run. Linemen Kaipo Woolsey, J.J. Fujimoto and Timmy Burke, who often make tackles behind the line of scrimmage, lead a defense that allowed just 97 yards of offense against Konawaena and yield just 6.9 points per game.
The Warriors (5-1, 8-1) have their own punishing runner in junior Ina Teofilo, who has rushed for 628 yards and four touchdowns. Konawaena limited him to 46 yards on 15 carries as Kamehameha fared slightly better running out of the wildcat formation with Shaun Kagawa.
The senior, who has rushed for 337 yards and four touch downs on just 50 carries, has hurt opposing defenses with his speed by breaking off big runs. In the last meeting between the Warriors and Dragons — a 19-15 Kamehameha win — he capped the scoring with a 58-yard touchdown run.
Along with Kawamoto, linebacker Wayne Vaoga and defensive lineman Jeron Ramos swarm to the football well while defending the run.