Castle was supposed to travel to Vidinha Stadium next Friday to face Waimea in the HHSAA State quarterfinals.
Now that they’re not, we can all breath a sigh of relief.
And so can they.
The Knights, after blanking the Kailua Surfriders 25-0 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association’s championship game Friday night, has avoided having to take the dreaded 20-minute flight to a clandestine town in Hawaii known as Lihue, where the no-longer-undervalued Menehune football program has made a habit of welcoming teams with leis and sending them home with losses.
Castle went there last year and fell 41-20. Kailua, the lucky winner of plane tickets to the Garden Isle this year, lost 20-18 in 1999.
Any team to take that trip brings along with it an evasive vulnerability, but you still have to wonder. Which would the Menehune rather play in the quarterfinals?
Why they would have wanted Castle: A short roster, an undersized team, an offense which averages less than 200 total yards a game and a team clearly beatable with three losses this season.
Why they wouldn’t have wanted Castle: In a way, Castle stole Waimea’s identity during the OIA playoffs. With a short roster and little expectation, the Knights beat Kaimuki, Farrington and Kailua 65-16 to capture an unlikely title. They’ve done it on defense all season long and played mistake-free football. The Knights held the Surfriders, who average 218 yards rushing per game, to just 43 yards on the ground. The Menenhune certaintly wouldn’t want the Knights to do that to their running game, which makes for 90-percent of their offense.
Why they want Kailua: Any team that can fold in the most important game of the season would be a good pick for the Menehune, especially if the loss meant a trip to Kaua’i.
Why they don’t want Kailua: It’s not fun to lose the biggest game of the season, and the Surfriders aren’t pleased. After the Knights held them to just 66 yards of offense, Kailua will have one thing to prove: That their average of 445 total yards per game this season – including one game where they amassed 602 yards – is no fluke. The loss was only their second of the season. The last time they played Castle, the Surfriders won 20-0.
As it turns out, Waimea has no choice. The big Kailua running offense is coming to town on Friday, and the Menehune will spend this week in intense preparation.