Kickoff to the 2019 Hawaii High School Football season took place this past weekend, where in a slate that saw some serious early season statements being made, perhaps the biggest victory came courtesy of a team that opened with a loss.
The Molokai Farmers made their way to the west side O’ahu on Saturday as the green-and-white were on the losing end of a 37-0 score at Nanakuli. However, the significance of that defeat was that the pride of the ‘friendly Isle’ ht the field in the program’s first 11-man football game in over 50-years as the program looks to transition from 8-man ball.
“Knowing that the team’s are slowly dwindling away from the eight man, it’s either us stepping up or there’s no more football, so we’re going with the stepping up and going and getting the 11-man,” said Molokai defensive coordinator Jason Aiana.
In the eighth season of MIL eight man football, Seabury Hall did not field a team leaving Lanai, Hana, and the Farmers.
Pahoa, Kohala, Ka’u on the Big Island were all eight man teams last year, but moved up to the Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s 11-man league for 2019.
The Farmers will play at Kamehameha-Maui this weekend before returning to 8-man league play for the remainder of the season, in hopes of making the traditional leap, full-time as early as 2020.
“In speaking with our Athletics Director, he’s going to put the proposal out there with the AD’s and the MIL. I don’t understand exactly what the process is, but he’s going to tell them that we’re interested and we’ll see what happens from that point. It would be great if we could jump to that arena next year,” said Farmers head coach Mike Kahale.
“There’s a hope. When we talk to our cos he’s about it, they say we’ll think about it and hopefully we can go out there and make that happen,” added two way lineman, junior Tofi Ah Van.
According to the team, the community is in full support of the re-classification and as the team left for O’ahu last week, was sent off by many that expressed gratitude for the efforts being made to grow the game of football in Molokai.
“They’re pretty positive. They’re pumped up, just like about all of us. This whole week has been worked up. We’re making history. We can go ahead and be competitors on the 11-man game,” said assistant coach Kirk Kiaha.
The Farmers will play their final 11-man game this weekend at Kamehameha-Maui before starting their quest at another Maui Interscholastic League title. Molokai has captured four consecutive MIL titles.
“I can’t say that I’m not excited because I am totally stoked at the moment, but having the opportunity to play here, totally humbled getting back to the game that I love, and being able to coach in the eleven man game again. Eight man has been fun, but it’s time to step up and play with the big boys,” added Aiana.