Prep administrators adopt new OT rule for state football

As expected, Hawaii’s high school athletic administrators adopted a new football overtime rule Thursday on the Big Island.

Now, if a state tournament game is tied after two OTs, teams must go for the 2-point conversion after touchdowns instead of the option of the extra-point kick or the 2-point pass or run. Since there is less of a chance of making 2 than 1, there is also less chance games will be extended like the Lahainaluna vs. Konawaena contest in November 2017. Even though the Lunas’ 75-69 D-II state title victory was one of the most thrilling games in state history, it went seven OTs and put strain on players, fans and organizers. It was part of a tripleheader that started at 2 p.m. and ended at 1:04 a.m. the next day.

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Wildcats head coach Brad Uemoto thinks the new rule is an overreaction.

“Historically, there haven’t been many overtime games in the state championship era and (less) making it past the third overtime,” he said by phone Thursday.

“The chances of something like what happened last year happening again are very minimal. Kicking an extra point in high school is a pretty tough play to follow through on. It’s more automatic in college. It just so happens that we had two good kickers, two good long snappers and two good holders. Usually, one team will miss.”

Uemoto is not against the legislation.

“I can see that nobody wants a high school football game to end that late,” he said. “It’s a safety issue. You don’t want people driving home at that hour. It will still be exciting. The 2-point conversion is also an exciting play. On the flip side, we laugh about it now, but with the new rules, that record (seven-overtime game) will last pretty long.”

The OT rule passed by a 97-0 general assembly vote at the 58th annual Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. It then got final approval by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board.

Of the 45 HIADA measures discussed, 17 received HHSAA board approval.

Some of the defeated items were:

•Adding Division II boys and girls races at the cross country state meet.

•Adding a non-championship race at the cross country state meet, giving runners who don’t qualify for the big race one more chance to compete.

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•Adding the 4×800 relay to the track and field state meet.

•Allowing the seventh- and eighth-place medalists to earn team points at the track and field state meet.•Adding a rest day in between the trials and finals at the track and field state meet, which is called for in National Federation of State High School Associations guidelines.•Determining state tournament seeds in all sports on a rotational basis by league rather than by a committee;•Holding the boys soccer D-I states on Maui in 2020 and the girls soccer D-I states there in 2021.