Saturday | October 21, 2017
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BIIF football: Home field advantage on the line in Hilo-Kealakehe matchup

October 7, 2017 - 12:05am

If a poll were taken on what are the best and worst BIIF football venues, it’s likely that Kealakehe’s Waverider Stadium would finish near the top and Hilo’s Wong Stadium at the bottom.

Wong Stadium wasn’t built for football. It’s a baseball stadium. The football field is set up in the outfield, and fans watch from the stands, not a good sightline from any seat.

Waverider Stadium was built for football. And there isn’t a bad seat in the house, and it’ll be packed if Kealakehe hosts the BIIF Division I championship against Hilo on Saturday, Oct. 21.

To do that, the ’Riders (4-5, 4-2 BIIF) need to upset Hilo (6-1, 5-1) at 7:20 p.m. Saturday at Wong for the right to host the title game.

If the four-time defending BIIF champion Vikings win, the championship will be played at Wong, Hilo’s designated home field.

Since losing to Konawaena (46-16) and Kamehameha (15-13), the Waveriders have won four in a row, though none of the conquered is above .500.

Saturday’s regular-season finale between Hilo and Kealakehe can’t be considered a tune-up. It’s a battle to host the BIIF championship. It’s a safe bet that the intensity will be high for both games.

The ’Riders missed a spot in the title game last season for the first time since 2011. They’ve beaten their other Division I foes, Keaau (52-6) and Waiakea (35-24), without a lot of hardship.

For Hilo, senior running back Kahale Huddleston had a productive outing in a 63-6 win over Keaau last week with four touchdowns, giving him 27 on the season.

The Vikings are well aware of what’s at stake at the HHSAA championships. It’s the second year of the three-tiered format, but this year there are no OIA teams in Division I at states.

It’s obviously an easier path for the BIIF to make history. The league is 0-18 at the Division I level at states, and Hilo is 0-6. All of the other leagues — OIA, ILH, MIL, and KIF — have won Division I state games.

Last season against Leilehua, Huddleston had a monster game with 216 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries in Hilo’s 26-25 first-round loss. That game was played at Keaau High’s stadium, likely to be voted one of the best BIIF venues.

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