No 8-man football in BIIF; only 11-man in 2019

All 8-man football teams in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation will play 11-man football for the 2019 season, league coordinator Kalei Namohala confirmed Wednesday.

The three teams moving up to 11-man football are Pahoa, Kau and Kohala, which gives the BIIF eleven 11-man football teams.

Namohala said the decision came after Pahoa declared its intention to play 11-man at the BIIF's monthly athletic director meeting on Tuesday. When Pahoa announced its plans, the other two schools decided to join the Daggers in the move because that would have left only two teams in the BIIF's 8-man league — one short of the three teams needed to form a league, Namohala said.

Pahoa's 8-man football program started in 2014, according to athletic director Hoku Haliniak. Before that, the last time the Daggers fielded a football team was believed to be in 1999, according to a Big Island Now report.

Pahoa athletic director Hoku Haliniak said making the move back to 11-man football was always a goal for the program.

"We set goals for all our sports at Pahoa. Football's goal was to return to 11-man. With the blessing of our principal Ms. Darlene Bee, everything is beginning to fall in place and that goal is a reality."

Pahoa coach Chris Midel, who has led the 8-man program since it started in 2014, echoed Haliniak's thoughts.

"When we started, the goal was to bring football back to Pahoa," said Midel. "Eight-man was the beginning and the end goal was to go into 11-man after four seasons."

For the other two BIIF 8-man schools making the jump, the last time either fielded a 11-man team was in 2012, when the league separated regular season play based on division. From 2013 to 2018, all eight 11-man teams played a single round-robin schedule with each team playing each other once during the regular season, regardless of division classification.

Namohala said the format and schedule for the BIIF's 2019 football season is still to be determined. As it stands, the move would give the BIIF four Division I teams and seven Division II teams.

She added that teams in D2 do have an option to move up if they desire.

"The bigger schools have to go to Division I no matter what, but the smaller schools have the choice if they want to," said Namohala.

Before the three 8-man teams decided to make the jump, the BIIF already had the second-most 11-man football member schools out of the five leagues in the state — the Oahu Interscholastic Association has the most with 22.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].



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