BIIF adopts divisional format for football

  • TIM WRIGHT/Tribune-Herald Hilo and Kamehameha play a cross-divisional BIIF football game in 2017. With the BIIF ADs voting for a division-only schedule next season, whether the teams are slated to play next season might hinge on if Kamehameha opts to stay in D-II.

Kohala-Hilo football – the BIIF’s version of David vs. Goliath on the gridiron – will not be coming to a venue near you in 2019.

The league’s athletic directors voted Monday to adopt a divisional scheduling alignment for next season, when the Cowboys, Ka’u and Pahoa make the leap from 8-man to form an 11-team football league.

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“The format will be divisional, but we have yet to know who is declaring for what division,” BIIF football coordinator Kalei Namohala said in a voice message to the Tribune-Herald, “hopefully we will know that by April.”

Lyle Crozier, the BIIF executive secretary, said three proposals were under consideration at the athletic director’s meeting, including a tiered approach and the play-all format that the league has used in football since 2013.

“The play-everybody format was shot down,” Crozier said.

Teams will play divisional opponents twice each in home-and-aways, a format that is workable, Hawaii Prep athletic director Stephen Perry said, if there are five Division I schools and six in Division II, or vice versa.

That would mean at least one Division II school – Konawaena, Kamehameha, Honokaa or Hawaii Prep – would have to move up to D-I, where Hilo, Kealakehe, Waiakea and Keaau reside. The former 8-man teams are headed to D-II, so the current balance is four in D-I and seven in D-II.

“At least two schools showed some interest in moving up,” Perry said. “We have until April 9 to declare divisions for football.

“We approved (divisions) at 5-6 (D-I to D-II) or 6-5. I don’t want to jinx it, but it looked good.

Perry said if no D-II members decide to move up, the issue will be “revisited.”

In that case, Crozier said a tiered format – which has been used in BIIF sports such as volleyball to separate the traditional powers from the smaller schools via red/white/blue brackets– could still be in play.

Either way, the play-all format is not on the table.

“I think they made the right choice,” Kohala coach Chad Atkins said.

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The prospect of eight-man teams such as the Cowboys, who went winless last season, playing six-time defending Division I champion Hilo next season and then having to turn around and play another big school, was a cited as a safety concern and a reason for scrapping the play-all format.

“It’s going to be a tough road regardless (for former 8-man teams),” Atkins said. “I think every school in 11-man has it over all of us.”

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