BIIF football: League to show more mercy, moves 35-point running clock up to include first half

  • TIM WRIGHT/Tribune-Herald Kamehameha's Taylor Eckart intercepts a pass intended for Pahoa's Duke Palma and returns it for a touchdown Aug. 29 during a 60-6 Warriors' victory that under the BIIF's new mercy rule – adopted this week by the league's athletic directors - would have gone to a running clock in the first quarter. Instead of waiting until half time, running time will be implemented as soon as a game's point differential reaches 35 points.

As Hilo’s football team put up points on the scoreboard Saturday against Waiakea at a lightning-quick speed, the first-half clock, alternatively, moved at its regular pace.

To many onlookers, time seemed to move much slower.

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At the half, the Vikings had scored 83 points en route to a record-setting 104-0 win, but BIIF athletic directors acted quickly to help ensure a repeat of the league’s worst blowout won’t happen again. They voted earlier this week to amend the mercy rule. A running clock will be implemented immediately once a 35-point differential is reached in a game, not just in the second half as under the previous rule.

There have been two games this season where running time could have been instituted in the first quarter. In addition to Saturday’s blowout, the most lopsided first-quarter score occurred Aug. 29 when Kamehameha led 47-0 against Pahoa. In the second quarter, the Warriors elected to kick a field goal on first-and-goal rather than pursue another touchdown.

In both of those games, officials used a true running clock in the second half, waiving the normal mercy rule criteria in which time is only stopped in four instances – SPIT (scoring, penalties, injuries and timeout).

BIIF football coordinator Kalei Namohala, the athletic director at Ka’u High, said Wednesday that games could continue to be played with the running clock not stopping if agreed upon by both schools’ administrators.

For Waiakea’s part, coach Neil Azevedo and his captains reacted to the adjusted mercy rule with indifference.

“I don’t care,” Azevedo said, “doesn’t matter to me. My main thing is these boys.”

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Still, the unevenness in the league this season was apparent well before Hilo became the first BIIF team to reach triple digits. Of the 17 games played between BIIF teams, including two nonleague contests, 14 have been played under the mercy rule.

“The state of the BIIF it is what it is,” Hilo coach Kaeo Drummondo said after Saturday’s game. “It’s unfortunate the scores that we’re having. The depth issue is everywhere, so it’s not like we have anybody else to put in when the scores get out of control.”

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