Na Alii Forfeits Game With Sabers Due to Illness, Injury
By Rodney S. Yap
The King Kekaulike High School football team was prepared to play Maui High tonight, despite having only 23 eligible players said Na Alii head coach Kyle Sanches.
“It wasn’t our call to make. We were prepared to play and we were ready to play. We had 23 players and we were going to play with those 23 players,” the coach today.
“It was an administrative decision. PK (Higa) met with (Blane) Gaison and (Joe) Balangitao and they made the decision based on the MIL rule. That’s not a state rule, that’s a league rule.
“The decision was made late Thursday night. When we finished practice on Thursday we thought we were playing on Saturday. Once we found out we tried to call all the players and parents, but it was late and unfortunately some of our players found out through the media the next day.”
Because of the low number of eligible players, King Kekaulike Athletic Director PK Higa contacted MIL Football Coordinator Blane Gaison, who is also Kamehameha Maui’s athletic director, about forfeiting Saturday’s scheduled game with unbeaten Maui High.
Maui Interscholastic League Executive Director Joe Balangitao said when he called Higa Thursday night he said due to “injuries and illness” Na Alii will not be able to meet the league-mandated minimum number of 25 players and will have to forfeit this week’s game as a result.
“We have some sick and some injured players,” Sanches confirmed. “While we are going to be week to week, I don’t foresee us having any problems once those injured and sick players come back and we expect quite a few of them to return next week.”
With the loss, King Kekaulike is now 0-5. The team is scheduled to host Kamehameha Maui on Saturday, Oct. 3.
Meanwhile, the school’s junior varsity team will play Maui High today as scheduled at King Kekaulike Stadium, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
“Although I would rather lose 70-0 before forfeiting a game,” added Sanches. “I understand why it has to be done. It’s a safety issue and our administration is doing their best to protect our players — and I’m OK with that.”
Maui High’s coaching staff also got word late Thursday evening. One assistant coach said the team was disappointed it was not going to get a chance to play after “a great week of practice.”
Balangitao also told The Maui News that Kihei Charter School has pulled the plug on its eight-player season due to lack of players available. He received an email from coach James Sparke, who is also the school’s athletic director, earlier this week saying that the Tiger Sharks’ season is over.
Kihei Charter School was scheduled to play a game on Lanai today.
In the only MIL varsity game this weekend, Lahainaluna rallied to defeat Kamehameha Maui 20-14 Friday night at Kanaiaupuni Stadium.