While stressing that everything is still tentative as the state works toward reopening from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the Maui Interscholastic League revealed its 2021 football schedule to The Maui News on Wednesday.
The opening game is set for Aug. 20 with Lahainaluna High School hosting Maui High at Sue Cooley Stadium. Baldwin is slated to host King Kekaulike at War Memorial Stadium on Aug. 21.
Kamehameha Schools Maui is scheduled to begin its season on Aug. 28 against Maui High at War Memorial Stadium.
The MIL will allow scrimmages between league teams, but will not play any non-league preseason games.
“They worked real hard,” MIL president Jamie Yap, the principal at Maui High, said of the league’s athletic directors on Wednesday morning. “The delay was meant to help the public have a better idea of when and what time the games are going to be played. Everything is still subject to change, but we put it on paper as if the games were this coming Friday and Saturday.”
War Memorial Stadium, a Maui County facility, is set to host eight games; there will be four games apiece at Cooley and King Kekaulike stadiums, both Department of Education facilities; and four games will be played at Kamehameha Maui’s Kanaiaupuni Stadium, a private facility.
All eight games at War Memorial are on Saturdays and the times for those games were not announced — under current county rules, the stadium is only open for use from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“If present rules apply, for example, the county facility is from 7 to 7, the amount of people is 200,” Yap said. “The DOE didn’t determine any (limitations) of its sites and its facilities today as we speak, that’s basically any guidelines in regards to the time, if we can play in the evening or not.
“I think we may have put down in the evening, but we’re still not set on that because that’s still subject to change and so is the number of people in a DOE facility versus a private facility like Kamehameha Schools.”
Yap continued, “I think the agreement is that whatever it is for the DOE is what the private schools will follow, so it’s consistent.”
With so many checks and balances still to be weighed, Yap said the journey to get the MIL football schedule released was not an easy road.
“With that being said, we’re still crossing our fingers with playing a game because there’s still outstanding guidance for playing the games,” Yap said. “Now, we put everything in place to play a game and the guidance and the guidelines for a football game has not been sent out yet. … We expect certain things to be the same and a couple things to be different, so as best we can we’re preparing to play.”
Yap said that limited play on Oahu — for both the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and Oahu Interscholastic Association — during the recently completed spring season will likely be a blueprint for plans going forward.
“The ILH and OIA played during the pandemic, so there is some guidance, it’s just that we’re waiting for it to be statewide guidance so all the leagues know, but that hasn’t come yet,” Yap said. “We’re still waiting for the (state Department of Health) on that.”
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association released tentative state tournament and state sport start dates on June 25. Yap said that HHSAA Executive Director Chris Chun is working behind the scenes to ensure sports start on schedule this fall after being shut down statewide due to the pandemic since March 2020.
“I know Chris Chun and everybody above us is working real hard to get the DOH to come out or put it on paper so we can get started,” Yap said. “We’re waiting for the green light and the person to push the green light is the governor. Once that starts to trickle down, it gets easier for everybody else to do certain things.”
Yap warned that even with MIL football teams currently conducting conditioning drills, the start of the season is still tentative.
“Setting up a game and a date is not as hard as trying to deal with everyday practice and what happens day to day,” Yap said. “So I think the day-to-day operations and getting athletes on and off campus and working through those details is going to be a little more stressful.”
Yap is proceeding cautiously.
“We’re asking people to be patient and to buy into the process. You and I know people who may want to shortcut some of the processes, but these steps do make sense,” he said. “So, we’re trying to avoid any (problems) as best we can so we all get equal footing. We’re trying to do things the best we can so there’s no one clear advantage to one school versus the others.
“We’re trying to stay within the guidelines as best we can to support our athletes so they don’t get hurt. It’s been a while since we had competition, so having them healthy to compete is really important.”
* Robert Collias is at [email protected].
2021 MIL Football Schedule
Friday, Aug. 20
Maui High at Lahainaluna, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 21
Baldwin vs. King Kekaulike at War Memorial Stadium, time TBA
Friday, Aug. 27
Lahainaluna at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 28
Maui High vs. Kamehameha Maui at War Memorial Stadium, time TBA
Friday, Sept. 3
King Kekaulike at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 4
Baldwin vs. Lahainaluna at War Memorial Stadium, time TBA
Friday, Sept. 10
Maui High at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 11
Baldwin vs. Kamehameha Maui at War Memorial Stadium, time TBA
Saturday, Sept. 18
Maui High vs. Baldwin at War Memorial Stadium, time TBA
Kamehameha Maui at Lahainaluna, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 24
Baldwin at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 25
Maui High vs. Lahainaluna at War Memorial Stadium, time TBA
Friday, Oct. 1
Maui High at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 2
King Kekaulike at Lahainaluna, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 8
Kamehameha Maui at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 9
Baldwin at Lahainaluna, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 15
Baldwin at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 16
Maui High vs. King Kekaulike at War Memorial Stadium, time TBA
Friday, Oct. 22
Lahainaluna at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 23
Baldwin vs. Maui High at War Memorial Stadium, time TBA
Friday, Oct. 29
Division I playoff, if necessary
Saturday, Oct. 30
Division II playoff, if necessary
Note: JV games are at 4:30 p.m. if varsity game is scheduled for 7 p.m.