'Iolani still anxiously working for first win since move to ILH - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

'Iolani still anxiously working for first win since move to ILH Division 1

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

When the ILH's Division 2 Champion is crowned this fall, it will be the first time in nearly a dozen years that the championship trophy doesn't pass through the hands of 'Iolani's Wendell Look.

This summer, the ILH put into practice a rule that mandated any team which played beneath Division One and won its division for two consecutive years move up to the next highest division. 'Iolani, winners of not only 11 straight division titles but 8 state championships since 2003, now plays full time in the ILH's toughest ranks. 

"I talked with the kids, and they were very strong about giving it a shot, about playing division one," head coach Wendell Look told Hawaii News Now. "I think they wanted to see where they stood, and if they could compete at that level."

Division One in the ILH features three of the states top five teams. Punahou and Saint Louis are ranked 1 and 2, respectively, while Kamehameha is the state's fifth-ranked division one program. The level of competition made stepping up to the next level a huge challenge, one 'Iolani's players say they welcomed.

"We were all excited," said senior offensive lineman Devin Ide, who helped the Raiders defeat Lahainaluna in 2014 to win the division two state championship. "This is our chance to prove to everyone that we do belong in division one."

Proving themselves hasn't been easy in 2015. After their second loss this season to the Crusaders of Kalaepohaku last week, the Raiders remain winless in league play this season, but have been quick to embrace their role as underdogs.

"It motivates us," said senior linebacker Christian Naeole, who scored a touchdown on a 79-yard fumble return in Friday's game. "It keeps us going, that people don't expect us to win. We're striving out here to prove them wrong."

For all his success as a high school football coach, Coach Look says he's been particularly impacted by this team's response to the challenges of tougher competition in the ILH.

"As a coach, I can't be more proud of these guys and how they've accepted this challenge," Look said. "Once they decided that's what we were gonna do, they put their minds to it, and there hasn't been any excuses, any regrets on their part." 

"They come out every week on Monday and work harder and harder every day."

His players say the reward for their hard work is coming, and that its simply a matter of when.

"It's gonna feel like... All that hard work that you've put in, all that extra sweat, work in the weight room, on the field, everywhere... It's gonna pay off in the end," Ide said. "And it's gonna feel great."

'Iolani plays Kamehameha at home on Friday afternoon.

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