High school football in Hawai‘i originated at Punahou. The first football team was formed in 1890 by J.D. Wood, a Punahou teacher, and was made up of students and faculty members. Wood helped to put together a second team composed primarily of faculty from Kamehameha to provide Punahou with an opponent. For several years, Punahou took on all comers, mostly community teams that played a few games each season.
In 1903, Kamehameha and Honolulu High School (McKinley) began regular games with Punahou. These early teams frequently included recent graduates, and in some cases “seasonal” students to supplement the student players. The ILH formally organized in 1909 and enacted eligibility rules to clarify student participation. The Oahu Prep Bowl began in 1973 and featured playoffs between champions of the ILH and the OIA. The HHSAA began state championship play in 1999.