While thousands of college students were flooding the beaches in Cancun, Mexico and at Fort Lauderdale, Florida two Washington Husky football players were spending time talking with local youth about what it takes to play at the Division I collegiate level.
Former Big Island Interscholastic Federation football standouts Kalani Aldrich and Semisi Tokolahi were in Hilo during the past week as they took a break from studies from the University of Washington where they are scholarship athletes.
Upon return to Hilo both Aldrich and Tokolahi were contacted by Coach Frank Baker and recruited to make the rounds at Hilo and Waiakea High, along with some various Pop Warner football teams to speak with the younger people.
“We talked to high school kids about the need to go through the NCAA Clearing House, that as students they need to aim for a 3.0 grade point average, and they need to learn about time management, study habits and accountability,” Baker said.
“Every time I come back home I try to help the community and helping Coach Baker was just part of showing kids that they can make it to the Division I level,” Aldrich said. “I wanted to let them know that education is important in playing at the college level. If they have any dreams of playing college ball they need to do good in school and work hard.”
Aldrich, a 2007 Kamehameha-Keaau graduate, saw limited action during the 2009 season with the Huskies due to a knee injury he suffered in preseason camp.
“I tweaked my knee during preseason and only got to play in seven of the 12 games during the season as we didn’t want to risk further injury,” Aldrich said.
The 6’ 7”, 260 pound, defensive lineman, wearing number 50 (his high school number) Aldrich has worked hard to keep his spot on the team and maintain a good grade point average in school.
“Playing Division I football is a good experience and it’s fun,” Aldrich said. “At Washington I take full advantage of the tutoring and other help given to us because college is way harder than high school.”
Former Hilo High football star Semisi Tokolahi was the Division I Player of the year as a senior in 2009, gained a full scholarship to attend the University of Washington where he saw playing time in his freshman year.
“They’re all a lot bigger and a lot faster in college,” Tokolahi (who is 6’ 3” and 320 pounds) said. “It was a big adjustment for me as I’m all on my own and everything depends on how much you want it.”
Tokolahi saw limited action with the Huskies but has an optimistic attitude about fitting in and improving.
“I actually got to play in five games and was on special team duty in a couple other games,” Tokolahi said. “Seattle is such a big city and the University has an enormous campus. Some classes have 600 students and it can be overwhelming at times, especially for someone from little Hilo.”
“College is fun and there are many doors that opened for me,” Tokolahi said. “At times there is a lot of pressure with football and school and not being home.”
During his Spring Break Tokolahi wanted to get the important messages of staying drug free and studying hard to allow the opportunity to play collegiate sports.
“The message we sent to those kids that we spoke with was, if we can do it so can they,” Tokolahi said. “We sent positive messages about education and being a leader on and off the field.”
The University of Washington emphasizes several rules to their players, which include: #1 Protecting the Team, #2 Be on time (which means 10 minutes early) and #3 No excuses.
“The demands of playing at the Division I level are extreme and there are severe consequences for breaking team rules,” Aldrich said.
Aldrich and Tokolahi have left for Washington over the weekend and will resume classes on Monday and report to Spring Football Practice on Tuesday.
“We’re looking forward to getting back and studying in the classroom and working hard at practice,” Aldrich said.
“Semisi (Tokolahi) and Kalani (Aldrich) also talked about drug and alcohol use and to stay off steroids and street drugs,” Coach Baker said. “All the time these guys (prep kids wanting to play college sports) work at being a 3.0 student so that they can become smart, then why use drugs or drink to become stupid?”
Baker, who has been a coach at several BIIF football schools which includes Pahoa, Kamehameha and Hilo, wanted to expose young people to the many important aspects of getting ahead in sports which are beyond just being a talented athlete.
“I’ve been a volunteer coach for many years and my paybacks are seeing these young Big Island boys turn into men who are able to be leaders in our community,” Baker said.
First Round Score Update
Division I (at Kealakehe H.S., Big Island)
Farrington - 48
#4 Honokaa - 16 (final)
Division I (at War Memorial Stadium, Maui)
#3 Baldwin - 12 (final)
Division II (at Aiea H.S.)
#4 Lahainaluna - 12
Aiea - 20 (final)
Division II (at Moanalua H.S.)
Hawaii Prep - 17
#3 Moanalua - 14 (final)
Can Honokaa get past Farrington in round one of the HHSAA football championship?
FARRINGTON LEADS 14-0 AT THE END OF THE FIRST QUARTER!
The Dragons host the Governors on Friday at 7 pm in Kealakehe. The winner of that game will go on to face number one ranked, Kahuku, at Aloha Stadium.
2009 First Hawaiian Bank Football State Championships – Division I
November 20, 27 & December 4, 2009
Presented by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association
|Friday, November 20
|Friday, November 27
|Friday, December 4
It took overtime for Kealakehe to pull out a narrow victory against a tough Hilo team 20-14.
Hilo played hardnosed, inspired football in their homecoming game against Kealakehe held Saturday at Wong Stadium.
A crowd of nearly 2500 was treated to a great first half defensive battle between the titan of Big Island Interscholastic football Kealakehe (2-0 in Division I).
The Vikings, (0-2) gave everything they could to dismantle the potent air Waverider offense holding quarterback, Jacob Ontiveros to just one completion in six attempts during the first half and preventing Kealakehe from any offensive scores.
The Waveriders only first half touchdown came at the hands of the defense when a bad snap to Viking punter, Christian Daog, led to a fumble recovery and run in for an eight yard touchdown by Haku Kapule.
Kapule, a defensive linebacker, played stellar defense for the Waveriders in the first half as the 190 pound senior helped shut down the Vikings running game.
But Hilo would not be out done and came roaring back following the Waverider score with quarterback Kamaka Lewis leading the way throwing and running.
The big play came when Lewis hit wide receiver Jesse Gonzales with a 28-yard pass bringing the ball down to the Kealakehe one. From there Lewis quarterback sneak up the middle and Daog’s point after put Hilo ahead at the half.
With 40 seconds to go in the half the Vikings was forced to punt deep in their own territory, but the Hilo coaching staff caught everyone by surprise when Daog took the ball then ran wide right for 15-yards and a first down.
In the second half Kealakehe used a no huddle offense and almost exclusively went to their star running back Justin DeSilva.
During the third quarter DeSilva carried the ball 12 times, breaking tackles and racking up yardage, but Hilo rose to the occasion and shut him and the Waveriders down.
In the fourth quarter Kealakehe again went back to their big play running back and DeSilva delivered for the Waveriders. DeSilva took a pass in the middle of the field and ran the ball in for a 15-yard score to put the Waveriders ahead.
Hilo came right back on their next position with Lewis connecting on two big pass plays to Gonzales for 25 and 20-yards bringing the ball down to the Kealakehe 40-yard before the drive stalled.
Kealakehe took over possession and was moving the ball until Ontiveros fumbled and gave the ball back to Hilo on the Viking 40-yard line.
Hilo looked primed for the major upset with 3:10 left on the clock the Vikings methodically was moving the ball, with the aid by two interference penalties on Kealakehe driving the ball down to the ‘Rider 29-yard line.
In dramatic fashion Waverider linebacker, Kapule, stepped up and intercepted a Lewis pass on the Kealakehe 5-yard line.
Looking to just run out the clock with 1:33 left in the game the Waveriders made a critical mistake and fumbled on the 2 to set up Hilo.
In two plays and with Lewis sneaking up the middle for the TD all that was left was for Daog to make the tying kick to tie the game at 14.
In overtime Hilo had the ball first, but was shut down when Kapule again stepped up and intercepted another Viking pass.
The ball was then giving to Kealakehe on the Hilo 20-yard line and on the second play Ontiveros connected on a 20-yard end zone strike to Dominick Trevino to preserve the win for the Waveriders.
Kealakehe DeSilva ended the game with 22 rushes for 96 years and one reception, a 15 for a 15-yard TD.
Hilo’s Jesse Gonzales had a good night with seven receptions for 89-yards.
Kealakeke defeated Hilo 21-0 in the junior varisty game.
From Wong Stadium:
Hilo 0 7 0 7 0 - 14
Kealakehe 0 6 0 8 6 - 20
K – Haku Kapule 8 yard fumble recovery (kick failed), 8:59
H – Kamaka Lewis 1 yard run (Christian Daog kick), 2:03
K – Justin DeSilva 15 yard pass/run from Jacob Ontiveros (DeSilva run) 10:35
H – Lewis 1 yard run (Daog kick), :42
K – Dominick Trevino 20 yard pass from Ontiveros