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Keaukaha Pop Warner


by: Fred Ellamar 

Pop Warner football consists of three divisions:  Mighty Mites, PeeWees and Midgets.  Ages range from 7 to 15 years of age with a weight requirement to be recruited.  In the Midgets division the age range is from 12-15 years of age, with a weight of 105 to 160 pounds. 

The Midgets division consists of 8 teams spread throughout the Big Island, from the East to the West.  The Keaukaha Warriors Midgets are from the East side of the island and is comprised of three 9th graders, who are first year players.  The rest of the team consists of 8th graders, most of whom are first year players.  This team is very young, and you might say “inexperienced”.  However, “inexperienced” they are not!  So far they are 5-0 in the season, with only three games left to play. 

This team plays hard and with a lot of heart.  They will “never say die or give up”.  They make “prayer” a part of their warm-up before every game.  At a recent game played against Kohala in the pouring rain, they proved their toughness and never gave up.  The score was 0-0 at half-time.  It was a defensive game, with a lot of fumble turnovers.  A safety (2 points) came in the third quarter as the Warriors pushed Kohala into their own end zone for the 2-pointer.   

There were a few injuries on both sides, including the Warriors captain/quarterback (Drew Kell) who suffered a shoulder injury and was taken to the ER during the game.  Without their captain/leader, the Warriors pushed forward and said “no way, even without our leader will we be defeated!” 

It was nip and tuck in the 3rd quarter.  Finally, late in the 4th quarter, Kohala got the ball deep in Warrior territory.  The Warriors demonstrated their goal line stance.  Down on the 7-yard line, Kohala sent their running back off to the left side and there was the Warriors cornerback, Aven Kualii, who came up with a hard hit and jarred the ball loose.  Speedster, Shannon Nihipali, the tough  running back picked up the loose ball and went the entire distance for the touchdown!  The roar of the cheering Keaukaha crowd on the sidelines, running the distance with the ball carrier to the end zone was a sight to see!  With that, the score was 8-0 as time ran out, making it their 5th win with no loss.  Victory again for the Warriors!  This victory put the Warriors in the undisputed position of first place with three games remaining in regular season play. 

On Nov. 15, 2009, the Warriors captured the Big Island Crown  with an 8-1-1 record. 

Members: of the Keaukaha Midgets are:

Kentzin Santos    Aven Kualii   James McBraun

Phil Aganus    Shane Picanco   Kain Kawailima

Buddy Longakit   Keanu Esser   A.J.Costales

Byron Cachola    Albert Lapera   Timmy Burke

Shannon Nihipali   Kaleo Mahi   Keanu Shimaoka

Michael Victor    Robert Ribordy  Matthew Chun

James Sloan    Isaiah Victor   Caleb Ellamar

Kingsley Wong   Drew Kell   Kyle Miyasato

Tyler Mahoe    Josiah Acang   Austin Perreira

Kaiden Ogawa 

Head Coach:  Calavin Crum 

Asst. Coaches:  David Kell, Andrew Chun, Marshall Kanehailua,       Mitsuo Nakamoto, Sam Kaeo, Emosi Sevao 

Team Moms:  Avis Yoshioka, Bambi Picanco, Rena Ahuna 

Author’s Notes:

      1. The Keaukaha Warriors Midgets are truly a hard hitting team.

      2. They showed their “never say die”  attitude when they lost their captain due to injury against Kohala before the first half of the game.

      3.The intensity of “defense” in a lot of sports wins games and this is

no exception with this team.

      4. Their coaches have taught them well in all phases of the sport. Even as first year players, their “inexperience”  made it into an “experience”  for them with  a 5-0 record. 

      5. In life, victories will come when you work hard, have a good attitude, and put your heart and soul in whatever you undertake.

      6. Even without a leader, all things are possible to become victorious if your “heart is in whatever you are trying to accomplish”.  This team has proved it!   

Imua Warriors!! 


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