Umu’s crusade ends up with high honors

At 6 feet 3 inches and 280 lbs., Kapa’a’s Kamalu Umu was born to play football, but because of his size, he was ruled out of Pop Warner competition.

“He had a dream to play football, but he was just too big to play youth football,” his mom Marlo Alaipalalei (Reno) said.

The Kapa’a Elementary and Intermediate School student followed his dreams all the way to the top of the state in prep football.

Recently, Umu earned first-team Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) honors on defense for St. Louis School.

He was also awarded the defensive lineman of the year honor by his coaches.

“Kaua’i players like Enoch McKeague, Bronson Carvalho, Ikaika Curnan, Makana Mardonada, and Troy Esera motivated me and paved the way for my success,” Umu said.

And instead of unwrapping presents on Christmas Day, Umu will be dismantling opposing players in the Samoa Bowl in American Samoa.

Players were selected from schools throughout the state and will be coached by Kahuku’s Siuaki Livai.

After the Samoa Bowl, Umu looks to continue playing football at the next level.

“My college selection is still pending,” Umu said.

He is the son of Marlo Alaipalalei (Reno) and Malu Umu.

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