Flag footballers ready to take the field

More than 600 keiki are waiting for Saturday. That’s the number that Gracie Grace, president of the Lihu‘e Pop Warner Association estimates is part of the flag football program island-wide.

The flag football players and cheerleaders are part of the Kaua‘i Police Activities League flag football program that covers Anahola to Hanapepe.

Playing in three divisions, the first game kicks off starting at 8 a.m. at the soccer fields at Vidinha Stadium and continues until the final game starts at 1 p.m. Divisions include the Bobcats, Wildcats, Cubs and the Enforcers. Spectators will have their choice of action as games will be played on four fields at the same time.

Anahola and Lihu‘e kick off the games in the Enforcers division starting at 8 a.m.

“This is one of the new facets of the flag football program,” said Lihu‘e coach Glenn Rodero Sr. “They started it last year for ages 13-15. This year, they expanded it to include 13 to 17 year olds.”

Rodero said this older division is played on a 7-on-7 format and there is no rush, or running of the ball. Essentially, it’s a pass-only game.

“Unfortunately, there’re only two divisions that have the older players,” Jon Takamura, the Lihu‘e head coach said. “But, we’re the defen,ding champions from last year where we finished undefeated.” Anahola is the other district that will field an Enforcers team.

New to Lihu‘e’s Enforcers program is the addition of three girls — Jordyn Zeffiro, Shay Orial and Angelica Camarillo who were out practicing with the boys.

“It’s good to see that girls have an opportunity to play, too,” Rodero said.

Earlier, there was some concern over whether or not the flag football program would become a reality, but once K-PAL official Mark Ozaki gave the word, practice began in earnest in preparation for tomorrow’s opening games.

“Let the kids have fun, stay off the streets and out of trouble,” Ozaki said in an e-mail that was sent to parents, coaches and the media on May 18. “Let the kids know that K-PAL loves them and this league was created for them.”

Ozaki said he will let the adults worry about the politics and let the kids have positive fun.

There is no charge to view the games.

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