Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 |
Share this story
LIHUE — The weeks of training and conditioning will be tested as the Kauai Pop Warner Football League unveils its 7-on-7 spring football program on March 5.
“We’re blessed to be able to do something different,” said KPWFL president Teddy Arroyo who also doubles as an assistant coach with the Lihue Patriots. “For 53 years, Pop Warner football has been playing on Kauai. It is time for a different vision. There are so many different opportunities for our youth and we are proud to be able to bring them to our youth.”
The Lihue Patriots are one of three KPWFL squads in training for the 7-on-7 program which will feature seven-person squads with no weight restrictions.
Jason Apilado is the head coach for the Lihue program and will be joined by Kyle Linoz leading the Hanapepe Colts and Kelii Aguiar leading the Kekaha Titans. There are 19 players on the Lihue team, including Sophie Christian, the only girl in the 7-on-7 program. Hanapepe has 18 players and Kekaha has about 18 players. All players are in the 6th, 7th, or 8th grades, or the middle school age group.
“They treat me like I’m a guy player,” Christian said. “There are some other girls in school who wanted to play, but their mothers said they couldn’t. My parents allowed me to play because they said I would do well in football. I haven’t played football since I was in the third grade.”
In addition to the football players, Lihue and Hanapepe will field cheerleading squads to accompany the gridiron players program.
Tiana Pegeder is coaching the Lihue Patriots cheerleaders which feature several first-time cheerleaders.
“We would have more cheerleaders at practice, today, but they’re at club volleyball,” Pegeder said. “During the spring, we’ll try to follow the regular season schedule and be at all of our Lihue games to cheer on the players. We will use the season to perfect some of our cheer routines, and help the new girls to become acquainted with cheering and get rid of the nervousness so they’ll be ready for fall tackle football.”
Zianni Woodward is one of the first-time cheerleaders.
“I wanted to be a cheerleader after my sister started doing it,” Zianni said.
Arroyo said the 7-on-7 football is a good way for players to begin getting into shape for tackle football in the fall.
“We have an exciting season coming up,” he said. “This year, Kauai will be hosting the Junior Midget, Division II games. The Kauai Pop Warner Football League is also hosting the Division III championships for the Junior PeeWee, PeeWee, Junior Midgets, and Midget divisions. We also have the possibility of hosting the Unlimited division championships.”
Arroyo said what this means to Kauai is that during the first week in December, there will be all kinds of teams, including teams from the Mainland, descending on Kauai to play for titles which will move them to the national Pop Warner Super Bowl.
“We’re going to be in the midst of the (endangered species) fledging season,” Arroyo said. “All of the games will be daytime games, but the teams are fine with that. They’re just excited about coming.”
Arroyo said another aspect of the fall season is the introduction of the Positive Coaching Alliance, where board members and coaches will attend training for positive coaching. The first training programs are scheduled in March.
“We are still accepting players or cheerleaders interested in joining the 7-on-7 program,” Arroyo said. “All they need to do is contact any of the participating association coaches, or in the case of Lihue, they can come to the practices which are held Mondays through Fridays from 4:30 to 6:45 p.m. at Isenberg Park.”
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
By participating in online discussions you
acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful
discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments
are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines,
send us an email.