LIHUE — Touchdowns poured in early as the Black team defeated the White team, 34-21, Saturday afternoon in the third annual Life Champion Senior Bowl at Vidinha Stadium.
The high school football showcase was hosted by Hawaii Football Club, based in Hilo.
A total of 132 high school seniors from around the state, including 18 from the Kauai Interscholastic Federation, took part in the Senior Bowl, vying for scholarship offers. There were 21 schools from Division II, Division III, NAIA and JUCO present for the game.
“It was great,” said HFC executive director Robert “Keala” Pule Sr. “Coaches got to evaluate the game playing. There was some kids that turned their eyes. … I heard a bunch of new names come up from these coaches. I look forward to our kids finding new opportunities outside Hawaii.”
Kapaa High School quarterback Kurt Napoleon scored a touchdown in the showcase. Napoleon threw a short pass to receiver Andrew Valladares of Mililani High School, and he took it 45 yards into the end zone.
Napoleon finished 3-7 for 63 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
“To be part of something like this is such a great opportunity,” Napoleon said. “It was fun to meet new and exciting people from all over the islands. Not just from Kauai but from the others, and see what the competition is out there and what I can do to improve myself.”
Kapaa kicker Clifton Oliver as 3-3 on extra point attempts. He also had a punt go about 70 yards bouncing inside the opposing 5-yard line.
“I feel like I did pretty good. I’m glad with what happened in the game. I wouldn’t want any other outcome,” Oliver said.
Another highlight for the KIF came from Waimea defensive back Cody Taniguchi.
Saint Louis School running back Noah Alejado found a lane and was on his way to scoring, until Taniguchi came from behind for a touchdown-saving tackle.
Among the college coaches present at the game was Western Oregon University quarterbacks coach and Kauai High alumnus Trey Shimabukuro.
“For one, it was nice to be back at Vidinha Stadium. The crowd was awesome. The parents came out,” Shimabukuro said. “It’s great for these guys. They played their butts off. It was fun to watch.”
While he declined to give specifics, Shimabukuro said there were players that definitely caught his attention.
“There’s kids that can play some ball,” he said. “Like I’ve said, kids are going to find places to play. They’re going to find places that are going to give them a discounted education. That’s what it’s all about. I’m not going to name names, but there’s some guys that we’re extremely interested in for sure.”
Pule said the college coaches were impressed by and interested in players who participated, and that it was very satisfying to hear that kind of feedback.
“There was a lot of hard work put into this — a lot of sacrifice from me and my family as well,” Pule said. “We do that because I know in the end run, it’s going to make our entire community better and safer for my family and everyone else’s. It’s really gratifying.”
Napoleon said his main takeaway from interacting with the college coaches is working on his footwork and setting goals to prepare for the future.
“I’m willing to take anything,” he said. “College is one of my goals to get to, and not everybody gets the opportunity to get there. I’m hoping I can get accepted into college, further my education and further my football career.”
Oliver added: “I’m pretty blessed. There’s been a lot of coaches out here watching. Hopefully, I can get another opportunity to play more ball.”
Four touchdowns were scored within the first five minutes of the opening quarter. The first score came from a 63-yard pass from Black team quarterback Justin Uahinua of Farrington to receiver Ryan Ramones from Moanalua.
The White team answered immediately with a 64-yard bomb from quarterback Jaren Ulu from Waianae to receiver Chyson Morgan from Nanakuli.
Statistics from scoringlive.com.
12:59 BLACK Ryan Ramones 63-yard reception from Justin Uahinui, Nolan Gomez PAT good, 7-0 Black
12:08 WHITE Chyson Morgan 64-yard recepion from Jaren Ulu, Clifton Oliver PAT good, 7-7
11:57 BLACK Ronson Young 84-yard pass from Justin Uahinui, Nolan Gomez PAT good, 14-7 Black
10:57 WHITE Travis Kaloa 6-yard pass from Kekainalu Simon, Clifton Oliver PAT good, 14-14
01:56 BLACK Chandler Washington-Villanueva 16-yard pass from Justin Uahinui, Nolan Gomez PAT good, 21-14 Black
05:08 BLACK Jaymin Sarono 6-yard run, Nolan Gomez PAT no good (blocked), 27-14 Black
02:36 BLACK Andrew Valladares 45-yard reception from Kurt Napoleon, Nolan Gomez PAT good, 34-14 Black
11:49 WHITE Tanu Tautolo 10-yard run, Clifton Oliver PAT good, 34-21 Black
Passing: Justin Uahinui (Farrington), 5-13, 167 yards, 3 touchdowns
Rushing: Noah Alejado (Saint Louis), 2 carries, 28 yards
Receiving: Ronson Young (Saint Louis), 1 reception, 84 yards, 1 touchdown
Defense: Tainano Gaulua (Farrington), 4.5 tackles
Passing: Jaren Ulu (Waianae), 5-9, 80 yards, 1 touchdown
Rushing: Challen Faamatau (Farrington), 24 carries, 146 yards
Receiving: Chyson Morgan (Nanakuli), 2 receptions, 60 yards, 1 touchdown
Defense: Tevita Otuvaka (Saint Francis), 3.0 tackles, 1 sack
Full stats at scoringlive.com