LIHUE — The inaugural Kauai Prep Football All Star Showcase is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Vidinha Stadium hosted by Rep 50 Sports.
“I was a camp organizer prior to this with AIGA Foundation out of California, a nonprofit foundation that helped place Polynesian kids to the college level,” said Vince Mene, founder and organizer of Rep 50. “I organized a couple of camps for them in Oregon. I got a chance to see how it was done and how to do it. The purpose was transitioning Polynesian kids to the college level on scholarships.”
He added: “I wanted to go and work where it was needed. Not so much where it was popular and everyone knew these kids. I figured I could validate my work if I worked with kids that could use the help.”
About 50 local prep athletes from sophomores to seniors will participate in a prep football showcase this weekend.
Most of the players featured come from the Kauai Interscholastic Federation, but a handful come from the neighbor island and have Kauai ties.
The process of hosting a game started after Rep 50 hosted a football camp on Kauai in June.
“Some of things I ran into when I was trying to recruit these Kauai kids was, it’s hard to evaluate their talent because they’re only playing against two teams all year,” Mene said. “I decided to say, ‘What if I put them all together and give them a different platform for coaches to see them compete?’ That’s how this all-star game came about.”
Some of the players taking part include: Kona Asano (quarterback, Kauai), Damon Kashima (offensive lineman, Kauai), Matt Passi (defensive tackle, Kauai), Jai Alapai (receiver, Kapaa), Lanakila Pagtolingan (receiver, Kapaa), Dylan Balaan (linebacker, Waimea), William Kamaka-Riley (running back, Waimea), Justin Paleka (offensive lineman, Kapaa), Christian Manera (quarterback, Kauai), Steve Leger (defensive tackle, Kapaa), Ezekiel Kelekoma (defensive end, Waianae) and Kashtian Ioane (defensive back, Hilo).
“I hand-selected every kid based off my own scouting,” Mene said. “I didn’t look at any media hype. Just as a former player, I looked at the skill-sets. Of course, with the results of our first camp, I knew who was who. And I just went by what they did on film.”
General admission is $10. Students with student ID will be charged $5. Kids 12 years old and younger will be free of admission.
The game will also be shown online.
“It’s been promoted over the last month, I think to over 300 colleges. It’s going to be streamed live on YouTube,” Mene said. “Colleges, if they can’t make the actual stream, they can go back and watch it.”