LIHUE — The fall tackle football and cheer season recently got underway for hundreds of youth in the Kauai Pop Warner Football League.
The season began with strength and conditioning exercises, no pads, and continues until the league games start during the Jamboree on Aug. 31 at Vidinha Stadium.
“We have been blessed with the turnout,” said KPWL president Teddy Arroyo.
There are 350 registered youth playing in Flag, Mitey Mites, PeeWee, and the new Unlimited division, representing the five KPWL associations — Kapaa, Lihue, Koloa, Hanapepe and Kekaha. It is the 58th year of Pop Warner football on Kauai.
New for this year is the Unlimited division, which is for players 11, 12, and 13 years old with no weight restrictions. There are three associations fielding teams in this new category — Kekaha, Hanapepe and Lihue.
During the regular season, players will be vying for top playoff-eligible spots in their respective age groups.
Players who win in the Mitey Mites will be advancing to California to play for the Division III crown, Arroyo said.
This year, the PeeWee champions will go directly to the Pop Warner nationals in Florida. There will be no playing off against Oahu or mainland teams. This also applies to the cheerleaders who earn eligibility during the KPWFL island finals.
The Pop Warner cheer championships are schedule for Oct. 27 at Kauai High School, said Rosie Jerves, KPWFL cheer coordinator.
“We have about 80 girls registered for this year’s program,” Jerves said. “New for the cheer competition judging is that first- and second-place finishers earn eligibility for travel and entry into the National Pop Warner Dance and Cheer Competition that will be held in Orlando, Florida, in early December.”
Blaine Agena, KPWFL commissioner and scholastic coordinator, said during the Jamboree, Pop Warner participants in both tackle football and cheer who make the cut for national Pop Warner scholar-athletes, and the recipient of the Dick Ueoka Scholastic Award will be announced.
“Today, the Fun Day is all about them,” Arroyo said. “They’ve been working for more than a week now. Today, it’s all free — the games, the water slides, the food. They are the kings and queens of the field.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.