LIHUE — Kelvin Moniz was officiating the opening game of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation football, Friday night at Vidinha Stadium.
He was up early, Saturday to help with officiating when the Kauai Pop Warner Football League opened its 58th year during the traditional Jamboree where Moniz and Harvette Acosta were acknowledged and recognized for their years of service to the youth participating in tackle football and cheer in the Pop Warner football program.
The Jamboree heralds the start of football games and cheer competition following more than a month of strength and conditioning by the participants in the five KPWFL league.
“We have more than 350 kids registered from all parts of the island,” said Teddy Arroyo, the KPWFL president. “To finally watch them on the field is astonishing.”
Joining the volunteer acknowledgment, Mayor Derek Kawakami joined the league officials in recognizing the achievements of Kauai Pop Warner participants who earned the Dick Ueoka Scholastic Excellence Awards presented by the league’s Scholastic Coordinator Blaine Agenda.
The Hanapepe association fielded five of the eight awards presented, the recipients being Maeani Arbillera, Kody Erdmann, Jade Labajo, Kameron Lee, and Alexis Saniatan.
The Kapaa Eagles fielded two players — Eli Nikolas and Rush Nikolas — and, Kekaha Titans rounded out the recipients as Brennen Fernandez was recognized for his scholastic achievements.
“These Pop Warner participants received All-American Honors by maintaining a 96 percent, or better grade point average,” Agena said. “In addition, they participated in extracurricular and honors activities. These scholar athletes are among the top 1.5 percent in academic performance for all Pop Warner participants nationwide. With approximately 325,000 youth participants ranging from ages 5 to 16 years old, Pop Warner is the largest youth football, cheer, and dance program in the world.”
The Pop Warner program is also the only youth sports program that requires a participant to maintain a 2.0 GPA to participate, Agena’s responsibility as the league’s scholastic coordinator being to monitor a participant’s school performance, scholastically.
KPWFL teams will include Flag, Mitey Mite, PeeWee, and an Unlimited division with no weight restrictions, Arroyo said.
“The Unlimited division is something new for Kauai Pop Warner,” Arroyo said during a recent Fun Day celebrating the midpoint of strength and conditioning. “For this year, our Mitey Mite champions will advance to California for the Division III playoffs, and the Kauai PeeWee champions will go directly to the Pop Warner National Championships in Florida.”
This applies to the Kauai Pop Warner cheer competition winners who earn eligibility to the National Pop Warner Dance and Cheer competition that takes place in Florida.
Rosie Jerves, the KPWFL cheer coordinator, said the Kauai cheer competition will take place Oct. 27 starting at 10 a.m. at the Kauai High School gym.
“We are blessed with the turnout of youth for Pop Warner football,” Arroyo said. “We’re also blessed that we are starting our 58th year of play.”