HANAPEPE — Nia Pablo of the Hanapepe Colts Pop Warner team is special, picking up her spare time between cheer as a team manager for the younger teams.
Saturday, Nia was announced as just one of 26 youth in the nation to make the National Pop Warner Senior Scholars All-American team by Casey Agena, the Kaua‘i Pop Warner Football League Scholastic Coordinator.
The honor would traditionally be done during the Jamboree that heralded the start of the KPWFL season with parades, speeches and special honor recognitions.
After not having any football in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, KPWFL President Teddy Arroyo, and the KPWFL poured onto the field at Hanapepe Stadium on Saturday to announce the start of its 2021-2022 tackle football and cheer season.
“You see this shirt?” Alden Pablo, Nia’s dad, of the Hanapepe Colts asked. “This shirt has Charlie Carveiro’s number. Charlie did a lot for the kids and for Hanapepe football. We lost him, so this shirt is for him. We’re dedicating this season to him.”
Football for KPWFL started with pages of rules and health and safety guidelines surrounding play in the COVID-19 environment.
“We’re all vaccinated,” Judge Randal Valenciano said of the Kaua‘i Officials Association that provides officials for Kaua‘i sporting events. “We did this not only by choice but because it’s for the greater good.”
Saturday’s games were restricted to flag-only for all the league’s divisions. Arroyo anxiously watching each of the games with the pages of new rules clutched in his hands.
“This is a work in progress,” said Arnold Cruz of KPWFL. “Everything is changing, and we must adjust to the changes, week by week.”
On the gridiron, Caleb Miyashiro of the Kapa‘a Eagles swept the sidelines for a touchdown with 7:16 remaining in the second half of the Eagles’ seesaw matchup against the Hanapepe Colts.
Miyashiro’s score pushed the Eagles to a 30-26 edge over the Colts, and was answered when Ethan Yamase found paydirt despite the defensive efforts of Miyashiro. The Colts’ signal-caller, Aleyah Rull, shook off defenders in the backfield to tap the end zone with 2:59 showing for the 32-30 go-ahead.
With more than two minutes, the Eagles tried to connect with Miyashiro on at least two attempts, unsuccessfully, giving the Colts the 2-point victory.
Games are played with an eye on the audience, Arroyo said. Parents of the teams playing are allowed to sit on the visitors’ side of the stadium to a limit of 25 people.
“Once their child’s game is done, they need to leave the stadium,” Arroyo said. “And, please clean up after yourselves. There is no food booth available.”
Saturday’s contests move to the newly-remodeled stadium at the Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Park starting from 7:30 a.m.
“This is exciting,” Arroyo said. “We get to play in this new stadium even before the high school players have used it. But, we have to leave before dark because it’s the shearwater fledging season and no lights.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.