Football building up on Friendly Isle

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Molokai Middle School players face off in a game during the school’s new tackle football program last month in Hoolehua. The program drew more than 40 participants on three eight-player teams. Alex Bali photos

Mike Kahale sees skill every day at Molokai Middle School.

Kahale, the Molokai Senior high school football head instructor, is an educator at the intermediate school as well as he has actually instated a strategy to bolster his secondary school team going forward: a brand-new deal with football program for eighth as well as 7th graders at MMS.

3 eight-player teams emerged in April and 4 weeks of technique culminated in games in May before a COVID-19 outbreak at MMS hobbled the schedule. Kahale was still satisfied with the inaugural season that attracted more than 40 individuals.

Molokai High School has actually won the last five Maui Interscholastic League eight-player football titles– the last period occurred in 2019 because of the pandemic.

” We don’t have any kind of tackle football programs here, no young people programs as well as certainly we have no (junior varsity) as an eight-man program,” Kahale claimed through phone on Monday. “So, everyone that comes to us at the secondary school degree is like their initial exposure. Possibly they have actually had some flag football experience in the past, however in regards to any tackle experience, nothing.

Running back Kaizen Torres-Umi Napoleon of Molokai Middle School carries the ball. Alex Bali photos

” So we’re constantly beginning with fresh start and considering that I’m an instructor and also I collaborate the athletics program at the middle school– I see these youngsters every day as well as I understand there’s a high rate of interest and children wish to play.”

With the chance presented by COVID-19 federal government grant money, Kahale saw the opportunity to start his long-wanted imagine a feeder program right into his high school group.

” With this extra treatment money, COVID as well as seeking out various other donations, I got some financial backing as well as we acquired (50) new safety helmets and also shoulder pads,” Kahale claimed. “I had old uniforms from the high school team as well as a bunch of older equipment that was just sitting in boxes. A lot of that other stuff I had already.

” So we obtained the youngsters, we had about 45 kids signed up total and after that we went down to the high-30s, as soon as we began placing on pads as well as stuff, however simply a fantastic possibility for our youngsters. And I obtained my training team ahead, we created 3 eight-man groups– 3 of my assistant trainers took the head trainer (spot) each. I was the official and also the organizer.”

Kahale included that the opportunity taken has actually repaid– the Farmers have a longterm goal of playing in the 11-player MIL rankings, wishing to join the organization when Kihei secondary school comes on board, possibly as soon as the 2024 period.

Molokai Middle School players prepare to run a play. Alex Bali photos

” We were showing them our system, our manner in which we do things as well as it comes to be a feeder program for us,” Kahale claimed. “If (11-player football) is completion goal– and also it goes to some point– we have actually got to figure out a method to draw in even more kids, to have them subjected a little earlier, and also to instruct them some essential abilities.”

When COVID-19 struck the Friendly Isle hard in May, the program began well with four weeks of method and then ran into some challenges.

” We were going to have each team play the other two teams 2 times each, so it would have been simply a four-game period,” Kahale said. “We played our very first games and after that right after that we had some concerns with COVID, in the institution with our youngsters, within the community– generally we obtained closed down for a little over three weeks.”

Kahale got on the Mainland for the university graduation of one of his children and also when he returned, the enthusiasm to complete the season was still strong.

” We completed out the period with one more game– it was eighth-grade promo that day (May 26) and we played our last game, our Super Bowl with whatever children we had actually left,” Kahale said. “I believe we had like 25 children approximately. We just made two also teams and also had our Super Bowl at the end as well as it was fantastic, truly great.”

Kahale said the feedback to the program was big for the small island.

” We kind of filled up our parking lot, and you recognize that’s our stands on Molokai– we were stunned at exactly how several in the neighborhood came out,” Kahale said. High school athletics started, however we didn’t have any kind of young people sports.”

Kahale wants to maintain the middle school program expanding and plans to make it an annual season each springtime.

” We placed the financial investment into brand-new safety helmets and also shoulder pads, so we intend to proceed this each year and make this be our feeder program for our secondary school,” he said. “The children are so pumped, so excited to play. They would certainly be more ecstatic if we reached play as well as travel someone else rather than banging on each other occasionally.”

Kahale included, “I’m wishing at some point that possibly we can straighten our middle school schedule with something that occurs with other organizations, possibly on Maui or Oahu,”

Kahale claimed if half of the 30 or so eighth who began the period appeared as freshers in the autumn, the program will have been an instant success. The MIL eight-player league is readied to invite back Seabury Hall to the mix in the fall, according to what Kahale has been told by MIL officials, making it a four-team organization with Molokai, Hana and also Lanai.

Molokai football will obtain a boost when Akana Athletics– run by the basketball-playing Akana siblings from Molokai, Rai, Jarinn as well as Brandyn– places on the second Molokai Skills Camp, cost-free for football players ages 8 to 17, June 27-28 at the Molokai Secondary school area.

The initial such camp remained in 2019 before the last 2 years were eliminated by COVID-19.

Molokai native Kimo von Oelhoffen will be signed up with at the camp by Dominic Raiola as well as Chris Naeole, all previous NFL gamers from Hawaii.

The camp will likewise consist of Kahuku Secondary school trainers, state offending gamer of the year Kainoa Carvalho and state defensive gamer of the year Liona Lefau. Brandyn Akana’s kid, Tausili Akana, a rising senior linebacker at Kahuku who has 47 college scholarship offers, will also be at the camp.

” We have been honored, with all of our success, so this is something that we chose as a family that we’re mosting likely to do– we’re doing basketball, we’re doing football and we’re also doing a volleyball camp,” Brandyn Akana, the basketball coach at Kahuku, stated Monday by means of phone from the Mainland, where he is traveling to colleges with his kid. “We intend to have the ability to do this for the children of Molokai yearly. That’s our strategy as well as we remember being kids on Molokai as well as exactly how it was tough to actually get really excellent camps and also guideline.

” So, we really feel that it’s our work ahead back as well as sort of placed it on for the youngsters that are on Molokai today.”

” We don’t have any kind of tackle football programs here, no young people programs as well as clearly we have no (junior varsity) as an eight-man program,” Kahale stated using phone on Monday. “I had old attires from the high college group and also a lot of older devices that was simply resting in boxes.” We completed out the season with one more video game– it was eighth-grade promotion that day (May 26) and also we played our last game, our Super Bowl with whatever kids we had left,” Kahale claimed.” We kind of loaded up our auto parking great deal, and also you recognize that’s our stands on Molokai– we were surprised at exactly how numerous in the community came out,” Kahale said.” We put the investment into brand-new headgears and also shoulder pads, so we wish to continue this every year and make this be our feeder program for our high institution,” he claimed.

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