Kapaa lineman Sepuloni ‘Loni’ Tafea and Kawika Rogers grew up together as childhood friends on Kauai. Now as senior leaders on the Kapaa football team, the two have grown up to become quite the imposing duo.
Tafea, a defensive lineman, is 6-feet tall and weighs 300 pounds. Rogers, an offensive lineman who weighs the same as Tafea, stands at a towering 6-foot-6 and holds scholarship offers from Arizona State, Fresno State and Hawaii.
All the latest sports news from Hawaii’s sports station
“He’s my Day 1. We started (a friendship with) football, that’s how me met,” Tafea told KHON2’s Alan Hoshida. “Ever since, we’ve been together. Lineman for lineman, we had each other’s back. So yeah, that’s my Day 1 right there.
“We always talk about, ‘Oh yeah, we’re gonna be NFL.’ I want to be able to play in college and play against each other and show us how we really are in games, during practices we go all out and he’s been to some camps, I’ve been to some camps, we learn from those strategies, come back and we use those strategies against each other. At the end of the day, we just become better players.”
For Rogers, the feeling is mutual.
“We grew up together, we started in elementary. Ever since then, we just grew up and he’s been my Day 1 partner ever since,” Rogers says of Tafea.
“Iron sharpens iron, and that boy is iron. He’s good. He’s definitely one of the best. He’s good. He’s MVP material.”
The two have been making each other better on the gridiron their entire lives. Off of it, they each share similar role models.
“My biggest influence has to be my grandpa,” Tafea said. “Ever since when I was young, played middle school, he’s used to get sick a lot. Glad he’s still alive and the only reason why he’s my biggest inspiration is because one day I want to be able to go to the NFL and get him tickets to watch me play.”
Rogers, for his part, said: “My grandma, she recently passed away from COVID, but every year she’s helped me. We wasn’t really the tightest but she would help me and say I got it all the time and the sticker on my helmet, there’s a sticker on the back that says her born date. I always have her with me.”