This year’s player of the year was a contender for both the defensive and offensive awards. He showed excellence on both sides of the ball, and on and off the field. That’s why the Cover2 Marcus Mariota Player of the Year is Campbell’s Titus Mokiao-Atimalala.
“I couldn’t have done this without my family. Without God, my teammates, my coaches, and everyone that supported me. I just want to thank them for helping me get to where I’m at right now,” said Mokiao-Atimalala. “It’s a true blessing and I just want to give a shoutout to the Mariota family for choosing me and to KHON2 News for picking me.”
“Coach talked to us and told my brother,” said Titus’ older brother Tamatoa. “He was jumping around in the house. Going all over, going crazy. We were just kind of having an emotional moment for all of us. All crying. Tears of joy.”
Titus is a junior. He’s on pace reach one of his goals next season. Set Hawaii’s all-time receiving yards record. But he’s also one of the states best safeties.
“I take a lot of pride in playing both sides of the ball,” said Titus. “For me, I take it as I just want to do whatever is best for the team.”
Tamatoa is a senior who will play for UH next year. He was also one of the Sabers best all-around players this season.
“Honestly, Titus is who he is because of his brother,” said Tammie Mokiao-Atimalala, Titus’ mother. “His brother is probably the biggest competition that he has. It’s always been like that since they were little. He had to always beat his brother. He had to be better than him, run faster than him, all of it.”
“I think for him it’s just that he’s really competitive,” said Tamatoa. “That’s what I love about him. Because if I do something he’s going to try to do better. So I think that got us to where we’re at now.”
“Our bond is like no other,” said Titus. “I feel like I couldn’t get this award without him, honestly. He helped me build competitiveness. He’s always there to push me to my limits. Sometimes it’s kinda hard but I just love him so much and I’m grateful to call him my brother. He’s always there for me whenever I need him.”
The Mokiao-Atimalala’s grew up with rules.
“That’s the number one thing. You gotta have rules,” said Robert Atimalala, Titus’ dad. “There’s just certain things that you can’t do that will stop you from reaching your goal.”
There are five Mokiao-Atimalala siblings, all between eighth and 12th grade, right now.
“We don’t get to go out as much because my parents don’t want nothing happening to us,” said Titus. “Focus more on school and sports than anything. That’s why I’m not allowed to date.”
On the football team, Titus holds his teammates accountable.
“We’re trying to build a program him that does right things and do right things and we try to display that on the field by their actions,” said Campbell Sabers head coach. “He displays it every day. If I’m not around at least he’s around.”
Titus is related to former Mariota Award winner Tua Tagovailoa
“The older cousin got it and now the little cousin has gotten it now,” said Robert. “It’s a major blessing.”
Since Hawaii offered, many more schools have rolled in. Programs like Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington State, with many more to come. Titus plans to major in business. But that career is for after the dream job.
“For me it’s make it to the NFL,” said Titus. “My goal is to make it there so I can pay for my mom and dad. Give them everything that they deserve. I also want them stop working already. Because they’ve been working for so long and I just want them to rest and just enjoy.”