Kapaa almost did it last year.
The Warriors nearly became the first football team from Kauai to win a state title, and they got another shot at it this postseason. To do it, everyone has to fulfill their role. That’s a point well-taken by their fullback, a guy that’s used to grinding in every part of his life.
“This year, I didn’t get the start at linebacker and they had a starting position for fullback so I took it. It’s not the same as tackling somebody because fullback is just block and catch passes, but you still get to hit somebody so there’s something there for it,” said Kapaa junior Kahale Kaleiohi.
Kaleiohi had to adjust to a new role with the Warriors at the beginning of the season, but now he’s been clearing the way for Kapaa’s ball-carriers all season. In the trenches of a high-adrenaline football game is not where you’d expect to find peace of mind. But for Kaleiohi, there’s peace in the anarchy.
“Theres not much glory for the people that block and make the holes but you know inside that you did something good,” he said. “You helped that running back get to the end zone, or the quarterback. That feeling is just good. It’s good for your soul, basically.”
Kahale finds his zen many places. Especially to and from school every day.
“I would ride down to Kealia, which isn’t really that far. I would catch a bus. But the bus only takes me to Kilauea and then I got to peddle my way home,” he said. “It’s time consuming sometimes. But you really get to enjoy the fact that you’re riding a bike and you have some time to yourself.”
In middle school, Kaleiohi found a bike in a garbage heap. One man’s trash became Kaleiohi’s way of life.
So about a month ago, the football team was taken aback when the 16-year-old pulled into campus on four wheels.
“When they saw me pull up with my car they were like whose car is that?,” he said. “They all recognized me because of my hair.”
At least part of the brand is still intact. Kaleiohi is a better player and person thanks to the time on his bike.
“I don’t know there’s just something about being outside by yourself, listening to music and you’re just riding your bike,” Kaleiohi said. “Just gives you a lot of time to think about things. Gives you a lot of time to think about stuff and reflect on what happens during the day.”