There is one game in college football that means more than any other.
The Rose Bowl Game.
Every year on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California, the game known as the ‘Granddaddy of them All’ ushers in the new year with pageantry, pride, and tradition that has been passed down for over a century.
For every football player, it is a childhood dream to step foot in this iconic venue, a place of football reverence and admiration.
For Kahuku grads Aliki and Enokk “Inoke” Vimahi, this year’s 108th Rose Bowl Game between Utah and Ohio State will mean more than a matchup between brothers, it will represent the legacy of their father David.
“Ecstatic is not even enough to describe our emotions,” Delsa Moe, aunty of Aliki and Inoke said. “I bet Dave had something to do with this. To negotiate that his two sons would be playing in the same bowl game opposite each other so that we didn’t have to worry about splitting the family up between bowl games.”
In November, Dave Vimahi, the longtime assistant coach at Kahuku High School, passed away due to complications with a recurring heart condition, an unexpected tragedy that rocked the La’ie community and the Vimahi ‘ohana.
“This game has just been a healing, a healing bond for the family,” Moe said. “Dave’s legacy is living on through these boys and they’re living his dream and all that hard work is paying off.”
On Saturday, the Vimahi brothers could face off against each other in the trenches, as Aliki is in his second year as a defensive tackle for the Utes, while younger brother Inoke is a sophomore offensive lineman for the Buckeyes. However, for the Vimahi’s, their family has already won regardless of which team comes out on top.
“We don’t care who wins, who loses,” Moe said. “We’re going to be cheering for the Vimahi brothers, we win already.”
This weekend, Utah will make its first Rose Bowl appearance in school history, while Ohio State aims to raise its ninth Leishman Trophy since their Rose Bowl debut in 1921.
The 108th Rose Bowl Game will kickoff on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN.
Here is a list of players and coaches with Hawaii ties also playing in the 108th Rose Bowl Game:
Ohio State Buckeyes:
Enokk Vimahi (Kahuku ‘19) So., Offensive Line
Haskell Garrett (former Halawa resident) Grad Sr., Defensive Tackle
Kamo’i Latu (Saint Louis ‘20) Fr., Safety
Taka Lautaha (St. Francis ‘18) Fr., Defensive Tackle
Viane Moala (University of Hawaii ‘16-17) Sr., Defensive Tackle: suffered season-ending injury vs San Diego State
Miki Suguturaga (Punahou ‘17) Fr., Defensive End
Mika Tafua (Kamehameha ‘15) Jr., Defensive End
Mason Tufaga (Saint Louis ‘21) Fr., Linebacker
Elvis Vakapuna (Kahuku ‘17) Fr., Running Back
Aliki Vimahi (Kahuku ‘17) Fr., Defensive Tackle
Lewis Powell (2012-2014 University of Hawaii Defensive Line Coach), Utah Defensive Ends Coach