For four Hawaii High School Football standouts the fourth annual Polynesian Bowl served as both the end and the beginning on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
Recent University of Hawaii signees Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala of Campbell, Kilohana Haasenritter of Hilo, Ezra Evaimalo of Kamehameha, and Micah Soliai-Howlett of Kahuku all enjoyed taking part in the prep all-star game which served as the final high school game of their career, while also providing an opportunity to represent UH on the football field.
Soliai-Howlett, who is recovering from a knee injury was the only one of the foursome to not play in the game.
Haasenritter, who played receiver for Team Mauka caught a touchdown pass, while Mokiao-Atimalala added a couple of catches of his own. Evaimalo, who was on the winning Team Makai, forced a fumble.
“It’s unbelievable and I just can’t fathom it yet. I’m just ready to play college ball. I’m just thankful for the community for coming out. It was pretty cool and I just put a show on the best that I could,” said Haasenritter.
The invitation only game featured 100 of the top prep seniors from across America and American Samoa, which was not lost on the future Rainbow Warriors who used the entire week of practice and the game, to build confidence entering the collegiate level.
“I think that the level of completion, how high the bar was, it really set the tone for how much I can do and who I can play against. I can’t wait. I’m ready to start playing already,” said Evaimalo. “I’m super excited to start my next chapter at UH on this home field.”
“I’m ready to put that black and green Hawaii on my chest. I’m ready, that’s it. I’m trying to be just like John Ursua or more. I’m trying to work,” added Mokiao-Atimalala.
All four players were a part of the early signing period for the University of Hawaii.
A second national letter of intent signing day will be in two weeks. By that time it is expected that a new head coach would have been announced by Athletics Director David Matlin.
According to reports over the last few days, UH assistant coaches Craig Stutzmann, and Brian Smith who are both currently in Pullman, Washington with Nick Rolovich are believed to be in the possible mix as candidates for the vacant UH head coaching job.
Other names that have circulated are Virginia offensive coordinator Robert Anae, and former NFL head coach Jim Mora.
The University, nor Matlin have revealed any applicants. To this point, none of the applicants have publicly addressed their interest or candidacy for the position.