Sol-Jay Maiava returns home for the Polynesian Bowl after leaving Kahuku for D.C.


Quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava took a giant leap of faith went he left Kahuku after his sophomore season, departing for powerhouse St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C.

It was certainly a risk, but his return home to the islands at the Polynesian Bowl symbolized the move paying off.

“It’s good. It means a lot,” Maiava said. “It was the only bowl game I was hoping to get invited to. It just feels good that I’m back at the Poly Bowl and back in the islands and finish my last high school game in Hawaii.”

Since moving away, he’s played for one of the nation’s premier prep programs and also earned a selection to the prestigious Elite 11 finals last summer, the country’s top camp for quarterbacks who are rising seniors.

Maiava went viral as an eighth grader when he earned a scholarship offer from Michigan before taking a single high school snap. When it was all said and done, he held offers from the Wolverines, BYU, Fresno State, Hawaii, Liberty, Oregon, Purdue, Utah, Utah State and Virginia. In December, Maiava decided to sign with BYU, the school that he felt was the best fit for him.

“It felt like family being there,” Maiava said. “The coaches, I love the coaches and just the religious part of everything was great.”

Maiava was a two-year starter at Kahuku before becoming a two-year starter at St. John’s. Although BYU isn’t the most well-known school on his offer sheet, his journey over the last two years assured it was the right fit for him.

“People said ‘man, you could have just went to BYU from Kahuku,’ people say that, but it wasn’t just about getting to college. It was about developing myself to get ready for the next level. Getting invited to the Elite 11, it was such a blessing. Just like being here. Just thankful to my heavenly father.”

Other than the Polynesian Bowl, Maiava says he’s only been home once since relocating to D.C. Football is just a part of the week ahead for Maiava and the rest of the 100 players selected to the game. Activities all across Oahu are planned, serving as a chance for Maiava to enjoy the fruits of his labor and reflect on the journey that got him to where he is.

“It’s a great feeling being back home,” he said. “I’ve been waiting a long time coming back to come home these last few weeks, coming back home for the Poly Bowl. Can’t wait to see my family and friends.”

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