Hawaii Grown

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HAWAII GROWN: Friends Tua, Milton want rematch

By Nick Abramo on January 24, 2018

First and foremost, McKenzie Milton and Tua Tagovailoa are friends. Secondly, they are in the rarefied air of being among the best Hawaii high school quarterbacks ever and among the top at that position right now in Division I college football. Thirdly, they would love to get the chance to play against each other again. They went against each other in youth football and also played on the same team. In high school, they matched up two times. In Wednesday’s […]

HAWAII GROWN: Tua pulls off miracle

By Billy Hull on January 8, 2018

It was a night that even Tua Tagovailoa himself couldn’t have dreamed of. The Saint Louis alumnus, who 13 months ago led the Crusaders to a state championship as a senior in Hawaii, rallied Alabama to a thrilling 26-23 overtime win over Georgia on Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Atlanta, Ga. Tagovailoa threw three touchdown passes after replacing starter Jalen Hurts to begin the second half. All three were huge plays, but the game-winning […]

HAWAII GROWN: Milton achieves perfection

By Billy Hull on January 2, 2018

There is a college football game scheduled for Monday pitting SEC teams Georgia and Alabama that is being billed as the national championship game. Both of those teams have lost a game this year — to Auburn. The same Auburn team that lost the Peach Bowl, 34-27, to undefeated Central Florida. The Knights completed a perfect 13-0 season with quarterback McKenzie Milton, the American Athletic Conference offensive player of the year, leading the way. Milton, the Mililani alumnus who finished eighth […]

HAWAII GROWN: Mata’afa to declare for NFL Draft

By Nick Abramo on December 31, 2017

Hercules Mata‘afa, the former Lahainaluna Lunas star, tweeted Sunday that he is declaring for the NFL Draft. Mata‘afa, a defensive tackle for Washington State, will skip his senior season with the Cougars. He was a consensus All-American and finished as a semifinalist for the Bednariki and Watler Camp Awaards. “I’ve decided to forego my senior year … to pursue a dream I’ve had since I was a kid,” he wrote on Twitter. “I have had an incredible journey at WSU […]

HAWAII GROWN: Kaniho’s pick-6 leads Boise to win

By Billy Hull on December 16, 2017

As a senior at Kahuku, Kekaula Kaniho set a Hawaii state record and fell one short of tying the national record with five interceptions returned for touchdowns in the same season. Kaniho, who went on to win the Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State defensive player of the year award, signed with Boise State, where he has played every game this season as a true freshman. It only took the 5-foot-11, 175-pound defensive back six games to score his first defensive touchdown — on […]

HAWAII GROWN: Mata’afa named Polynesian POY

By Billy Hull on December 12, 2017

Washington State junior defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa, a 2014 Lahainaluna alumnus, was named the 2017 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year today. Mata’afa was named the Associated Press’ Pac-12 defensive player of the year and is the first consensus All-American at WSU since 2002. The 6-foot-2, 252-pound Mata’afa, who played both defensive tackle and defensive end for the Cougars, led the Pac-12 with 21 1/2 tackles for loss and 9 1/2 sacks. He started all 12 games for the […]

HAWAII GROWN: Anae, Choy lead Utah to Sweet 16

By Billy Hull on December 4, 2017

Three of the 16 teams remaining in the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament feature players from Hawaii, but only one is led by them. For the first time since 2008, Utah advanced to the round of 16 with a 25-23, 25-19, 13-25, 27-25 win over Purdue on Friday in the championship game of the Salt Lake City Sub-Regional. The Utes avoided becoming one of five hosts eliminated in the first weekend of tournament play thanks to a huge game from senior […]

HAWAII GROWN: Milton, Knights survive to win AAC title

By Billy Hull on December 2, 2017

Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton threw for a career-high 494 yards and accounted for six touchdowns to lead the Knights to a thrilling 62-55 win in double overtime over Memphis in the American Athletic Conference championship game today in Orlando. Milton, who threw five touchdown passes and ran for another, was named the player of the game. The 2016 Mililani alumnus has guided UCF to a perfect 12-0 record just two years after the team went 0-12 and is now […]