Hawaii Grown

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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 […]

HAWAII GROWN: Milton is player of the year

By Billy Hull on November 29, 2017

Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton, who will attempt to lead the Knights to a perfect 12-0 record with a win over Memphis on Saturday in the American Athletic Conference championship game, was named the conference’s offensive player of the year today. The 2016 Mililani alum was a no-brainer pick for the conference’s top offensive honor, joining current Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles as the only UCF players to win the award. Milton has accounted for 36 touchdowns in 11 games, […]

HAWAII GROWN: Milton, Mata’afa in elite company

By Billy Hull on November 15, 2017

The Walter Camp Award — given to the best college football player in the country, regardless of position — released its 15 semifinalists on Wednesday. Two players from Hawaii made the cut. Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton, a 2016 Mililani alumnus, and Washington State defensive end Hercules Mata’afa, a 2014 Lahainaluna graduate, are still alive for the award, which will announce its five finalists on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The winner will be announced Thursday, Dec. 7. The final 15 selections include six […]

HAWAII GROWN: Sueing off to fast start with Cal

By Nick Abramo on November 13, 2017

Justice Sueing, a 6-foot-7 forward, is averaging 13 points and 4.5 rebounds per game after two contests as a freshman with the Cal Bears. Sueing played in high school at Marynoll before transferring to Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) to finish out his career. He is the son of former Hawaii star Justice Sueing, who played for Rainbows in the mid-1990s. Sueing scored 14 points with five rebounds, an assist and three steals in a 74-64 loss to UC Riverside […]