The top of Anthony Sagapolutele‘s T-shirt was ripped to shreds by the time the linemen’s portion of the GPA Showcase football camp finished Wednesday.
He also had numerous scratches on the top of his chest.
But Sagapolutele also had something nobody else had at Kamehameha’s Kunuiakea Stadium. He was holding the certificate for being named as the top defensive lineman, and that announcement came via former Denver Broncos defensive end Ma’a Tanuvasa.
There is, of course, family pride to upkeep. Sagapolutele’s uncle, Pio Sagapolutele, is a former New England Patriots defensive lineman.
“My dad’s brother has been a big inspiration to me since I was a kid,” said Sagapolutele, who is a junior transfer to Saint Louis from Sacramento, Calif. “He showed us video of the 1996 Super Bowl when the Patriots played the Packers. He is my motivation to not only be as good, but be better than him.”
The camp was filled with players looking for college opportunities. Many small college coaches and scouts were in attendance.
As former 49ers great Jesse Sapolu said when the top three performers on both sides of the ball were about to be announced, not getting picked as in the top three doesn’t mean a player didn’t have a great camp.
“There were many other kids who deserve this,” the 6-foot, 245-pound Sagapolutele said. “Zion Ah You is an outstanding D-lineman from Kahuku. I would give this to him.”
He also raved about Mililani senior guard Sergio Muasau (6 feet, 330), who was picked as the second-best performing offensive lineman.
“He was unreal,” Sagapolutele said. “One of the biggest challenges I ever went up against.”
Castle senior Josiah Enos (6-3, 275) was named the top offensive lineman.
After Sagapolutele, the second- and third-place defensive linemen were Kaimuki senior Naomas Asuega-Fualaau (5-11, 200) and Waimea junior Falefia Moe III (6-2, 255). Meanwhile, Kapolei senior center Brenan Eva (5-11, 250) was the third-place offensive lineman.
“Compete … competing is one of the biggest things you can do because you’ve gotta get exposure to go to college,” Eva said. “And I learned a lot. Coach (former UH lineman) Samson (Satele) told me to put my toes out so I can move better as a center.”
Moe was surprised to be recognized by the coaching brass that also included former Hawaii assistant Rich Miano.
“It was a great camp and it was great to compete against all the Oahu boys since Kauai is a real small island,” he said. “My mind-set was kill or be killed and after that we can be friends. But I was locked in during camp.”
Moe is hungry to get a KIF title with his Menehunes teammates. Waimea hasn’t done it since 2003, when Moe’s brother was on the team.
Asuega-Fualaau is a Bulldogs running back who will also be playing defense this year.
“I like defense better — more contact,” he said. “At running back, you follow the run plays and go do it. I was a lot surprised when I heard my number (as a camp award winner). That’s the first time for me.
“And Anthony Sagapolutele is a good one. He can go inside and out. He was a monster out there.”