Kamehameha long snapper Hiapo Ka‘apana ranks No. 2 nationally

On and off the football field, Hiapo Ka‘apana, at left, has the full support of Keahonui, Shana and Kaimana. Photo courtesy of Hiapo Ka‘apana.

Hiapo Ka‘apana understands, now, the power of suggestion.

The Kamehameha student-athlete left the islands on Friday as a relative unknown who had yet to play a down as a varsity football player. He returned from Las Vegas on Monday as the nation’s No. 2 long snapper — including junior-college players.

Ka‘apana competed at the Chris Rubio Long Snapping Camp against roughly 100 long snappers. Held in conjunction with the Chris Sailer Kicking Camp, snappers got a first look on Friday night.

“I went with my mom (Shana) and dad (Kaimana). We got up there Friday and we had a warmup session. The competition was from JCs down to high school freshmen. Friday was kind of fixing any tweaks. Saturday was instruction day with some competition. More of a teaching day. Most of the competition was on Sunday,” Ka‘apana said. “Snap to target, to live punters, field goal snaps. We did snap speed, consistency. I ran a 40, did an obstacle course. I play O-line, so I was pretty decent. I ran a 5.2 flat.”

Hiapo Ka‘apana, seated and second from the left, had a memorable time at the Chris Rubio Long Snappers Camp over the weekend. Photo courtesy of Hiapo Ka‘apana.

Kamehameha kicking game coach Ed Doo noticed Ka‘apana more than three years ago.

“When I saw him snapping, I think he was eighth grade and I was coaching the boys for kicking, he looked like a natural. Strong snaps, positive attitude, very respectful, everything going for him. He never faltered and he took instruction very well. He kept going from there,” Doo recalled.

It was Coach Doo who suggested a trip to the Sailer/Rubio camp.

“I don’t know if I was the one who encourage him, but I gave him contacts to reach there. My son (Kevin Doo), 2009, had gone to Chris Sailer camps, and other kickers. It’s been a positive thing and a great thing to see. One boy graduated from Oregon, (punter/placekicker) Adam Stack, and came back to play at Hawaii,” Doo said.

When Rubio releases his updated rankings in March, the kid from Windward Oahu will be a new name soaring up the chart.

“Yeah, he is one of the most respected in his field. He does all kinds of rankings. It was shocking ‘cause we were doing some testing, and based on the score you get in the final. I feel blessed to have that kind of opportunity to play against the best guys in the country.

From here, 2021 is a bit of mystery. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Kamehameha’s football season to the spring. The rest of the state’s leagues have cancelled football outright, but the Interscholastic League of Honolulu has not followed suit.

One way or another, Ka‘apana will be busy. There are two more Rubio camps on the calendar.

“It’s going to more camps trying to get better. The next one is in Vegas in May, or there’s a Top 12 invite camp in July,” said Ka‘apana, who has a 3.4 cumulative grade-point average and squats 455 pounds.

He plans to major in kinesiology in college and become a physical therapist. The dream, though, is to be a long snapper at the next level.

“In college, (long snappers) get some scholarships, but they get a lot of walk-on opportunities for scholarships. D-I is always the goal, but I’m only 5-7 and a lot of the snappers in D-I are 6 feet,” said Ka‘apana, who weighs 220 pounds.

Some of the most productive players on the gridiron, including the NFL, overcame typical biases about height.

“He is growing a little bit more, I’m sure. If he keeps up his strength, I don’t see it as a big problem,” Coach Doo said. “I told him if he’s going next year again, I want to go with him, too. The January camp is one of the biggest Sailer and Rubio have.”

Hiapo Ka‘apana made the trek to Las Vegas with his mother (Shana) and father (Kaimana). Photo courtesy of Hiapo Ka‘apana.

Lockdown staples

Top 3 shows/movies

1. “Soul.” “That was pretty good.”

2. “All-American.” “That was on Netflix and TBS, I think.”

3. “Family Guy.”

Top 3 food/snack/drink

1. Loco loco. “By my house, Koolau Drive In.”

2. Garlic shrimp. “Romy’s in Kahuku. They give you the jumbo shrimp.”

3. Chili frank plate, Zippy’s.

Top 3 music artists

1. Fiji. “Come on Over.”

2. Maoli. “Write Me a Letter.”

3. Luke Combs. “Forever After All.”

New life skill
“I got a job at Windward Recycling. I work with my friend and classmate, Miecah Andres.”

Shout outs
Kenny Patton, he helped me with my speed. To my special teams coach, Coach Ed (Doo), who encouraged me to go to this camp. To my parents, thank them for sacrificing so much. It’s super expensive and time consuming. I’m thankful.”


  1. IloveHawaii January 19, 2021 10:52 am

    Congratulations and job well done.

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