At least two Kapaa players are in the Division I college category, according to Warriors head coach Phillip Rapozo.
So, fans in attendance Friday night in the Division II state championship game, if they want, can take an extra look at offensive tackle Morris Unutoa and linebacker Mosese Fifita.
Sure, lots of Kapaa players have had a hand in the success of the team over the past two Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship seasons, but these two have the size and potential to play at the highest college level.
OK, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. Unutoa is only a junior. Ahhh, but he is a 6-foot-5, 280-pound junior and that kind of size can make the difference between a D-I recruit and everyone else.
The subject of Unutoa was brought to Rapozo’s attention on Tuesday. He was asked to compare him to former University of Hawaii guard Kendall Goo, who had monster size (6 feet 7) and led Kapaa to the 1989 KIF championship. Goo was also a member of Hawaii’s 1992 Holiday Bowl team, and there is a large faction of people who believe that was UH’s best all-time squad.
“At this stage of their careers, there is no comparison,” Rapozo said. “Unutoa is better.”
Rapozo said Unutoa was offered a scholarship by Hawaii before head coach Norm Chow was fired, so it might not hold up when the new coach comes aboard.
Unutoa is the son of the former NFL offensive lineman with the same name, Morris Unutoa. The elder Unutoa, who came out of BYU, played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills.
Unutoa has also been getting looks from other D-I colleges, and so has senior middle linebacker Mosese Fifita, who is 6-1 and 220 pounds.
Fifita is a big mack truck when it comes time to rush, but he is also a stay-at-home defender playing assignment football when he needs to be.
A year ago, when Kapaa came back to beat Pearl City in the first round of the D-II state tournament, Chargers quarterback Jordan Taumu scrambled for 100 yards during the first half. In the second half, Fifita was part of a spy squadron assigned to keep Taumu from running and it worked. Taumu, a gifted passer, also struggled in the second half with his throws on a windy day.
Another big-time player on Kapaa’s offensive line is Llewellyn Woodward, who is a 6-foot, 190-pound junior. He helped the Warriors on four touchdown drives in a 24-0 victory over Lahainaluna in the Division II state semifinals last Saturday at Vidinha Stadium.
This Friday, the Warriors (9-0) play at Aloha Stadium for the first time, and Oahu Interscholastic Association D-II champion Radford (12-0) is the opponent in the state D-II title game. Game time is 4:30 p.m.