Mililani’s Vavae Malepeai, the state’s all-time high school leading rusher, passed his first test on a big stage.
Malepeai ran eight times for 66 yards, the most of any running back at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday at San Antonio’s Alamodome.
Malepeai will be off to Oregon to play for the Ducks in the fall, and he showed the nation what he’s capable against many of the other top recruits in the nation. His West team beat the East 37-9.
“That was the biggest offensive line he’s ever been around, the smallest guy was 6-4,” Mako Malepeai, his dad, told Hawaii Prep World via a cell phone call Saturday night. “It was a different experience for him to be around that much talent.
“He came in with a chip on his shoulder. He wanted to do something in the game, not just be a part of it.”
His mom, Tali Malepeai, said, “I don’t think he’s going to sleep tonight. He just had bed check, but he’ll be awake all night talking story with his teammates. It’s just amazing. I’m so proud of him. We couldn’t be more proud of him. He did his thing.”
Malepeai led the Trojans to the Division I state championship game as a sophomore and junior (when Mililani won it all) and to the state semifinals as a senior.
“What a game, an amazing game,” Mako Malepeai said. “He touched the ball eight times and was named a starter earlier in the week. He put himself and Hawaii up there. He was named one of the top five performers on Scout.com and he was the least famous of all of them. He enjoyed it so much, making relationships with all those guys and he opened people’s eyes.”