Mililani’s Vavae Malepeai left Aloha Stadium disappointed last month after his Trojans fell short of another state title, but he had to know that one game does not define a career.
The Oregon commit broke Joe Igber‘s touchdown record this year and has accepted a haul of awards. But other than the Hall of Honor, today’s might be the biggest. He is the Star-Advertiser’s Offensive Player of the Year. Kahuku’s Keala Santiago is the defensive player of the year and his coach, Vavae Tata, was judged the coach of the year.
Malepeai has been checking the names of legends off his list throughout his career, but now he joins a truly elite list not bound by position. He is the third player since 2012 to be named first team all state by a newspaper in Hawaii three times. How about these names?
Adrian Murrell, 86-88 Leilehua
Gerald Welch, 97-99 Saint Louis
Blaze Soares, 02-04 Castle
Kennedy Tulimasealii, 10-12 Waianae
Aofaga Wily, 10-12 Kahuku
Vavae Malepeai, 13-15 Mililani
Malepeai follows teammate McKenzie Milton as offensive player of the year, the first time since Timmy Chang and Pesefea Fiaseu of Saint Louis followed each other in 1999 and 2000 as teammates to win the award in back-to-back years.
Santiago follows a long tradition of Kahuku defenders to be named player of the year, the most recent being Kawe Johnson in 2012. Others are Benny Fonua, Hauoli Jamora, BJ Beatty, Walker Vave, Jonathan Mapu, Chris Kemoeatu and Kautai Olevao. The newspapers began giving out All-State teams in the early 1970s, otherwise there would be a long line of Santiagos on that list.
Tata is the coach of the year after only one season, but has started an interesting trend. For the second year in a row Hawaii’s coach of the year had been previously a first team all-state selection. Tata was named first team for Saint Louis in 1992 and 1993 and last year’s coach of the year, Rod York of Mililani, was a first teamer out of Iolani for the Honolulu Advertiser in 1990.
Here are a few other interesting notes about this year’s team:
>> Baldwin has its first first teamer since 2010 and its first defensive first teamer since Mana Rosa in 2008
>> Farrington was shut out of the first team for the first time since 2007.
>> Kahuku’s eight first teamers on defense is the most since 2012 Kahuku and 1997 Saint Louis each had seven.
>> Christian Mejia is Kailua’s first first teamer since Chauncey Makanainai in 2008 and the first defensive player on the first team since Derek Mailau in 2003.
>> Kamehameha’s three first teamers are its most since it had nine in 2009.
>> Kapolei has had a first teamer three years in a row, the first time in program history
>> Mililani has has at least one first teamer every year since it missed out in 2002.
>> Punahou has had at least one first teamer every year since it was shut out in 2010.
>> Saint Louis has had at least one first teamer every year since it was shut out in 1982.