Mililani senior running back Vavae Malepeai is Hawaii’s new all-time rushing king.
The 6-foot, 205-pound University of Oregon commit surpassed Joe Igber‘s 17-year record of 4,428 career rushing yards on a 15-yard run in the third quarter of Friday night’s Division I state semifinal game against Saint Louis.
Malepeai, who also holds the rushing touchdowns record with 71, did it in his 37th game and on his 674th carry. He had 20 carries for 131 yards in the first half before breaking his mark on the first run after halftime.
Saint Louis went on to beat Mililani 56-30, ending the Trojans’ season. Malepeai finished with 258 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries and finishes with 4,549 rushing yards in 37 games.
“I first want to thank God for getting me to this place,” an emotional Malepeai said after the game. “I want to thank the fans, the coaches, and of course my brothers, my teammates. And my brothers and sisters at home, too. … I don’t talk about my family that much. But they do so much for me. All of our Mililani supporters were sticking by us all through the rain. They matter so much. And the coaches and my uncles who bring me to camps. They’re the reason that I’m going places next year.”
Malepeai ran for 15 yards on the next play after breaking the record before leaving the game with a right shoulder injury.
He returned on the next drive.
Igber, who played in the Prep Bowl era when only league games counted toward official stats, rushed for 4,428 yards in 30 ILH games at ‘Iolani with 56 touchdowns. His 352-yard game against Pac-Five is still the most rushing yards in a non-Division II game.
Igber went on to play at California, where he currently sits fourth on the school’s all-time rushing list behind Russell White, Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett.
He wished Malepeai well on Thursday, saying, “I wish all the best to that young man. Give him all the best from me and hopefully maybe I can talk to him one day.”
Malepeai’s magical senior season came to a close as he finished just short of becoming the fifth player in history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. He ended up with 1,930 yards on 227 carries (8.5 yards per carry) and 28 touchdowns in 13 games. He also caught 10 passes for 171 yards and five TDs.