Lots of high school football players choose to not play football in college.
Some just don’t want to. Others don’t think they can. Others don’t know where to begin to look for a small college that might want them to play.
Well, one possibility for those on the fence is taking a look at Occidental in Los Angeles or Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore.
For sure, it’s not a lock that solid high school football players who aren’t big-college prospects can hook up with either Occidental or Pacific or anywhere else. But those two schools are being mentioned because they’re taking a step to come to Hawaii.
The Pacific Boxers and the Occidental Tigers, who both play in Division III, are visiting Kamehameha’s Kunuiakea Stadium for a Sept. 17 game. It’s a home game for Pacific, which has a bunch of Hawaii players on the roster.
It will also be a homecoming for Occidental head coach Doug Semones, the former Kahuku head coach and University of Hawaii assistant, and Occidental offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Darnell Arceneaux, the former Saint Louis and Hawaiian Islanders star quarterback.
According to Arceneaux, the Tigers have two players from Hawaii — junior defensive back Chaz Shizumura (Punahou) and sophomore defensive lineman Max Vinci (Castle).
“It came about when Doug and the Pacific head coach (Keith Buckley) were finalizing a home and home,” Arceneaux said. “In the last five years, Pacific has had about 30 to 40 kids from Hawaii in their program.
“It should be an exciting time. I am away from my family in Hawaii coaching here in California, so it will be great to be at the game in front of family and friends.”
Arceneaux added that there’s somewhat of a Hawaii culture being perpetuated by the Occidental football team.
“We’ve got Aloha Friday where everyone where’s Aloha shirts, and it’s spreading around the campus, too,” he said. “And we talk pidgin.”
“Cheeee-hoooo,” “bumbai you learn” and the ubiquitous “da kine” are some of the words they’re using or learning, Arceneaux said.
“But they’re also learning about how everyone calls you auntie and uncle and to respect your elders, and now they’re going to get to see it firsthand.”
The list of Hawaii players on the 2015 Pacific roster is long. Only three of the 28 players listed finished up their eligibility, marked by an asterisk.
>> Max Look, ‘Iolani, CB
>> Chad Aragon, Moanalua, WR
>> Paki Iaea, Kamehameha-Hawaii, WR
>> Malik Smith, Kapolei, CB
>> Fresno Masaniai, Kapaa, S
>> Warner Shaw, Kamehameha-Hawaii, QB*
>> Zachary Tinao-Rabellizsa, Radford, WR
>> Brandon Howes, Konawaena, QB
>> Trey Kodama, Pearl City, LB
>> Tyler Nakama, Saint Louis, WR
>> Bronson Barretto, Kamehameha, RB*
>> Kaiea Iwasaki, Kauai, CB
>> Kamana Pimental, Saint Louis, RB
>> Greg Alip, Waipahu, RB
>> Chad Farias, Kamehameha, CB
>> Storm Lotomau, ‘Iolani, RB
>> Trevor Yee, Pac-Five, WR
>> Tyler Kanoa, Pac-Five, CB
>> Faaolaina Teofilo, Kamehameha-Hawaii, CB
>> Wyatt Ma‘a, ‘Iolani, S
>> Nicholas Schilla, Punahou, OL*
>> Kennon Quiocho, Kamehameha-Hawaii, OL
>> Michael Fanning, Saint Louis, OL
>> Kit Taura, Moanalua, OL
>> Camren Henry, Kauai, WR
>> Bubba Akiona, Kamehameha-Hawaii, DL
>> Zach Souza, Kamehameha, DL
>> Maika Teal, St. Francis, WR
There is another Occidental connection. Brian Smith, the Tigers’ former offensive coordinator who Arceneaux succeeded. He rejoined the University of Hawaii staff as an assistant this season.
So, that’s 33 Hawaii football people named in this article who have a connection to either Pacific or Occidental. High school football players out there, sometimes it’s who you know. Mark down Sept. 17 on your calendar to see what Division III college football is all about.