Patience is a virtue.
It is not always in supply for a lot of high school football players, but brothers Titus and Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala embrace every inch of the long, arduous journey. Campbell has started the year 1-2 but is still No. 4 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Football Top 10 and has the makeup to potentially win the OIA and reach the Open Division state final.
The Sabers fell 48-27 to Saint Louis, the No. 1 team in the state, on Friday. It was a game that doesn’t count in the OIA Open Division standings, and they endured despite missing starters out with injuries. DB/WR Poki‘i Adkins-Kupukaa (toe), RB Sky Lactaoen (hamstring) and LB Tyrese Tafai (shoulder) are on the mend.
“It’s a process of getting better. Week 1, we lost to Mililani. We made simple mistakes,” said Tamatoa, a senior WR/DB who committed to Hawaii in January. “Our young guys are stepping up.”
Titus, a junior WR/DB, has an offer from Hawaii. He was a Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State, first-team selection as a sophomore.
“Just us knowing we can compete with Saint Louis builds confidence in us,” he said.
The two were featured in the first prep feature of the 2019-20 high school sports season in Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser. You can read the story here.
Below is a Q&A:
Brothers Tamatoa and Titus Mokiao-Atimalala
Tamatoa is a senior. Titus is a junior.
Tamatoa: OBJ (Odell Beckham Jr.).
Titus: Julio Jones.
Tamatoa: Growing up, I liked the Steelers because of Troy Polamalu.
Titus: Pittsburgh Steelers. Our dad is a Raiders fan. Our whole garage is painted silver and black.
Favorite Food (at home)
Tamatoa: Everything our mom (Tami) makes is good.
Titus: Our mom’s fried noodles are amazing.
Favorite Food (eating out)
Tamatoa: Taco Bell. I like the quesadilla and the Fritos burrito with some mild sauce.
Titus: McDonald’s. I like the sausage McMuffin.
Tamatoa: Spending time with family, going to the beach.
Titus: Stomp The Yard. It’s a movie about dancing.
Tamatoa: We used to do Tahitian dance. Our mom did it when she was younger. It’s a family tradition. I like more action movies. My favorite is 300. They have a brotherhood and they stick together.
Favorite TV show
Tamatoa: It shows no matter what level you are, family-wise, business-wise, any aspect of your life, how they handle situations.
Favorite Music artist
Tamatoa: J. Cole. Love Letters.
Titus: I like to listen to different artists, but I don’t have a favorite.
Tamatoa: Probably, my freshman English teacher at Kapolei, Mrs. Masley
Titus: I can’t pick one.
Tamatoa: Math. I like trigonometry. I like the challenge.
Titus: I like math, too. I like Algebra, Algebra II.
Favorite Place to relax
Tamatoa: Depot (in Nanakuli).
Titus: We like to go there. Catch some waves.
Tamatoa: We don’t care if people go there as long as they’re not stealing my waves.
Tamatoa: 2 Timothy 1:7. For the spirit God gave us doesn’t make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Titus: For me, it’s Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all of heart and do not lean on your own understanding. Always acknowledge him and he will keep your path straight.
Tamatoa: Our parents instilled these scriptures into us when we were little. At first it was just words, and later we put it into action.
What does Mom (Tami) say that you can’t forget
Titus: Do your chores.
What chore is the worst?
Titus: Washing dishes. There’s seven of us.
Tamatoa: And our grandparents. Everyone comes to our house, both sinks are loaded.
Titus: We take turns.
What does Dad (Robert) say that you can’t forget
Tamatoa: The main thing he says to us is work hard in school. It’s good to be great at football, but you can’t go far with football unless you do good in school.
What do your coaches say?
Titus: Coach DJ stresses on us doing the little things every day.
Tamatoa: Simple stuff like cleaning the lockerroom. That shows your personality. That shows who you are.
How has your sport affected your life year-round?
Tamatoa: During the season it’s fun. It’s exciting. Offseason, we have more free time.
Titus: I play basketball and run track. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we have a trainer in the offseason.
What middle and elementary schools did you attend?
Tamatoa: We used to live in Nanakuli. We went to Ka Waihona (o Ka Na‘auao Public Charter School). We had a family there.
Titus: My seventh-grade year, I transferred to Kapolei. It was different.
Tamatoa: At Ka Waihona, the teachers really care for you, learning your culture. It was a family.
What youth teams did you play for?
Titus: We played baseball for.
Tamatoa: Nanakuli Dragons. I was 6, Titus was 5. It was tee ball. We played flag football for Maile Warriors.
Titus: From there, we played for Nanakuli Hawks.
Tamatoa: Zeondre (Benjamin) was our quarterback.
Titus: In intermediate, it was Ewa Beach Sabers.
Tamatoa: We played one year of flag for Kapolei.
Titus: We played football and basketball. Nanakuli Ballers (PAL). We came in second in the state.
Where have you traveled in sports?
Tamatoa: When we played JPS, we traveled.
Titus: We played in Seattle and Pylons after that with (Coach) Phil (Faoa).
Tamatoa: We played for 808 Elite and went to Florida. (Note: 808 Elite finished third in a national tournament there.)
What is something you are good at that might surprise people?
Titus: I like to rap.
Tamatoa: Our dad likes to rap.
Titus: My flow I get kind of from my dad.
Time machine. Where and when would you travel to?
Titus: I’d probably go back to 2002 to when I was born. My mom’s dad passed away that year, Paul Mokiao. We hear a lot of stories about him. He was a quarterback.
Tamatoa: He played at Waianae.
Titus: Everyone tells us he was the funniest guy. And my dad’s mom (Ruta). I would want to meet her.
What is on your bucket list?
Tamatoa: Bora Bora.
Titus: And Samoa.
What is the history of your name?
Tamatoa: My middle name is Tipati Paul. Paul like my grandfather. My mom was talking with a friend and she suggested Tamatoa, and she talked with my dad. It means great warrior.
Titus: Lopaki is my middle name. Titus is a name from the Bible. Lopaki that’s from my dad. That’s Robert (in Samoan). Only my mom and my cousin, they’re the only two who call me Lopaki.
Titus: Shout out to Mayor Tuli (Tafai, their uncle) for everything.
Tamatoa: We appreciate him. Thank you to everyone for supporting us through this process.