Two years ago, the sophomore trench men of Saint Louis showed great potential, according to coach Ron Lee.
As seniors, Ethan Spencer, La‘akea Kapoi and Jonah Savaiinaea have fulfilled the prophecy. Saint Louis won the ILH Open Division championship again, and the Crusaders are in position to secure a fifth state title in a row.
On Wednesday, Spencer and cornerback Kona Moore signed national letters of intent with Hawaii, while Kapoi signed with San Diego State and Savaiinaea signed with Arizona. Saint Louis hosted a ceremony at Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium before noon. Family, friends and teammates were on hand to share in the celebration.
Kapoi had 20 FBS offers, starting with Hawaii in April of 2020. Syracuse, UNLV and Arizona State followed in the ensuing months. By late August, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound right tackle had offers from the Big Ten: Michigan and Indiana. San Diego State jumped on board on Feb. 8 of 2021, and Kapoi committed to the Aztecs on June 24.
“Everything that you expect of a college, they have. The people, the area, the program and the athletic department itself hit home for me. That’s why I made my decision to go to San Diego State,” said Kapoi, who has a 3.4 grade-point average. “I want to get off the rock, experience new things, face new challenges, and win the day.”
Savaiinaea, a 6-3, 330-pound right guard, also received his first offer from Hawaii in April of 2020. Like Kapoi, he was offered by Michigan, and in early 2021, UCF offered. So did SDSU in April of ’21. Arizona came on board in May, and Savaiinaea committed to the Wildcats on June 22.
“I feel great, so great being able to put pen to paper. Getting flashbacks of all the hard work I put in. It finally came out today,” said Savaiinaea, who has a 3.7 GPA.
Unlike the other three signees at Saint Louis who wore hats, Savaiinaea wore an Arizona beanie.
Spencer, a 6-2, 270-pound center, received his offer from Hawaii in July. It took him less than a week to commit to the Rainbow Warriors.
“I feel good being able to go to the next level not only to play football, but further my education,” said Spencer, who has a 3.7 GPA. Today’s relaxing. Nothing’s really changed. It’s just now I’m signed to UH,” he said.
Moore will join a Warriors squad that loses its top three cornerbacks. On July 9, he committed to UH, turning down offers from Navy, Army and Louisiana-Monroe. This morning, Hawaii coach Todd Graham said he liked the physicality of Moore, a 6-foot, 185-pound playmaker.
“I feel awesome. It feels good to finally make it official,” said Moore, who carries a 3.3 GPA. “I’m giving it a fair shot. I’m going in there with an open mind. Now I can focus on this game and hopefully the next (state championship) game.”
The Crusaders play OIA runner-up Mililani on Saturday night in the semifinal round of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Open Division State Championships.
Also signing early were Tevarua Tafiti of Punahou (Stanford) and Keenan McCaddy of Moanalua (Boise State).
Extra points: Finals week makes it an extra busy week for Saint Louis football players. Savaiinaea had finals in Religion and Algebra III on Wednesday morning. He is done for the week, unlike Moore, Spencer and Kapoi. … Kapoi plans to major in Business Management. … Moore had finals on Wednesday morning in Pre-Calculus and Engineering. He has four more finals this week. He plans to major in Nutrition or Business. … Spencer had one final on Wednesday, Band class. He plays percussion, mainly drums. … Kapoi had two finals: Business Leadership and Religion. He has two more left.