Saturday morning in the lo‘i for Kamehameha I-AA Warriors

The Kamehameha Warriors I-AA football team went back to the roots on Saturday. More than 60 players worked in the lo‘i at Heeia, pulling out large weeds to prepare for the planting of kalo. Photo courtesy of Wade Inn.

Two games into the ILH football season, one of the youngest teams in the league went outside the box on a bye weekend.

The Kamehameha I-AA squad emerged wiser and muddier for their effort.

“During the bye week, we came together as a team to work in the lo‘i in Heeia. They were thick in the mud weeding and preparing the lo‘i for kalo planting. It was a unique way to serve, to get a workout and to bond as a team,” coach Wade Inn said.

The three-hour stint on Saturday morning at Kako‘o ‘Oiwi was a new experience for freshman middle linebacker Ramsey Nishida.

“I knew we would get muddy, but I didn’t know it was going to be that hard, pulling out the weed. It was pretty tall, more than two feet,” said Nishida, who resides in Pearl City. “We got there 8 o’clock. We’re bare feet, more than 60 of us. At first, defense was pulling out the weed and offense was smashing something. They were having fun. After awhile, they pulled the weed, too.”

Defensive lineman Tristan Waiamau-Galindo had worked in a lo‘i before.

“I’ve worked in the one in Kaneohe, next to the H-3. The one in Heeia has a lot of connection to the keiki. It’s community-based and a lot of people got to put their hands in it,” Waiamau-Galindo said. “It was really to pull out the weeds. It was a good lesson, too. It showed how much our ancestors put in the work.”

Kamehameha I-AA football players Nevin Briones, Drake Kekua and Cyrus Benner dug deep on Saturday to keep this lo‘i in Heeia healthy. Photo courtesy of Wade Inn.

Standing in the mud, keeping the lo‘i pristine, serving community as a team. It’s a concept old as time immortal.

“Right now, we’re really grateful where we get our food. Putting in that work is different from what we’re used to. We’re working out, but for me, my back is sore,” Waiamau-Galindo said. “I believe we cleared out three patches worth of weeds. It was really a big team effort. It’s just another way we can give back.”

Nishida hopes to return to Heeia one day.

“Yeah, I would go back. There’s actually a field trip coming up,” he said. “You have to work really hard.”

The I-AA Warriors are ninth and 10th graders, normally slotted into the JV division. With no JV division this fall, Kamehameha and Saint Louis’ JV teams are playing the ILH’s D-I and D-II teams. Kamehameha I-AA and Saint Louis I-AA are also scheduled to meet twice in the final weeks of the regular season.

Kamehameha I-AA was close in its two contests, losing to Damien, 25-20, and ‘Iolani, 35-20. The I-AA Warriors will play Pac-Five on Friday at Aloha Stadium.


  1. ILoveHawaii September 24, 2021 8:44 am

    Awesome Job players and coaches!!
    Truly “feel good” action.


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