There will be no showcase battle between the Trench Dawgz of Hawaii and Winner Circle Athletics of Southern California.
According to TD Coach Whitley Fehoko, WCA cited a lack of available players on Saturday as the reason for the cancellation of the highly-anticipated matchup, which had been set for Mar. 16. California opened high school football for the spring season, resulting in a flood of talent returning to school teams. Playing in an club exhibition during school season is not allowed.
“They called us back two days later and said they couldn’t fulfill their word. They said they would honor our agreement by coming to Hawaii,” Fehoko said on Tuesday. “They released a statement that they’re forfeiting.”
WCA offered to host a combine, but Fehoko declined.
After postponing fall sports, Hawaii’s five high school leagues cancelled football in January. Teams at private schools on Oahu are planning to exhibition games, which means most of the Dawgz’ roster continues to be filled almost entirely of public-school players. Hungry Dawgz who have not played an organized game since the fall of 2019.
The change of plans is a major disappointment for Trench Dawgz coaches and players, but the potential financial loss could have been painful, too.
“Patrick Foley at Winner Circle has been such a help to us with advice on hotels and (reimbursements). I’ve been helping our parents get vouchers on their deposits,” Fehoko said. “We had over 50 families involved. The most amazing thing is every single family and coach reached out. They were, ‘Thank you so much for the opportunity.’ No complaints. That’s where the biggest blessing is. We really formed a family, not just a team.”
The vouchers with the airlines mean that they are valid for one year.
“Every single airline accommodated,” Fehoko said.
In February, Fehoko and WCA’s Jordan Campbell had agreed to the showcase.
“Me and Jordan had an agreement in a text message. They had flyers promoting (the showcase), tryouts for their team,” Fehoko said. “They cancelled the day after they played MBC.”
MBC, or MBC Athletics Hawaii Network, is based out of Waianae and has a roster of players primarily from Leeward Oahu. MBC played WCA on Mar. 4, then a combined team of PTP Sports and San Bernadino Elite on Mar. 6 in Riverdale, Calif.
Once Fehoko got the official news about the forfeiture, he didn’t know what to expect at Sunday’s 5:30 a.m. beach workout.
“All of them showed up. Winner Circle was never in control of our destiny. It’s so good that the kids see that,” he said. “It’s been stressful, but there’s a blessing in the storm.”