Trojans’ Malepeai wishes finalists ‘the best’

Mililani running back Vaae Malepeai wishes both Kahuku and Saint Louis the best in Friday night's Division I state championship game. Instead, he wishes both sides the best. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Mililani running back Vavae Malepeai wishes both Kahuku and Saint Louis the best in Friday night’s Division I state championship game. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Mililani’s Vavae Malepeai etched his name into the Hawaii high school history books with his rushing exploits for the Trojans the past three falls.

Malepeai, who broke Joe Igber of ‘Iolani’s all-time rushing record in last week’s Division I state semifinal loss to Saint Louis (4,549 to 4,428), has lots of friends and relatives on both teams in the No. 2 Kahuku (12-0) vs. top-ranked Crusaders (9-1) championship game Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.

Malepeai is not rooting for one particular team to win over the other, but he does wish both sides the best.

The Trojans running back, who is off to play for the Oregon Ducks next fall, is the nephew of Vavae Tata, the Kahuku head coach. As a matter of fact, they have the same first name because Malepeai was named after Tata.

In addition, Malepeai is a cousin of Saint Louis offensive lineman Michael Malepeai and a nephew of Crusaders assistants Tupu Alualu and Wes Tufaga.

Another uncle of Vavae Malepeai’s is actually playing in the state final — Saint Louis offensive lineman Amo Augafa.

According to Tali Malepeai, Vavae Malepeai’s mother, Saint Louis quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia grew up with Vavae and “so always considered each other brothers and family.”

The connections don’t stop there. He is good friends with and former junior football teammates of Kahuku quarterback Kesi Ah-Hoy, linebackers Pesa Lefau, Manaia Atuaia and Aaron Tapusoa, and running back Sefa Ameperosa, as well as Saint Louis defensive back Iosefa Noga.


  1. 88 November 17, 2015 4:29 pm

    Nick, who cares? Did you know that St. louis DB Nihipali’s Aunty (Kam Alumni) is married to St. Louis LB Malufau’s Uncle(Kahuku Alumni) and that Punahou QB Tuliloa, Navy HC Niumatalolo and St. louis SS Tufaga all live on the same Street. But you dont write an article about that. Why? How about that all those Crusder players i just mentioned are 10th graders>

  2. FBfan November 17, 2015 5:20 pm

    @88 why those kids broke the rushing record??

  3. Crusaders November 17, 2015 6:20 pm

    Amazing how Nick Abramo finds a way to make a STL vs Kahuku championship game all about a team eliminated a week ago. Where’s the articles on the awesome Kahuku defense or QB Tua’s amazing performance?

  4. LBI November 17, 2015 6:38 pm

    I think when we view it with the right perspective, we realize that these are teenagers playing football for their school and community, and we get caught up with all negativity. It is nice to know that as they grow beyond the HS years, the bond that they shared as teammates and opponents will only flourish.
    For now they have one goal in common…to win the big one. Play hard boys and make your family and community proud for both schools. Embrace the memories…Have fun and don’t be afraid to tell us adults to calm down because we do get a little childish sometimes.

    Go Big Red

  5. 88 November 17, 2015 6:49 pm

    Nope. The only thing they broke was Mililani’s heart…. But whats more amazing is that all those Crusader’s I mentioned are all in the 10th grade and they are playing for a State Championship.

  6. Hahashandah November 17, 2015 7:01 pm

    @FBfan, I think the point 88 makes is that Malepeai didn’t really have any opinion on the Championship game. If he had an opinion, Kahuku this or St. Louis that then that might be an article. As it is, its an article to have an article. I would rather it just be about him, maybe an expanded interview on becoming the all time yardage champ… But no need to include the Championship info.

  7. Hauula 93 November 17, 2015 7:37 pm

    I commend this young man for all his accomplishments and hope to watch him on Saturdays as well on Sundays too.. Go luck braddah…

  8. Laie Boy November 17, 2015 8:01 pm

    88 isn’t a member of our community. We welcome any positive news about any kid. Have is a wonderful player and we enjoy watching him play. 88 has no respect and has no business making like he is one of the boyz!

  9. FBfan November 17, 2015 8:07 pm

    @Hahashandah sounded like he’s disgruntled that the writer didn’t write bout a kahuku player who lives on the same street with bigbird n Oscar da grouch n how this player is related to dat person.

  10. DoRightSleepWell November 17, 2015 8:10 pm

    10th graders in the Championship game…sounds like the Trojans Trio several years ago. Great work Vae, good luck being a duck and beyond! Thanks for the memories so far!

  11. Momknowsbest November 17, 2015 10:27 pm

    You guys miss the point of the story. Malepeai may not have gave a specific opinion of the game but he is setting an example for you negative people on this forum. I have read some of your outrageous comments and frankly am disgusted. Here this talented young man wishes both team well and explains some of the ties he has with each team. You guys blast this article. What is wrong with you guys.

  12. ThereWeGo November 17, 2015 11:34 pm

    Don’t forget about Toilolo(#26) and Purcell(#41). Both starting middle linebackers and both sophomores. Also Malepeai (#69) at nose tackle. Very strong class of ’18! Good luck to both teams this Friday!

  13. Nick Abramo November 18, 2015 12:58 am

    Hello everyone. The writer here. Nick Abramo. Simply put, Vavae Malepeai is Hawaii’s all-time leading rusher and his uncle that he was named after (his father’s brother) is the coach of the team that is in the championship game. Kind of neat right? So, he was asked who he was rooting for, and it turns out, he’s related to ALL these people on both Saint Louis and Kahuku … and also FRIENDS and FORMER teammates with ALL these people on Saint Louis and Kahuku. Vavae Malepeai is the Walter Payton of Hawaii high school football. The fact that he has that many relatives and friends (especially the Red Raiders head coach!!!!) is a STORY. Sorry to disappoint those who don’t think it is a story.

  14. Ackrite November 18, 2015 3:06 am



  15. Ackrite November 18, 2015 3:07 am


  16. ranter November 18, 2015 6:20 am

    We love you what you do Nick.. keep on going.

  17. 88 November 18, 2015 8:24 am

    Look all game long all you heard about the Crusadets D was so so on the tackle and he is only a SOPHMORE.. I mean it’s like the whole Defense is made up of SOPHMORES( I know it ain’t). That to me is a better story than who the losing teams RB is friends with. C’mon man…..

  18. AOK November 18, 2015 8:56 am

    For a “non-story” this post sure got plenny replies, huh? LMAO

    haters gonna hate

  19. DaTruth November 18, 2015 9:00 am

    Plain And Simple, Everybody gottah Recruit from Kahuku , Why? , You guys Dont have Any Real Homegrown Talent ? so You gotta Recruit from Da country? Kahuku Is Football Country plain and Simple, Jus Look at It Like This , All Those private school Fball Teams Wouldnt be as Succesful as They Are today., WE DONT RECRUIT WE RELOAD!!

  20. Hahashandah November 18, 2015 9:49 am

    @Nick, I’m no writer or reporter. Just as a avid reader of HawaiiPrep this time of year. I do think this particular article is a bit of a stretch to tie things in.

    1. The relationship between Kahuku’s Tata and Malepeai is Good but I think its so good it could it its own article, i.e. How well do they know each other? We know Coach Tata has been Coaching away from Hawaii. Has he given some help, mentoring, or leadership to his nephew? What about Tata’s brother did he play,are there others who are great athletes in the family. How did Malepeai feel about playing against his uncles team?

    2. Malepeai and St. Louis is OK (regarding the cousins). I think that a more interesting turn would have been to talk about the fact that Malepeai was a Crusader and did well for them even before coming to Mililani. How about a story on that. How did it feel to play against his former teammates. etc.

    3. The connection to the rest of Kahuku players seemed loose… Hawaii is small they all probably go to the same combines and hang out. To say that some good players, know other good players in Hawaii is pretty common.

    4. The Walter Payton of Hawaii can command an article on his own… Malepeai has great accomplishments, I would read some articles on him just because they were about him and he is from Hawaii everyone will support him it goes beyond the school colors at that point.

    For everyone else: Not agreeing totally with someone doesn’t make you a hater. Sorry, its just an opinion. Its O.K. to think differently than others.

  21. AOK November 18, 2015 2:58 pm

    @Hahashandah If you’re talking about my “haters” comment, it was not directed at you. Was referring to others who again continue to make inappropriate (even unrelated) comments on a consistent basis. You are right, you don’t have to agree with something to not be considered a hater. Bottom line: everyone has an opinion (or at least most educated people do). And, this forum is a place to express oneself freely. But, when those comments go overboard, or become inappropriate, that is when they have to cease. Sadly, many in this forum do not know where to draw that line.

  22. Hahashandah November 18, 2015 5:11 pm

    @AOK, I understand what you are saying I appreciate your response.

    @Nick Ambro, I also appreciated your previous response sharing your ideas behind the story. I think its great that you take the time to review how others may view you work.

    Good luck to all… One more game to go. Here’s to a great State Championship Game.

  23. TGOD November 19, 2015 10:21 am

    Good work Nick, any interesting news on this great kid or any other student athlete is welcome. High school football is about more than winning and losing. Good job Vae!

  24. Education First November 20, 2015 12:12 pm

    DaTruth November 18, 2015 at 9:00 am
    Plain And Simple, Everybody gottah Recruit from Kahuku , Why? , You guys Dont have Any Real Homegrown Talent ? so You gotta Recruit from Da country? Kahuku Is Football Country plain and Simple, Jus Look at It Like This , All Those private school Fball Teams Wouldnt be as Succesful as They Are today., WE DONT RECRUIT WE RELOAD!!

    You are absolutely correct. It is football country. Unfortunately for the kids it isn’t Academic Country or Learning Country. Last time I checked you go to school to learn, not play football. Am I incorrect?

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