Pilares, 3 others commit to schools
The changing power structure of high school football in Hawaii is reflected in the latest college commitments. Two standouts from former longtime doormat Damien and two from fledgling Kapolei pledged Division I schools yesterday.
They include Star-Bulletin state offensive player of the year Kealoha Pilares.
Pilares, a running back from Damien, selected Air Force. The 5-9, 175-pound scholar-athlete rushed for 1,900 yards in his first season at the position. Pilares, whose goal is to become a pilot, picked the Falcons over Hawaii, Navy and Boise State.
"He's one of the most hard-working guys," Monarchs assistant coach Eddie Klaneski said.
Damien defensive tackle Lolomana Mikaele (6-2, 260) committed to Arizona. He had offers from Utah State, New Mexico State and San Diego State.
"He's not the biggest or fastest, but he'll give it all he's got," Klaneski said.
Meanwhile, two Kapolei standouts committed to Hawaii.
Linebacker Po'okela Ahmad (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and defensive end Alasi Toilolo (6-4, 230) accepted scholarship offers from UH after visiting the Manoa campus over the weekend.
Kapolei was established in 2000 and its varsity football program has existed four seasons.
"I'm excited. This is a first for Kapolei football," Hurricanes coach Darren Hernandez said. "The first two boys in our short history to play for Hawaii. It's an exciting time for them, their families and Kapolei football. When people come to Hawaii, they look at Kahuku and Kamehameha and Saint Louis. Sometimes our boys are under the radar."
Not Ahmad, who has become more visible lately after being named the defensive player of the game for the West team in the HUB Goodwill Senior Bowl game last month. Oregon State, San Diego State and Washington expressed interest in him.
Ahmad, who last season was in on 80 tackles, including 14 for loss and six sacks, is expected to remain at outside linebacker. He is fully qualified academically.
There's a possibility Toilolo will wait until 2007 to enroll, but Hernandez said Toilolo is very close to qualifying. A year to develop might help both players, Hernandez said.
"They're both thin, I'm sure they'll redshirt and pack on some size. Both are athletic and can run," he said. "Alasi's real raw. He's only been playing a couple of years of football. His best years in football are ahead of him."