Leilehua's Bryant Moniz started his 40-yard dash Saturday morning at Saint Louis.

Gridders toil to get noticed

Under the scorching heat of an 85-degree morning at Saint Louis, they toiled.

The players did a bit of sweating, too.

Twelve Division I coaches and dozens of local coaches watched many of the state's top high school football players run, jump, lift weights, run routes and throw passes at Saturday's Pacific Island Athletic Alliance football combine.

For coaches like Cal's Ken Delgado, the combine is a major reason to make another trip to the islands. The Golden Bears signed Kamehameha's Mika Kane and Saint Louis' Tyson Alualu in the spring, netting two key contributors for the future. Delgado, Cal's defensive line coach, hopes to land more blue-chippers in the very near future.

"We had no Polynesian kids when I got there," he said of his move from San Diego State to Cal three years ago. "Now we have nine or 10 islanders."

Of the coming year's crop, Delgado forecasts some sleepers.

"I think we'll see some players rise later on," he said.

The event included a coaches clinic held on Friday night in Waikiki.

Washington linebackers coach Chris Tormey was one of several coaches who held seminars. Tormey's class subject: defending against the spread offense. The former Nevada coach couldn't help but beam after the combine was done.

"Most of the best players in the state were here today. This thing was like a well-oiled machine. I saw everything I needed to see," he said of the 3-hour combine. "I'll come every year."

For players like Alex Daniels, the PIAA combine is about motivation and exposure. Daniels, a running back from Radford, posted the fastest 40-yard-dash time at 4.52 on the FieldTurf surface.

"I could've run better," he said. "This was fun."

Daniels did the L-drill in 7.63 seconds and the Pro Agility test in 4.53 seconds. The 5-foot-5 1/2, 140-pound junior also posted a 40-inch mark in the vertical jump.

Radford offensive lineman Ramsey Feagai did a bench press Saturday morning at Saint Louis.

Farrington lineman Whitney Fehoko was the best bench-presser of the day with 24 repetitions at 225 pounds. Fehoko is a 6-1, 310-pound junior.

"I dropped 25 pounds since the beginning of the season," he said. "I want to play at this weight. And I really want to get exposure. Whatever opportunities I get, I want to take."

Fehoko has a 3.0 grade-point average and has scored 1,200 on the SAT.

Several teams brought in truckloads of players, literally. Six players came in with Leilehua assistant coach Burt Souza.

"I had the food, energy drinks and the truck ready this morning," the offensive line coach said. "Then I got word from the boys that they needed to take their physicals."

Once that was done, they were en route to the combine.

"Auntie Doris doesn't like it when anybody's late," Souza said of PIAA director Doris Sullivan.

PIAA, a recruiting service that charges no fee for high school student-athletes, is relatively new. However, Sullivan and combine coordinator Darnell Arceneaux have run the event for four years now.

Their efforts benefit hard-working players like Quinton Tang, Moanalua's All-State honorable-mention linebacker. Tang, Stanford Leti and Sawaii Eselu represented Moanalua at the Stanford Nike combine recently, and all three were at yesterday's PIAA event.

"They want to do it and get better," Moanalua coach Arnold Martinez said. "After the Nike combine, they knew they could compete at the highest level."

Tang ran an electronically-timed 4.7 40 at Stanford, but was one-tenth of a second slower at Saint Louis. Leti, who ran a 4.6 at Stanford, had the same decline.

"At the Nike one, they ran us four at a time," Tang said. "The competition makes me run faster, I think."

Tang bench-pressed 225 10 times, posting good numbers in the L-drill and Pro Agility tests, as well.

"If I think about the (college) coaches here, I get nervous, but we all want to get noticed," he said.

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