Maafala joins long list of UH local commitments


POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2008

Tonight's prep all-star game isn't the first time they've lined up together.

And, if all goes according to plan, it won't be the last.

Mililani offensive lineman Benson Maafala and Kailua's Chauncy Winchester-Makainai will play for the Hawaii/Polynesia team in the nightcap of an all-star doubleheader at Aloha Stadium. The duo could end up on the same line again in college as both have committed to Hawaii.

“;I've been long-time friends with Chauncy from O-line camps,”; Maafala said after the Hawaii/Polynesia team's makeshift walk-through at Blaisdell Arena, a result of yesterday's heavy rain.

Maafala, a guard who was also being recruited by California, Washington and Arizona, joined a dozen players in the game who have committed to the Warriors. Maafala said he informed the UH coaches of his intention to sign with the Warriors, though he may still take other trips.

Maafala, whose father played for Hawaii in the 1980s, comes from a line of prominent football lineage and said the opportunity to play in front of his family convinced him to commit to the Warriors.

Maafala (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) played at Damien before transferring to Mililani for his senior season and has been practicing alongside two other offensive linemen who have committed to UH in Winchester-Makainai and Hilo's Jordan Loeffler this week.

“;They're great athletes,”; said Kapolei defensive lineman Chad Lopati, another of those who've committed to UH. “;Just going up against them the last two weeks, it's been a workout.”;

Getting to know some of their future teammates is one of the perks of the all-star game against a team of mainland standouts for the UH prospects.

“;We can start building the team camaraderie now,”; said quarterback Corey Nielsen, a senior at Gahr High School in Southern California. “;It's been great getting to know the guys.”;


Short yardage

UH coach Greg McMackin said running back/slotback Kealoha Pilares will be back for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against Notre Dame on Christmas Eve in a teleconference yesterday. Pilares missed the last two games of the regular season with a foot injury. David Farmer and Daniel Libre split time at running back in his absence. ... Hawaii is a 1 1/2 -point favorite over the Fighting Irish.