Mata’afa Gets 2 Offers in 1 Day, Kihune Earns 98.25 SPARQ Score
By Rodney S. Yap
Kamehameha Maui’s Quinn Kihune and Lahainaluna’s Hercules Mata’afa are the Maui Interscholastic League’s most recent football prospects to rouse the interest of college coaches across the country.
Mata’afa, the Lunas’ dominating defensive end the last two seasons, received two official scholarship offers on the same day, June 3, from Oregon State and New Mexico State.
“Wow, again, twice in one night!” posted Doris Sullivan of Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance, Hawaii’s nonprofit source for helping student-athletes earn opportunities at the next level. “Congratulations Herc . . . more good things to come.”
Mata’afa, a two-time state wrestling runner-up in the boys heavyweight division, is also garnering interest from Hawaii, Washington, Washington State, USC and Wisconsin.
It was no coincidence that Mata’afa received the two offers when he did, nine days after testing at the PIAA Hawaii Combine, May 25, at Castle High School.
Kihune, a 6-foot-1, 233-pound linebacker at Kamehameha Maui, attended the final Nike Football SPARQ Combine at Tigard High School in Portland, Ore., Saturday, June 8. When Kihune arrived at the high school field with trainer David Kamalani of Get Fast, the goal was to get rated, get noticed and get chosen for the Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday, June 9.
Both Kihune and Lahainaluna’s Kiko Kohler-Fonohema accomplished their goals, earning two of the highest SPARQ scores ever by a MIL athlete. Kihune’s 98.25 is the best and elevated the senior-to-be linebacker to the 99th percentile of all the athletes testing in his class.
“It feels pretty good, but I definitely know I could have broken 100,” said the 17-year-old after the combine Saturday. “I should have thrown a 42 or 43 in the power ball. In practice I hit 42 or 43 feet all the time. On my first attempt I had a 43, but the officials asked that I re-throw because one knee came of the pad they said. So when I did the re-throw I tried to play it safe and got a 39. Had I got to keep the 43, my (SPARQ) score would have been about 102.”
Kihune was timed in 4.84 seconds in the 40, had a vertical jump of 32 inches and completed the pro agility shuttle in 4.41 seconds.
“I came in with high expectations. I wanted to finish in the top 25 and I was aiming for a 100 (score),” said Kihune, who estimates 500 athletes attended. “It started off cold, but it got hot today and I got sunburn.”
The official results and all-combine team have yet to be posted online.
Kihune and Kohler-Fonohema both participated in the final Nike Football Training Camp (NFTC), Sunday, June 9, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.
Kiko Kohler-Fonohema improved on the 90.12 score he posted at Laney College in Oakland, Calif., on May 18., to 93.84 as a result of lowering his pro-agility time from 4.31 to 4.04 seconds.
Kohler-Fonohema, an 18-year-old strong safety and captain of the Division II champion Lunas, finished 21st overall at Oakland from more that 1,500 participating athletes. He reportedly finished in the same top 98 percentile last week, despite a shorter 35.3 inch vertical jump (36.3) and a 31-foot power ball toss (34.5).
Kohler-Fonohema performed the power-ball toss from his knees as required, however, the 6-1, 187-pound senior-to-be, has been nursing a wrist injury to his right hand that required surgery seven weeks ago and has been wrapped in a cast.
Mata’afa and 14 other Maui Interscholastic League underclassmen football players attended the Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance 12th Annual Combine, May 25, at Castle High School.
In all, more than 250 football players from across the state participated, including eight from Maui High School.
Officially, Mata’afa measured at 6 foot, 3.5 inches and tipped the scales at 226 pounds. He was hand timed in the 40 at 4.77 seconds and his electronic time was 4.99 — only Maui’s Andre Pierman at 5-11, 156 pounds ran faster (4.72h / 4.93a) than Mata’afa among the MIL athletes.
Maui High junior-to-be Alexander “Moana” Vainikolo, a 5-11, 212-pound linebacker, posted impressive marks in the Pro Agility, an MIL-best 4.17, he had a 28 foot vertical jump and had 12 reps at 225 pounds on the bench.
Also attending for Maui High were returning first-team MIL all-star linebacker Tommy Fisher, lineman Atunaisa “Leka” Vainikolo and running back Soane Vaohea. For complete results go to http://www.studentsports.com/nike-football-sparq-combines/.
Baldwin linebacker Teva Elredege came down with an illness and was unable to attend.
The Maui Football Combine, normally scheduled for the second Friday night in June, is taking 2013 off after three years, including the last two at Lahainaluna Stadium. The MFC is expected to return in 2014 with a combination of camp, combine and clinic, concluding with a 7-on-7 skills tournament in early July.