LAHAINA - The Maui Pop Warner Football Association will kick off the 2014 season with its annual Jamboree Day on Sunday, Sept, 7, at War Memorial Stadium in Wailuku.
The event will feature controlled scrimmages for all MPWFA teams from Kulamalu, Wailuku, Kahului, Kihei and Lahaina in the Tiny Mite (ages 5-7 years old), Junior Peewee (8-10), Peewee (11-13) and Midget (12-14) divisions, classified by weight.
Here on the West Side, the Lahaina Chiefs will once again field formidable teams in all divisions - despite some shortages of players and coaches in the younger levels, especially in the Tiny Mite category.
For the older and bigger boys in the Midget and Peewee levels, the Red Tide rolls on. Kalama McEwen continues in the head coaching position with the older group, and Kale Casco, who revived Pop Warner Football in Lahaina in the 1980s, is returning to coach the Peewee Chiefs after taking a hiatus from his leadership role with the organization. Veteran Ron Maielua continues as the head coach of the JPW Chiefs.
McEwen reported that most of the Lahaina teams have around 20 players on their rosters and, except for the Tiny Mites, the coaching staffs are rounding into form.
"The upper division teams are in pretty good shape as far as coaches and players are concerned, but the Tiny Mites still do not have a head coach and are a couple players short on their roster," he said, as he took a break from his sales job at West Maui Motors, a major sponsor of the Lahaina Chiefs. "But all of the other teams are doing alright to this point in getting ready for the Jamboree and then the season openers the following weekend."
All of the Chiefs teams will play an eight-game regular season schedule, with the kick-off contests taking place on the weekend of Sept. 13-14.
Coach Kalama stated that the Chiefs will have four home dates at the Lahaina Recreation Center Field.
"We really hope the community will come out and support the kids of the West Side. We're looking to get everybody excited about Chiefs football and generate support for the program going into the Turkey Bowl events during Thanksgiving weekend, and also for any of our teams that qualify to go up to Las Vegas and play up there. The first and second place teams in all of the Maui divisions will be invited to go up there," he said.
"I'd really like to give a shout out to Coach Lanny (Tihada) and all of the Lahainaluna coaches that helped our boys in the Maui Big Boy Football League (during the spring). That experience was a tremendous boost to our program and gave the boys the experience of the Luna system that we try to prepare the players for. That is always our goal - to get the boys ready and familiar with the Luna way," McEwen continued.
He urged any interested players or coaches for any division, but particularly the Tiny Mites, to contact him at (808) 866-7012 or call Tiny Mite Division President Veronica Long at (808) 283-9976 or Vice President Monica DeSoto at (808) 359-9200.
Chiefs practices are held at the Lahaina Recreation Center Field next to the Boys and Girls Club Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.