Lahaina Punt, Pass & Kick athletes seek donations to travel to Hilo
LAHAINA — The local NFL Punt, Pass & Kick events have been completed, and now it’s time for our West Side youth participants to move on to the next level of competition.
Led by West Maui Boys and Girls Club Program Director Dustin Quick, 28 competitors took part in the district event on Sept. 29 in Lahaina to qualify for the sectionals that will be held on Nov. 11 in Hilo.
Once again, Lalelei Mata’afa — a three-time national PPK finalist and former champion — leads the way as the winner of the 14-15 age bracket.
Her younger brother, Matai Mata’afa, won the 8-9 age group, Sheldon Frias took the 10-11 category and Kealii Frias led the age 12-13 competitors.
A concern at this point, however, is that funding for the travel to the sectionals at Hilo has dried up, and the families of the competitors and West Maui Boys and Girls Club are looking to the Lahaina community for help.
“Three and four years ago, Boys and Girls Club was able to fund the sectional travel,” Quick explained last week from his onsite office.
“Now, with the economy in the shape it’s in, they are unable to fund the kids traveling down to Hilo for the sectionals. Last year, a lady donated her travel miles so that the kids could go to the regionals in San Diego. Now, the need has expanded, and we need help to get the kids to Hilo.”
If all goes well again for Lalelei, her brother or the Frias boys, the kids will qualify for the regional event during a San Diego Chargers game near the end of the season.
A win there — based on distance and accuracy in punting, passing and place kicking — would garner a ticket, paid for by the NFL, to the finals held during half-time of the AFC Championship game.
If you would like to help these Lahaina kids follow their dreams in the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition, call (808) 667-9314 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.