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Local boards forming for Pop Warner Football divisions

By Staff | Aug 11, 2011

The Lahaina Chiefs head coaches include (from left) Ron Maielua, Iolani Kaniho, Kalama McEwen and Kia Neizman.

LAHAINA — As one of the top programs not only here on Maui but across the state as well, Lahainaluna High School football stands tall as a beacon of integrity within the oftentimes complicated world of interscholastic athletics.

A perennial Maui Interscholastic League title contender and state playoff participant, Luna football has molded a tradition of excellence and character built upon the continued dedication of its coaching staff and the unwavering support of the West Side community.

High among the architects of the foundation of success of the Lahainaluna football program are the leaders of the Lahaina Chiefs Pop Warner organization.

Like several other Lahainaluna athletic programs — including the basketball and wrestling teams, for example — Luna football has benefited greatly from the Lahaina Chiefs youth program as a foundation builder for those high school teams.

The tradition continues as the Chiefs embark on the 2011 campaign with ten-year veteran Andy Alavaso serving as the Lahaina commissioner.

Following in the pathway set by past Lahaina youth football leaders such as Kale Casco, Todd Steele, Toddy Lilikoi and Rayleen Kama, Alavaso begins his second year as the Lahaina representative on the Maui Pop Warner Football Association board of directors.

Commissioner Alavaso reported that the MPWFA’s Highest League Authority (HLA) has instituted a new system, where each district within the jurisdiction will form a board of directors for each division (Tiny Mites, Junior Peewees, Peewees and Midgets), instead of a governing body to guide and finance the whole program.

“The league is trying something new this year to get more of the parents to come out and take part in the direction of the program. It’s good to see more people coming out to support the kids,” said Alavaso.

The HLA directive has created a scramble here on the West Side, but the four divisions seem to be settling in with the coaching staffs and division boards organizing for the start up weeks building toward the Jamboree and opening games in September.

The head coaches include Kia Neizman with the Tiny Mites (ages 5-7), Kalama McEwen for the Junior Peewees (ages 8-9), Ron Maielua with the Peewees (ages 10-11) and Iolani Kaniho leading the Midget Division team for 12- to 14-year-olds. (All divisions have weight restrictions to go with the age categories.)

Directors for the respective divisions are Michelle Neizman (TM), Athena Caugudoy (JPW), Brenda Maielua (PW) and Jody Mashimo (M). Each division will organize their own cheerleading squads and establish their own boards.

“We’ll do the teri-burger sale at the county fair for our major fund-raiser and begin selling the Lahaina Chiefs T-shirts in the near future,” added Alavaso.

“The MPWFA Jamboree will be held on September 4 at the (War Memorial) stadium, and the ten-game regular season games will start the following Sunday. We hope to have three home games here at the Lahaina Recreation Center Field.”

For more information on Lahaina Chiefs Pop Warner Football, visit team officials at the Lahaina Recreation Center field on weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m.

Go Chiefs!