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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Damien football stars pick colleges

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kealoha Pilares

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Lolomana Mikaele

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Damien Memorial School running back Kealoha Pilares and defensive lineman Lolomana Mikaele have made verbal commitments to play college football at Air Force and Arizona, respectively.

Two other Interscholastic League of Honolulu players also have made commitments — Punahou defensive lineman Jonathan Overton to Utah State and Saint Louis quarterback Cameron Higgins to Weber State.

Pilares, The Advertiser's 2005 All-State Offensive Player of the Year, said he will attend Air Force's prep school in Colorado Springs, Colo., for one year before joining the Falcons' varsity team in 2007. The prep school team competes against area junior colleges.

"There's lot of opportunity there, a lot of things you can do," said Pilares, who carries a 3.9 grade point average, is senior class president and editor of the yearbook. "It's a great school, and they have everything to offer."

Pilares, who led the state with 1,741 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns last season, said he chose Air Force over San Diego State. He also received an offer from Boise State.

Mikaele, an Advertiser All-State second-team selection, chose Arizona over Utah State yesterday. He also received offers from San Diego State and New Mexico State.

Damien co-coach Rudy Alejo said Mikaele has power-cleaned 280 pounds, bench-pressed 315 and squatted over 400.

Pilares and Mikaele join defensive lineman Michael Sipili (Oregon State) as Monarchs heading to NCAA Division I programs.

Alejo, who has been a part of the school's football program off and on for the past 26 years, said there have never been so many Monarchs headed to DI colleges in one recruiting class.

"It means a lot," said Mikaele, who is senior class vice president and sings in a church choir. "It shows that we did something to change the atmosphere of the school."

The first day Mikaele can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 1.

Air Force does not sign players to letters of intent, so Pilares signed a certificate on Sunday accepting the offer to play for the prep school.


Preferring to play sooner than later, Punahou defensive lineman Jonathan Overton accepted a football scholarship from Utah State.

Overton said he received a gray-shirt offer from the University of Hawai'i, an arrangement in which he would have enrolled as a full-time student in January 2007.

Overton said he visited the Logan, Utah, campus the past weekend, and gave his verbal commitment last night. "It's a nice place," he said.

Overton, who is 6 feet 3 and 245 pounds, was named to The Advertiser's All-State first team. He received some votes for state Defensive Player of the Year.

Overton also was selected to the Interscholastic League of Honolulu all-star first team.

—Stephen Tsai


Saint Louis quarterback Cameron Higgins has committed to Weber State, according to his father, Jim Higgins.

Cameron Higgins, 6-1 1/2, 180, was an honorable mention All-State and Interscholastic League of Honolulu selection after passing for 1,453 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season.

"He really liked the coaching staff," Jim Higgins said of Weber State head coach Ron McBride and offensive coordinator Ed Larson. "He liked their system, they throw a lot; they'll probably throw 40 to 50 times a game."

Jim Cameron said his son was also offered a scholarship from Mississippi Valley State, and was being recruited by Boise State and the University of Hawai'i.

—Leila Wai

Reach Wes Nakama at wnakama@honoluluadvertiser.com.