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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, November 24, 2006

Manoa Pop Warner team off to nationals

Pop Warner photo gallery

Advertiser Staff

Manoa's Noa Yap, left, is brought down by Wai'anae's Koali Opunui at Aloha Stadium. Manoa won the game, 14-0.

Photos by JOAQUIN SIOPACK | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Wai'anae's Christian Ilae, left, gets ready to hand off to Denzel Davis in the first half.

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The Manoa Paniolos will get a chance to take on the nation's best and perhaps root for the nation's best college quarterback.

The Manoa team beat Wai'anae, 14-0, on Sunday in the Pop Warner Regional Championships.

The victory at Aloha Stadium clinched a berth in the National Pop Warner Super Bowl Championship from Dec. 2 to 9 at Orlando, Fla.

"They were outstanding. They played hard. They gave great effort," said Manoa coach Boyd Yap, The Advertiser's All-State Offensive Player of the Year after leading Kaiser to a Prep Bowl title in 1979. "Both teams played outstanding."

The Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's top college quarterback, will be in Orlando on Dec. 7. Hawai'i's Colt Brennan will be there as one of three finalists, along with Notre Dame's Brady Quinn and Ohio State's Troy Smith.

"We're going to find a way to get up there and support Colt," Yap said. "If he has some free time maybe he can stop by and hang out with the kids at their game."

Yap said in 1984, a team from Manoa, playing at the midgets level, went on to win a national title in Mobile, Ala. That team was coached by the founders of the Paniolos, Harold Han and Yoshiji Asami. Yap himself played for the two coaches in the 1970s.

This year's team, made up of kids ages 8 to 11, will get to play at least two games in the tournament. The title game is Dec. 9.

"All the kids are very excited," Yap said. "We're going to continue to practice and continue to try and get better each practice and just do the normal things we do in practice."

The team leaves Nov. 30 and still needs money for the trip. Donations can be made to: Manoa Paniolo Football, attention junior pee-wee travel fund. Donations can be mailed to Manoa Paniolos, P.O. Box 61976, Honolulu, HI, 96839-1976. Or donors can call 226-2356 or e-mail: samiamkristie@yahoo.com.

Tomorrow from 3 to 4 p.m. at Manoa District Park, the team will hold a photo day.


Nani Vercruyssen, a 14-year-old ninth-grader at Roosevelt High School, finished second in the girls 16-under division at the Slavic Games in Vitebsk, Belarus, last weekend.

More than 150 athletes from Belarus, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, Moldova, New Zealand, and the United States competed in the Slavic Games.

On the trampoline, Vercruyssen is ranked seventh in the world in her age group (13-14 yrs) and 20th among all juniors (17-under).

Vercruyssen will now take a break from trampoline for two months to do competitive cheer for Roosevelt High School.

In January, she is scheduled to compete in the All-Japan Double Mini-Trampoline Championships in Kaminoyama, Japan.

AcrobaticSports.com recently listed Vercruyssen as No. 3 on its top 10 list of prospects in the world. The rankings are based on the potential of the athlete, not past accomplishments, the Web site said.

Viktoria Gurova of the Ukraine is ranked No. 1 and Luba Golovina of Georgia is No. 2.