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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Waialua boys shine for West

A West All-Star squad stacked with state champions and big-name players got big help from a little school on the North Shore.

Waialua seniors Graham Rowley and Branden Galapia scored on touchdown passes from Kamehameha's T.C. Campbell to help the West stifle the East All-Stars 27-6 last night in the HUB Goodwill Senior Bowl at Aloha Stadium.

Rowley, a two-way lineman who committed to BYU in the summer, was probably the most surprised person in the stadium when his number was called. The defensive end was penciled into the West's playbook this week on the offensive side, something that wasn't required at Waialua.

"I was kind of nervous. I thought I'd drop it," Rowley (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) said of the 4-yard scoring toss that gave the West a 13-0 lead in the second quarter. "I dropped those at practice. I never caught one in a game situation."

Rowley, who wore an unusual number -- 22 -- was a presence on the other side of the ball and figures to line up at defensive end at BYU. His childhood buddy, Galapia -- they went to Waialua Elementary School together -- was clutch, too.

The 5-11, 170-pound receiver pulled in a quick out pass in the flat from Campbell, then changed momentum to the inside and beat three defenders to the goal line for a 14-yard touchdown. That gave the West a 20-6 lead in the fourth quarter, and the East never recovered.

"I think it showed that I can play at this level," said Galapia, who hopes to play in college.

Rowley and Galapia will follow the footsteps of recent graduates like Caleb Forte, who stabilized a rough ship and turned Waialua into a competitive program at the Division II level.

"We're just as good as everybody else," Rowley noted. "We just don't have the numbers."

Kapolei linebacker Tu'u Lolohea's high-energy play was rewarded with defensive most valuable player honors for the West. Lolohea (6-2, 225) has not committed to a university yet.

"I want to keep my options open and go somewhere I'll be comfortable," he said.

Several all-state candidates, including Kamehameha defensive lineman Beau Yap and Farrington running back Harry Tuimaseve, were not selected to the Hawaii/Polynesia team that met the Mainland All-Stars in the second game last night, drawing some criticism from the football community.

Lolohea looked at the selections differently.

"How people said it was unfair about the selections, I think we're just blessed to be picked for any all-star game. There's a lot of seniors who are dying to be in any all-star game," he said. "Can't be selfish about it."

The highlight of his game was a one-handed interception in the first half near the sideline. He had two picks during the regular season.

"I don't know, man," Lolohea said, surprised with his play. "God was on my side."

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