Jr Prep Sports America (JPS) is proud to announce that the 2016 Paradise Football Classic will be played at Aloha Stadium and will feature several top collegiate football prospects from Hawaii, American Samoa and Team Norcal-West Coast (Northern California, Nevada, Utah and Washington State). Nearly 160 high school players will stay in Waikiki and compete over a two-day period while participating in team and cultural events from January 4-10, 2016. Games will begin Thursday, January 7 and the Championship Game will be played on January 9 at 7:00pm.
The JPS Paradise Football Classic will also feature its JPS eighth grade All Stars in an East vs West game on January 9 at 3:00pm. Previous JPS All Star Intermediate Games featured players such as Vavae Malepeai – 2015 State Offensive Player of the Year, Mililani High School; Tua Tagovailoa – 2015 ILH Offensive Player of the Year, Saint Louis High School; Kesi Ah Hoy – 2015 Red OIA Offensive Player of the Year, and will showcase other notables like Ephraim Tuliloa, Punahou High School; Sefa Ameperosa, Kahuku High School and Challen Faamatau of Farrington High School to name a few.
Every year a number of extremely talented prospects throughout the Pacific Region go unseen by college football programs in the United States and Canada. JPS America believes that high school students participating in this event will increase their post-secondary educational opportunities by exposing their football abilities. The final two games on January 9 will include live coverage, accessible via OC16 Xcast during and after the competition.
Throughout the past four years Jr Prep Sports Hawaii has hosted a number of youth all-star games for elementary and intermediate players here in the Islands. In December 2014, two Jr Prep football teams traveled to Washington State and competed in the Tanoa Bowl with Canadian and Washington All Star teams. Both Hawaii teams won their respective division championships.
Robert Faleafine, founder of Jr Prep Sports Hawaii and JPS America, said of his Tanoa Bowl experience: “I saw how costly it was to take a team up there. Many of our athletes can’t afford to travel, and we were only able to take a team of limited numbers. I thought to myself, ‘Why not bring some teams here?’. Hawaii is a great destination. Who doesn’t want to play in paradise? We have great weather, activities, and opportunities here. Teams from American Samoa can more feasibly travel here than to the continental United States, and they usually get less exposure than we do here in Hawaii. It’s also a middle ground for teams from the west coast.” From those reflections, the Paradise Football Classic was born.
Jr Prep Sports Hawaii, in partnership with JPS America and its affiliates, is committed to showcasing island athletes. They believe this tournament has the potential to grow into a major mechanism for connecting athletes from the Pacific Region to NCAAI, NCAAII, NAIA, and NJCCA schools around the country. Mr. Faleafine further remarked, “The Paradise Football Classic gives some of our most eligible prospects throughout the Pacific Region a platform from which they can be scouted by a number of college programs. These games give players a chance to compete on a level playing field to see how they compare to other prospects. We truly expect the game to generate a lot of attention toward the players participating.”
The two Hawaii teams representing the East and West teams are coached by select coaching staff from both the ILH and OIA local High Schools including Wendell Look and Joe Lane (Iolani), Isaac Sopoaga (Kaiser), Nelson Maeda (Castle), Walter Young (Waianae), Nolan Tokuda (Leilehua), Amosa Amosa (Campbell), Fred Salanoa (Radford), Rod York and Maa Tanuvasa (Mililani), Hauoli Wong (Kailua), and David Tautofi (Kaimuki) to name a few. Also in attendance will be Honorary Head Coach Jessie Sapolu for Team Norcal-West Coast, and coaches from high schools throughout American Samoa, including Faga’itua High School, 2015 American Samoa High School Football Champions.
An event of this significance requires the participation of many volunteers and leaders in the community. Jr Prep Sports Hawaii and JPS America are grateful to the many organizations who have stepped forward to support the JPS Paradise Football Classic. JPS hopes to build on strategic partnerships with business and community leaders such as the Hawaii Building and Construction Trades Council including Reginald Castanares, President; T.G. Paris Managing Director of the Ironworkers Stabilization Fund; Joseph O’Donnell Financial Secretary, Treasurer and Business Manager for the Ironworkers Union; Arthur Tolentino, Financial Secretary, Treasurer and Business Manager for the Sheet Metal Union; Damien Kim, Financial Secretary, Treasurer and Business Manager of I.B.E.W Local 1188; The Polynesian Cultural Center; Television Station OC16; Ilima Tours and Transportation; Leilani & Raymond Ma’ae, USO Sportswear; Yvonne Samia LSW, Community Relations Manager, Kapolei Kroc Center; Doreen Au, Starwood Sheraton Hotels; Linelle Hanawahine, Sports Travel Hawaii; Gay Shinbara, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts; Risa Myers, Pagoda Floating Restaurant & Catering. Special thanks to former Honolulu Mayor Mr. Mufi Hannemann for his unwavering support and guidance.
Jr Prep Sports (JPS) is Hawaii’s premier youth football program that prepares players to compete at the High School level using an unlimited weight format. JPS Hawaii has 17 member organizations and operates year round. JPS is a student first program that promotes academics, leadership and citizenship through sports.