The Ventura College football team, home to six Big Island players, is ranked No. 2 in Southern California and No. 9 in the nation, racing out to its best start in 14 years with a 4-0 record.
The Pirates’ latest win wasn’t easy, requiring four overtimes to prevail over visiting Bakersfield 30-24 on Saturday. The Big Island’s half-dozen are safeties Scotty Wong and Kamaka Lewis, and linebacker Kalei Amorin (Hilo, 2011); cornerback Keha Aiwohi, linebacker Colby Lewis and offensive lineman CJ Hoohuli (Kamehameha-Hawaii, 2011).
Lewis redshirted last season while the others are in their last year of eligibility. Aiwohi played his first season at Eastern Washington.
A look at some other island graduates:
c Peni Vea (Kealakehe, 2011) missed his second straight game, UNLV’s 38-35 win over Air Force on Saturday, with a leg injury. The freshman safety led the Rebels (1-3) in tackles in each of their first three games.
c Kalii Kunitomo (Konawaena, 2009) has 13 catches for 188 yards for Chapman (1-1), a Division III school in Orange, Calif. In a 17-14 loss to Whitworth, he had five receptions for 36 yards.
c Kelson Kawai (Kohala, 2010) has been busy for Pacific (1-2), a Division III school. He leads the Boxers in all-purpose yards, averaging 99.3 yards per game on rushing, receiving and kick returns. The wide receiver has also been used on defense, and has made two tackles.
c Maua Vole Jr. (Kealakehe, 2010) had one tackle in Jamestown’s 13-10 loss to Valley City State. The Jimmies, who compete at an NAIA school, are 1-4.
c Ashia Joseph (Waiakea, 2011) is sparking Southern Idaho College (17-1) to a healthy start. Last season as a freshman, she made the Region 18 second team and ranked third in assists in the region.
c Kuulei Kabalis (Kamehameha, 2009) is averaging 3.0 assists per set for Kansas State. The senior libero compiled 478 digs last season, ninth in school history for a season. She has 138 digs for the Wildcats (13-1).
c Ziona Verhulsdonk (Hawaii Prep, 2009) is pounding 2.13 kills per set, third most for Western New Mexico (5-9). Two other local products, Keirsa Pakani-Tsukiyama (Waiakea, 2012) and Chyler Imai (Kohala, 2012), have joined her. Both are defenders. Pakani-Tsukiyama has 91 digs, fourth most on the team. Imai has 21 digs.
c Destynee Figueroa (Hilo, 2012) and Kalei Paige (Kamehameha, 2012) have helped Oteru Junior College (La Junta, Colo.) post an 11-3 record.