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Youth football: Warren to represent Big Island at All-American games

Updated: 
May 16, 2017 - 12:05am

KAILUA-KONA — For an up-and-coming lineman, Gareth Warren has some pretty good role models.

Warren, a 13-year-old Kealakehe Intermediate student, cites Houston defensive end JJ Watt and Saints center Max Unger as the players he patents his game after. Watt because his seemly unlimited motor and Unger for the obvious reason of being a hometown Super Bowl hero that Warren got to meet in person.

Warren — who is listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds — does his best impression of the two while on the field as a two-way lineman with the Westside Eagles Pop Warner squad.

“My favorite part of the defensive line is being able to go through and tackle who ever has the ball,” Warren said. “On the O-line, I play mostly center and I take pride in the responsibility of making sure the QB gets the ball. I vision my family is back there, so I block as hard as I can.”

He seems to be doing a stellar job, as his play is starting to catch the eye of some scouts around the nation.

Warren has been selected to play in two All-American games: the Diamond Youth All-American Game in Virginia Beach on May 29 and the Elite Prospect Scouting 8th Grade All-American Football game on June 4 at AT&T stadium — home of the Dallas Cowboys. He got an invite to a third game, the 302 Rising Freshman All-Star Game in Delaware, but had to turn it down.

“When my dad told me I was really surprised and felt blessed and honored at the same time,” Warren said. “I was like, ‘Wow hard work really pays off.’”

It wasn’t long ago that one of the same stadium Warren will be playing in hosted Super Bowl XLV, when the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now it will be Warren’s turn to put on a show against some of top talent from across the nation.

“I expect the best from all the players. I will give my all in everything I do, just have fun but work hard at the same time,” Warren said. “I hope to represent the Big Island and the state of Hawaii the best that I can. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to be compete with and against some of the best players from around the United States.”

When Warren is not playing football, he’s playing rugby for the Kona Bulls, paddling for Kai Ehitu or even fire knife dance with Motutele. But for the next few weeks — as it is for most of the year — football is the primary focus.

The family is still taking donations to help with the costs of the trip. Those looking to help out can go to www.gofundme.com/gareth-warren or go through PayPal at www.paypal.me/leonardwarren.

“We just want to thank the Kona community for all their support,” Gareth’s dad, Leonard Warren said. “All the coaches that have coached and mentored him, we really appreciate it.”

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