Iapani Laloulu’s high school football journey will begin and end at Farrington High School, but the 6’2, 355 lbs. offensive lineman took a pit stop at Saint Louis for his junior season. He says it was a vital year for his growth and maturity.
“Going to an all boys school they taught us a lot of stuff about being a true gentleman. Certain things, the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you put yourself out there publicly, is really going to effect how people are and how they’re going to treat you, because whatever you do in public people might think that’s what you do at home, so they did a lot for me,” Laloulu told Cover2’s Alan Hoshida.
Despite playing in the ILH with one of the premiere programs in the state, Poncho, as his friends and family call him, always wanted to return home. Wearing the maroon and white is much more than just a jersey, it is a family tradition. He didn’t want to be the only one in the family to not have a Farrington dipoma.
“I really wanted to come home and finish my last year where it started. My dream was to always play for the home, represent the city of Kalihi, so when I go out there everyone knows where I am from. Like I said, it’s been a dream. Especially for my parents, they graduated form here and also all my siblings. They all graduated from here, so to be the last out of my siblings to finish here and play it really means a lot to be a Governor.”
With a 4-star rating, Laloulu is one of the top two prospects in the class of 2023. He has been for multiple years now, earning off from SEC schools, Pac-12 schools, Hawai’i, and many several others across the country. Miami, Oregon, and Arizona remain high on his list, but he has yet made a commitment.
Poncho will get to showcase his talents on the national stage in January when he participated in the Under Armour All-American Game – an high school all-star game reserved for the top prospects in the country. Laloulu was given his invited after competing in the ESPN300 Elite Camp on Maui this summer.
“It’s big, especially for a kid from a very small islands of Hawai’i. It really means a lot to go represent the 808. Every where I go, I make sure to represent our islands really good. I don’t go there just for fun. I go there to let them know that us kids from the islands, the beautiful islands of Hawai’i, we don’t play around when it comes to football. Some of us use this as a ticket to help our parents,” Laloulu continued, “Right before, I told my mom and my dad that I promise that I will get an invite to the All-American game, so that all the hard work that they’ve been doing for me, it shows off through me, especially helping me in the classroom and onto the field. The sweat and dedication they put just for me, so that I can accomplish my dreams.”
Kalihi has been known to produce NFL level talent over the years, including 4-time Super Bowl champion, Jesse Sapolu. Laloulu understands history and knows he is following in the footsteps of some of Hawaii’s football giants.
“Back in the day, Kalihi and Farmington were really well known. Basically the city of Kalihi, a lot of people knew them. For example, you have guys like Jesse Sapolu, Tyson Alualu, who went to Saint Louis but is from the same area where I’m from, Vine Manuwai. A lot of guys that went out there and played are from Kalihi. It feels great to also represent and be a role model for the kids over here.”