Nā Koa Football Club’s annual Alec Waterhouse Memorial Football Awards Banquet was held on Sunday, November 26 at the Pōmaika’i Ballroom at Dole Cannery with an attendance of over 500 players, coaches, staff, corporate sponsors, friends, and family. It was a night of celebration for the 20 seniors with special recognition given to 13 student-athletes for their outstanding efforts on and off the field this past season.
Alex Waterhouse, for whom the banquet is named, is one of the founding fathers of Nā Koa Football Club and was one of Warrior football’s biggest fans. Nā Koa is one of the beneficiaries of the Waterhouse Charitable Trust. Through the trust’s generosity, Nā Koa is able to continue Mr. Waterhouse’s support of the football program.
Diocemy Saint Juste
Russell Williams, Jr.
Senior running back Diocemy Saint Juste was the recipient of the Alec Waterhouse Most Valuable Player Award. In Saturday’s loss to BYU, Saint Juste became the program’s single-season rushing leader, eclipsing a 25-year old record previously held by Travis Sims. Saint Juste finished the season with 1,510 yards while also setting the single-season record with 282 carries. The Boynton Beach, Fla., native became the first Rainbow Warrior to rush for 1,000-yards in consecutive seasons and surpassed the 100-yard mark eight times while finishing his career with 3,102 yards.
The Warrior Club Award was reinstated this year after a five-year absence. This year’s recipient was linebacker Jeremiah Pritchard for earning the most helmet stickers. Playing both defense and special teams, Pritchard finished the season with 31 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 3.0 sacks.
The Ben Yee Most Inspirational Award winner was defensive lineman Kalepo Naotala, who suffered a spinal cord injury this summer prior to the start of fall camp. The Newport News, Va., native participated in spring ball and was expected to contribute this season before suffering a life-changing accident at Waikiki Beach. The Rainbow Warriors’ travelling party visited Naotala at his rehabilitation facility in Englewood, Colo., while en route to their road trip at Wyoming.
For the second consecutive year, the Coach June Jones Offensive MVP award winner was offensive lineman Dejon Allen, a four-year letterman who has made his 49th career start on Saturday. This season, the Compton, Calif., native, leads the offensive line in grade (92.8%) and helped UH to its best rushing average (168.2) since 1995.
The Coach Bob Wagner Defensive MVP was junior linebacker Jahlani Tavai. The Inglewood, Calif., native led the team in tackles (124), tackles for loss (11.0), and sacks (5.5). He totaled 100-tackles for the second straight season and had nine games of 10 or more tackles.
The Coach Dick Tomey Special Teams MVP was senior wide receiver Ammon Barker, a senior from Salt Lake City, Utah, who participated on a number of units. In addition he finished as the team’s third-leading receiver with 39 receptions for 398 yards.
The Coach Tom Kaulukukui Offensive Captain Award winner was junior quarterback Dru Brown while the Coach Otto Klum Defensive Captain Award recipient was senior safety Trayvon Henderson. Brown, a junior from San Mateo, Calif., passed for 2,785 yards and 18 touchdowns while Henderson, a senior from Sacramento, Calif., recorded 55 tackles, including 4.0 for loss, and one interception.
The Coach Larry Price Unselfish Warrior recipient was freshman offensive lineman Stephan Bernal-Wendt and the Coach Dave Holmes Most Improved Player is sophomore linebacker Solomon Matautia. Bernal-Wendt, a freshman from Honolulu, O’ahu, was pressed into action late in the season and appeared in the team’s final four games. Matautia, a sophomore from ‘Ewa Beach, O’ahu, was the team’s second-leading tackler with 85 and led the team with three interceptions while recording two defensive touchdowns.
The Jenny Masuda Scholar Athlete recipient was senior running back Genta Ito, a junior from Inabe, Japan, who sports a 4.0 grade point average as an economics major.
The Jimmy Asato Scout Offensive Team award winner was wideout Tristin Kamaka, a senior from ‘Ewa Beach, O’ahu, while the Hank Vasconcellos Defensive Scout Team winner was lineman KK Padello, a junior from Mililani, O’ahu.
2017 Award Winners
Alec Waterhouse Most Valuable Player Award: Diocemy Saint Juste
Warrior Club Award: Jeremiah Pritchard
Coach June Jones Offensive MVP: Dejon Allen
Coach Bob Wagner Defensive MVP: Jahlani Tavai
Coach Dick Tomey Special Teams MVP: Ammon Barker
Coach Tom Kaulukukui Offensive Captain: Dru Brown
Coach Otto Klum Defensive Captain: Trayvon Henderson
Ben Yee Most Inspirational Player: Kalepo Naotala
Jenny Masuda Scholar Athlete: Genta Ito
Coach Larry Price Unselfish Warrior: Stephan Bernal-Wendt
Coach Dave Holmes Most Improved Player: Solomon Matautia
Coach Jimmy Asato Offensive Scout Team: Tristin Kamaka
Coach Hank Vasconcellos Defensive Scout Team: KK Padello