Akaka ready for DI grind at Weber State | News, sports, jobs


From Wailuku to Hayward in California to Ogden, Utah, Chayce Akaka seems to have ended up where he belongs.

The 2018 Baldwin High School graduate did pretty much anything imaginable for the Bears – three-time Maui Interscholastic League Offensive Player of the Year for record-breaking quarterback, MIL all-star first-team basketball senior, national baseball champion, and The Maui News MIL Boy Athlet of the Year 2017-18.

Now, after three years at Chabot College in Hayward, California, including a 2020 conference-only season, he’s landed at Weber State University’s Football Championship Subdivision in Ogden.

“Man, I’m very excited, it’s definitely a bigger stepping stone from high school to junior college and to (Division I)” Akaka said on Friday after the third day of the Wildcats fall camp. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and now I’m here. Now it’s just time to start the grind. “

Akaka acknowledged advancing the junior college ranks isn’t easy, but it helped him on his football journey.

“To me as advice to people who are Maui athletes – because Maui doesn’t really get a lot of attention – I’d say that if you don’t have DI scholarships from high school, your best route is to take the juco route,” said Akaka. “Because, as I said, it’s just a stepping stone to the next level. It kind of prepares you for what DI football is and what college level is like. “

Akaka is in the mix to battle for the starting quarterback job with returning freshman starter Barron Bronson, who started four games during the spring season when the Wildcats went 5-1; Junior Randall Johnson, who played in three games; and incoming freshman Creyton Cooper.

“I’m excited, I mean, even though they had a spring season and they – I have to say – they are more experienced than me. I’m still trying to learn the playbook and everything. “ said Akaka. “But it’s a grinder and I feel like I’m confident enough to compete in this fall camp we’re in right now. And I’m very excited to compete, and I’m confident that I can hopefully win the starting job. “

Weber State offensive coordinator Matt Hammer said he liked what he saw of Akaka early on.

“He’s eager to learn and you bring him onto the field, I see a really quick release and the ball just goes out of his hand.” said Hammer. “Of course… it’s been two days, but he has all the tools to play the game. We just have to get him to feel very, very comfortable with what is actually going on. “

The Wildcats were selected first in the Big Sky Conference preseason polls and had seven players added to the preseason team for the entire conference. Weber State also ranks in the top 10 in preseason national polls as the Wildcats bring back four All-Americans and 13 players who won All-Big Sky awards last season.

Weber State opens the season on September 2 in Utah.

MIL graduates currently playing Division I college football include Joshua Tihada of UNLV, Feleti Afemui of Vanderbilt, Jared Kapisi of BYU, Hanisi Lotulelei of San Diego State, and Tristan Nichols of Nevada.

Akaka is honored to join them.

“Oh man, it’s a blessing to be in this category with these guys, just to be here to play DI football.” said Akaka. “Man, a dream comes true. It’s a lot harder than what we do back home in Maui in high school, but it’s a mindset where you just have to go through it and go through it one day at a time. Learn something new every day.

“Man, it’s exciting for me. I am blessed to be here. “

Akaka quickly pointed out his family – father Jason, older brother Taje, and younger brother Quintan – who were helping him reach Weber State.

“I give all my family credit” said Chayce Akaka. “My father, my two brothers. Taje definitely pushes me through everything. He calls me, he tells me things like, ‘Bro, you can do it. You’ve been waiting for this all your life.’ These are the sacrifices he made for me. I’m here to show them that I appreciate what they did for me, especially for my father. “

Akaka got a little emotional when he started talking about his father.

“We went through a lot with my father, but man, this is my rock” he said. “When I talk to my coaches here, I say, ‘My father, this is my rock.’ We’re like little Opihis, you know, we’re just so attached to him. “

Akaka said his father was recovering from some health problems.

“My dad is much better and that definitely makes me feel better out here, that he’s okay.” he said. “I definitely feel better knowing that my two brothers are home and taking care of him.”

Akaka said he looks up to his younger brother, Quintan, who is a stellar basketball player as the current senior for Baldwin. Chayce is impressed with his younger brother’s growth from the COVID-19 pandemic that wrecked his junior basketball season for the bears.

“Man, the guy is a giant, he hovers over me” said Chayce Akaka. “Everyone said we could hack him when we were younger, but as he got older that’s a different story now. He’s the tyrant in the house now. I’m only 6-1, I wish I could borrow an inch from him. “

* Robert Collias can be reached at [email protected]

Akaka Kaimana Bush ranks second with a tako weighing 3 pounds (14.5 ounces).

Mace Oura holds two squids after officials weigh them. Oura nudged one and his grandfather, Fernando Pagampao, caught the other. Wailuku’s Sam Kuailani holds his winning tako during Saturday’s Larry Libre’s fishing and diving tournament at Kanaha Beach Park. The 6-pound and 9.5-ounce catch was the second largest in the event’s 33-year history. Truman Taoka Photos

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