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Friday, November 25, 2011
Eye on POY: Hawaii football

By Joel Beck

The window on the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race is closing, and time is running out for student-athletes to state their POY case. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program's selection process.

Steven Lakalaka
Senior running back, Punahou (Honolulu, HI)

2011 Team record: 11-2
2011 Team standing: Will play in Division I state final vs. Kahuku tonight

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs:
205-1,090 (5.3)- 12
2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 34-268 (7.9)- 1

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: UCLA (verbally committed)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2010 and 2011 First Team All-League; 2010 Third Team All-State; 2009 Second Team All-League

Tyler Taumua
Junior running back, Farrington (Honolulu, HI)

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 231-1,727 (7.5)- 21

2011 Team record:
2011 Team standing: Lost in Division I quarterfinals

Collegiate destination: HS Junior

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2011 First Team All-League; 2010 Second Team All-League Honors.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011 campaign.

Kenan Sadanaga: Leilehua (HI) senior quarterback
Semo Sila: Farrington (Honolulu, HI) senior linebacker
DeForest Buckner: Punahou (Honolulu, HI) senior defensive lineman

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at or Twitter @ESPNHS_GPOY.