Hundreds turn out to cheer Te'o on in Laie

Hundreds turn out to cheer Te'o on in Laie
Some of the crowd at Laie Park wait under a tent for the announcement of the Heisman Trophy winner
Some of the crowd at Laie Park wait under a tent for the announcement of the Heisman Trophy winner

LAIE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow)

Hundreds turned out to support a son of Laie and a member of Kahuku High School's Red Raider Nation. And while they were disappointed that Manti Te'o fell just short of bringing home college football's Heisman Trophy, they still were proud at what he has accomplished.

It seemed like everyone in the area turned out, filling Laie Park for a community pot luck and Heisman viewing party that was only planned and announced on Tuesday. Most of those who came wore t-shirts proclaiming "Team 5 - Go Irish" which were made for the event.

"Very, very unusual, historical to have somebody like this reach this height, have this much success," said Junior Ah You, who's related to Te'o and organized the event. "It's natural. We gotta do something, and look at the great turnout."

Everyone, young and old, came to celebrate, spend time with one another, eat some great pot luck, play a little football, eat more great pot luck, and cheer for Manti.

The party included Te'o's four sisters and a younger brother. They were overwhelmed by the turnout of so many friends and family.

"It's such a humbling experience to see everyone turn out," said sister Brieanne Te'o. "We pretty much know everyone here just because Laie is such a small community. Everybody is auntie, uncle, cousin."

"In the last two weeks Manti has ended up with 2,000 Brand new aunties and uncles that he never knew he had. And we love it!", said Delia Moe, who helped out at the food tent.

The hundreds then crowded under a tent at the park to watch the Heisman ceremony, which was projected onto a big screen. At the moment of the announcement, there was some disbelief, but some still applauded for the Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel.

Even though Te'o came in second in the voting, it was still a time for pride. "It's an honor to be a finalist. not only for this town but for the whole state of Hawaii," said Dr. Allen Anae, a Kahuku High graduate, as the crowd began to break up and head home.

"Whenever we have an opportunity to really celebrate any of our community's accomplishments, especially Manti's, it's just an opportunity to celebrate," said David Vimahi, who coaches football along with Te'o's relatives at Kahuku.

And celebrate they did. Right after the announcement ceremony was over, members of the Kahuku football team and others gathered on the park's basketball court and performed a haka to honor Te'o.

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