NANAKULI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Steve Uyehara
"Defend the Valley." The Nanakuli High School football team adopted that phrase as a battle cry during games this year. But it evolved into something bigger than that.
Team captain Lyle Tuiloma says it "means representing your community at the best of your capabilities. Represent your community by being successful at what you do by being successful at a sport, being successful as an individual, just representing Nanakuli in a very blessed and a very good way.
His older sister Chantel Enos agrees. "Defending the Valley, we're telling them that I'm not ashamed from where I come from," says Chantel. "This is who I am."
Lyle and his family are well known in Nanakuli.
And Lyle is easy to recognize at 6'2", 285 lbs.
Despite his stature he says his childhood seemed pretty normal right up until his 4th grade year when his parents lost their home while battling a drug problem.
"After my parents had gotten their house taken away, my sister took us in," says Lyle.
Around this time Chantel had a decision to make.
She received a letter of acceptance to the University of Arizona and was ready to become the first person in her family to go to college.
But, "I just felt like my heart needed to be here," said Chantel. "I felt that my desire, my destiny was to be home and take care of this family rather than fulfilling my own...because I feel like if I had gone on to college, I don't think I ever would've come back."
So Chantel crumpled up the letter, threw it away and stayed.
She and her now-husband Alika rented an apartment and took in Lyle and their 2 other brothers Lymann and Lynold.
But she was no push-over.
"I remember one night I said Tita, I'm hungry, can I have something to eat? She said but you have 2 legs and 2 hands," recalls Lyle. "I said, you right, you right. So I ended up making dinner for everyone that night."
"From the time they were little I knew these kids were gonna be somebody," says Chantel. "I could see football players in them all around the table. They were full of energy, they were more bigger than their classmates."
So Lyle and his brothers focused on football and school while Chantel and Alika did the rest.
A few years later they got a call saying their parents were clean and ready to come back into their lives.
They welcomed it, and reunited all under one roof.
Chantel says they're closer than ever.
"As a family for the past 3 years we went through a lot, a lot. But it helped us grow stronger today."
The whole family was at Lyle's graduation, adding to an already amazing year.
Lyle was a team captain and played both offensive and defensive line as the Golden Hawks went 10-0 in the regular season.
And let's not forget the big letter Lyle got from the University of Colorado.
"I was looking at my husband like am I reading this right? They just said they're going to offer him a full scholarship."
When looking back at the ordeal, Chantel has no regrets.
"I told my brother, do not be ashamed to share your story. A lot of families have problems. Be thankful. Every struggle, every struggle, I said the bigger the struggle, the bigger the accomplishment."
So consider this success on a number of levels.
For a young man and his football career.
His sister who sacrificed her dream to let her brother fulfill it.
And a family determined to stay together and defend the valley.