Punahou seniors keep team focused on final prep season

Kale Ane
Kale Ane
Manti Teo
Manti Teo
Dalton Hilliard
Dalton Hilliard

By Jason Tang - bio | email

HALAWA (KHNL) - The Punahou football program is one of the most recruited in the islands this year.

With one of the nation's top ten recruits in Manti Teo, it'd be easy for him and the other seniors to focus on future college careers. But it's the guys like Manti who are keeping the team focused on this, their final prep season.

With a record of 4-1, 2nd ranked Punahou is finding out having super star players like Manti Teo, can sometimes be a distraction.

Look no further than last week, when USC head coach Pete Carroll came to town.

"Yeah, Pete Carroll was a distraction definitely. But we had talked about him coming and it was an opportunity for other kids to perform under the spotlight as well," said Kale Ane, Buffanblue football head coach.

Distractions are becoming common place at Punahou. There's not only Teo, but running back Dalton Hilliard, and a handful of other highly recruited athletes.

However, they are leading by example.

"I was always taught you want to take life one step at a time and you can't really look ahead unless you look at what's in front of you, and right now this team is what's in front of me," said Teo.

"We just gotta focus up and care about our teammates, that's the one thing we gotta do because we worked with them in the offseason and we've been together for a long time, it's the least we can do is focus on this season and after focus on the recruiting," said Hilliard.

Coach Ane is proud of his players, and will be the first to tell you they aren't daydreaming about competing in college.

"They've really focused on the mission this year which is to do their best and help their teammates out."

With players like Teo and Hilliard leading the way, the team's goal is simple.

Bring back the school's first State Championship.

"It's a special season, your last one, and everyone wants to end with a State Championship so we want to bring the State Championship home."

As for Teo and Hilliard's future plans, they say they won't make a final decision about their future until national letter of intent signing day in February of next year.