Maui boy playing football in Florida faces his biggest rival — and it’s not a school

Hurricane Ian is now a catastrophic storm expected to make landfall just south of Tampa near Bradenton.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 6:56 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 27, 2022 at 7:39 PM HST
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BRADENTON, FL. (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kaholi Krau dreams to play in the NFL one day.

“Make it to college first, then make it to the NFL,” Kaholi said.

The 15-year-old Wailuku native soars at 6-foot-5 and weighs about 300 pounds. In July, he traveled nearly 5,000 miles to play at prestigious sports school — IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The freshman is an offensive lineman on the school’s varsity football team.

But he is now facing something more dangerous than a rival school.

“The majority of the 1,400 students that attend IMG Academy have already left campus. They’ve been taken home by their parents,” said Kaholi’s father Nick Krau. “Unfortunately, we’re 5,000 miles away. So, we don’t have that luxury where we can just bring him home to ride out the storm.”

Hurricane Ian is now a catastrophic storm expected to make landfall just south of Tampa near Bradenton. Approximately 2.5 million people have been mandated to evacuate.

Kaholi said majority of his schoolmates have left. But those who didn’t, like himself, are now sheltering in place in the school’s basketball and tennis facility.

“That area, the elevation is higher than on the west side of campus. So, the flooding shouldn’t be too bad there,” Kaholi said.

An email to parents says the facility has food, water, a generator, supplies, medication and mattresses for students to sleep on.

The Maui boy’s loved ones back home are anxiously waiting for updates.

“I’ve been following the storm constantly like a crazy person, looking on my phone, anything I can do to track the storm and to just to be aware, help relay to him, to understand what to expect. He’s a kid still,” Nick said.

Hurricane Ian is expected to hit Florida’s west coast late Wednesday.

Kaholi’s dad’s advice?

“Be smart, listen to your advisers and be safe and we love you back home,” he said.

Kaholi, on the other hand, isn’t nervous at all.

“There’s not too much to worry about.”

He’s too focused on making his NFL dreams come true.