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KINI MAKANEOLE SHINES IN HIS SENIOR YEAR

Former Guam High Panther Kini Makaneole wrapped up his senior season of football for Niceville High School, Flordia and has his sights set on a collegiate football career.

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By Michael Cruz

Kini Makaneole just finished his senior season as starting right offensive tackle for Niceville High School. The team lost a heartbreaker to Tate High School 21-20 in the Division 1-6A Championship and were one game away from the Florida State semifinals.

One year ago, Kini played for the Guam High Panthers. His football journey started on Guam.

Kini is of Samoan and Hawaiian descent. As a military dependent and son of a Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer, he has lived in Guam, Hawaii, and now resides Florida. He first started playing youth football for the Guam Wolverines in 2010. In 2011, he played for the Cardinal youth team in Hawaii and even played in a championship game at Aloha Stadium.

He started his high school football career at Guam High. Kini gained experience as a freshman in the program and also played rugby. His sophomore season in 2013 continued with Kini getting some more playing time and another year of Rugby. Kini’s junior year was his best season on Guam despite the team falling to an 0-7 record. He was able to display more of his talents on the field on both sides of the ball.

The Makaneole family left Guam and arrived in Florida this past February. Kini arrived at 6’2 and 235 lbs. He is a gym rat and took advantage of Niceville’s off-season strength and conditioning program. By spring football, he established himself as player to watch at Right Offensive Tackle. By the beginning of fall practice, he was up to 255lbs and improved his 40 yard dash to 5.0 seconds.

In a short time, he distinguished himself and became the team’s starting right tackle. He was also, for the first time, surrounded by FBS level talent on his team. His teammates included wide receiver Elijah Stove (Auburn commit), safety Romeo Finley (has an offer from Clemson), and running back Deonte Sheffield (has an offer from Troy). As the only islander on the team, the coaches had taken a liking to their new lineman.

Kini was able to start at right tackle for all thirteen games this season and even had a chance to play against former Panther teammate Royce Thomas, who started at Safety for opposing team Navarre. Niceville finished the season at 10-3. Kini also maintained a 3.0 plus GPA and scored a 31 on his ACT. He wants to play college football and is hoping to get an offer to play somewhere before graduation.

Quotes

“I’m really glad I moved here and getting so much exposure and love from these coaches, they never met an island boy before they love it! I played at Guam High three years and played both sides. The coaches here know how to make you work and bulk up. I want to thank my coaches on Guam and Hawaii on teaching me to play with 100% percent effort, staying low using leverage, and playing with finesse.” said Kini Makaneole.

KM2

Kini takes the field during a game his senior year at Niceville High School. (courtesy photo)

Guam High Highlights

http://www.hudl.com/athlete/4583959/highlights/185060379/v2

Niceville Highlights

http://www.hudl.com/athlete/4583959/highlights/297847422/v2

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Since forming the GNYFF in 2009, the league has never gone without a season until 2020. The league announced their plans to cancel the 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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RIP: Former Guam football player Phil Mendiola, shown here with son Tano, passed away in Las Vegas due to a heart attack. Mendiola played for numerous Guam teams from youth to varsity. He was 39.
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Morgan McKenna (left with black face mask) poses for a photo with Guam Football Association Technical Director Sang Hoon Kim (seated, with blue face mask) and Guam Football Association Assistant Technical Director Ross Awa (standing) after signing his letter of commitment to play intercollegiate men’s soccer for Muskingum University in Ohio. The Fighting Muskies compete in NCAA Division III’s Ohio Athletic Conference.

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