LAHAINA - As an alternative to traditional youth football programs that are constrained by national organization guidelines, the Junior Prep Football League was formed four years ago here on Maui. Several concerned high school football advocates saw the need for a league for middle school athletes that had been traditionally barred from playing in organized games, mostly due to size restrictions set down by the traditional programs.
Thus, the JPFL came to fruition with the fondly apt "Big Boy League" moniker. Teams were formed Upcountry, Central Maui, Kihei and, for the first time this year, here in Lahaina.
Friends of Lahainaluna Football leader and former Lunas coach Lanny Tihada has dreamed of a middle school team on the West Side for years. Now, his wishes have become a reality.
The Lahaina team will finish its season this Saturday, May 31, with a home game at 1 p.m. at Lahaina Recreation Center.
Coach Lanny is the lead organizer of the Lahaina Lunas, who join the Kulamalu Panthers, Kihei Waveriders, Kahului Falcons and Wailuku Hurricanes to form the 2014 JPFL.
Coming into the final stretch of the season, the Lunas - with a coaching staff that includes the Lahainaluna High School varsity and JV staffs, as well as several new additions - are leading the league with a 5-0 record.
The Lahaina defense has held its opponents to an average of 1.2 points per game, while the offense is scoring 25 points per contest.
With the veteran wisdom that has paved the way to the high regard accorded to the Lahainaluna football program throughout the state, the Lahaina JPFL entry mirrors the organizational aspects of the high school team that has become the Maui Interscholastic League kingpin.
The Big Boy Lunas run the same systems as the Lahainaluna team, and moreover, they conduct themselves in the same calm and focused manner.
The player roster, made up of student athletes from Lahaina Intermediate School, Maui Prep and Maui Waena, is 38 strong. They're not that big in comparison to their opponents, but they are skilled and disciplined in a similar way to the LHS Lunas. The Red Tide rolls on.
The Lahaina team will finish the season this Saturday, May 31, with a home game against Kahului at the Lahaina Recreation Center. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
The West Side community is urged to come out and support these Lahainaluna stalwarts of the future. Be there - and wear red.