Anahu-Am­bro­sio to rep­re­sent at All-Amer­i­can game

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - SPORTS - By J.R. DE GROOTE

KAILUA-KONA — Hezekiah Anahu-Am­bro­sio has a dream of one day play­ing in the NFL, even­tu­ally mak­ing it to the Pro Bowl as one of the best play­ers at his po­si­tion.

While that dream is on hold for at least a few more years for the hard work­ing Kealakehe sev­enth grader, he achieved what may be the next best thing for a 13-year-old.

Anahu-Am­bro­sio was se­lected to play in the Di­a­mond Youth All-Amer­i­can foot­ball game in Mur­ri­eta, Cal­i­for­nia from Jan. 12-17. The game will fea­ture some of the best fifth-through-eighth grade foot­ball play­ers in the na­tion.

“When I found out I made the ros­ter I was ex­cited,” AnahuAm­bro­sio said. “I’d never thought some­thing like this would have ever hap­pened to me. I was speech­less for a sec­ond but then I told my­self I got this.”

Anahu-Am­bro­sio — also known as “Kiah” — has made a name for him­self with the Lee­ward Steel­ers Pop Warner

squad. As a stand­out run­ning back and line­backer, he helped lead the Pee­wee team to an un­de­feated 13-0 sea­son, which wrapped up with a bowl game vic­tory on Oahu.

“I en­joy play­ing foot­ball be­cause of the feel­ing of com­pe­ti­tion. The feel­ing of pumping up my team­mates be­fore a game,” he said. “And also just the feel­ing of be­ing out there on the field with all my friends and know­ing that my fam­ily is out there watch­ing and giv­ing me there support. I wouldn’t give foot­ball up for any­thing.”

There is no true off­sea­son for Anahu-Am­bro­sio, who is in­volved in swim­ming with the Kona Dol­phins club, jiu-jitsu, box­ing and track and field. Dur­ing his spare time, Anahu-Am­bro­sio can usu­ally be found hunt­ing, div­ing or fish­ing. How­ever, even when foot­ball is on a break, the young grid­iron stand­out still finds a way to get his work­outs in with B.A.D. Academy and coach Aisea Tre­maine.

“Hezekiah is hands down one of the hard­est work­ers I’ve ever been around,” Tre­maine said. “He’s one of those ath­letes that continues to im­press you ev­ery time he trains. We had to dou­ble the train­ing and the in­ten­sity be­cause of the tar­get be­ing on his back this sea­son and he em­braced ev­ery part of it, never shy­ing away from any­thing we did. He def­i­nitely un­der­stands the im­por­tance of hard work and he at­tacks ev­ery time we train. His work ethic, ded­i­ca­tion, and com­mit­ment is the rea­son why he’s play­ing in this All-Amer­i­can game in Cal­i­for­nia.”

His hard work on and off the field got him no­ticed by Ser­gio Ma­mone — who helps coach a ri­val Big Is­land Pop Warner squad in the Panewa Alii. He nominated the Steel­ers’ stand­out for the game to join his son, Ricky Ma­mone. The duo, who have a long his­tory of com­pet­ing against each other lo­cally, will rep­re­sent the Big Is­land at the game.

“It’s a good thing for the Big Is­land to show what kind of tal­ent we have here,” said Kiah’s dad, Hezekiah “Heze” Anahu-Am­bro­sio, a 2002 Kon­awaena grad and foot­ball stand­out who now coaches the Lee­ward Steel­ers pro­gram.

As for what got him to this point, Anahu-Am­bro­sio cred­ited his dad and Tre­maine for put­ting him in po­si­tion to suc­ceed.

“With­out all those days of train­ing, video watch­ing and healthy eat­ing habits I wouldn’t be the way I am to­day,” he said. “I would also like to thank and credit them for get­ting me all the support from friends, fam­ily, my team­mates and other com­mu­nity mem­bers out there through so­cial me­dia and just from ev­ery­one spread­ing the word.”

Anahu-Am­bro­sio is ask­ing for a bit of help from the com­mu­nity to help make his dream a re­al­ity. The cost of the trip is es­ti­mated to be around $3,500.

Do­na­tions are be­ing taken on­line at gofundme.com/ hezekiah-anahuam­bro­sio.

Kirsten Ng/Spe­cial to West Hawaii To­day

Hezekiah Anahu-Am­bro­sio in ac­tion ear­lier this sea­son in a Pop Warner game at Waverider Sta­dium.

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