Hawaiian linemen: Masi Tunoa and Isaiah Alapai provide stability for Dons


Samantha Lopez, Staff Writer

From the beautiful pacific islands to the turf of De Anza College, freshman offensive lineman Masi Tunoa and freshman defensive lineman Isaiah Alapai came to De Anza not only to play football but also to pursue an academic dream.

At 18, Alapai and Tunoa were recruited from their high school in Kapolei, Hawaii. Working with head coach Dan Atencio and their high school football coach, an alumnus of De Anza, they where able to come to California as part of the Football Athletic Success Team
athletic program.

Under F.A.S.T., students like Tunoa and Alapai are closely guided to success in academics as well as football.

“I consider us to be the Stanford of the west [in our dvision], and every day I get calls and application from great players, but we don’t only need great players we need students that want to be academically successful,” said football head coach Dan Atencio.

“That’s exactly why we have granted F.A.S.T and that is to promote education amongst sports. We want these great players to not only play football but to be prepared, educated men.”

Alapai spoke about his plans to transfer after De Anza.

“I want to become faster and stronger and hopefully be recruited by San Jose State,” Alapai said.

Tunoa also said he would like to be recruited by San Jose State after his two seasons at De Anza and in the meantime develop stronger independent skills.

Alapai is known to his teammates as the “football sumo.”

“I’m so glad to have them both on our team. They have been a great contribution mentally and physically,” said sophomore wide receiver James Roe. “Tunoa has really worked himself up to become a great team member, and without Alapai at defense we would have been sorry.”

Freshman wide receiver Eric Adair described his teammates as his brothers.

“Both Tunoa and Alapai have come to the team showing great motivation and support towards others. They always come with high hopes and uplifting personalities,” Adair said. “They really know the definition of Ohana and that is exactly what we are. We play together therefore we are family.”

Tunoa said adapting has been easy for them.

“It’s not too different from home,” Tunoa said. “At first I was a little intimidated by everyone because I thought the guys were going to be rude and mean. However, everyone is very friendly just like back home.”

In their spare time, Tunoa and Alapai hang out with some of their teammates and new De Anza friends and enjoy local amusement parks. They said they love going to L&L Hawaiian BBQ because it’s pretty authentic and reminds them of back home.

Aside from their college football goals, Alapai said he has another goal in mind.

“We’re not only here to prove ourselves in football, but also to disprove the stereotype that island folks always get homesick and end up going back home,” Alapai said. “We have goals, and given this opportunity we will take it and be the difference.”