West High football coach Chris Myers found the leader he needed to keep the 2013 Wolf Pack motivated in Lautaime Alailefaleula — a brutal tackler, a solid blocker and a force to move the ball through the middle as the Wolf Pack’s fullback.
Alailefaleula, a 5-foot-8, 265-pound junior, is the winner of the 20th annual John C. Kimball Award, an honor that recognizes the team’s most valuable player and emphasizes team spirit, leadership and citizenship.
“He’s got a motor that goes nonstop, and he’s a good leader, by example,” Myers said. “He’s not a super loud, vocal person, but he leads with his actions, which is impressive for a young guy.”
Alailefaleula said he was surprised to be this year’s choice for the award, but he acknowledged that he strived to bring a strong work ethic and an upbeat perspective to practice and games.
“I learned that no matter what, play with your heart, no matter what the score is,” he said. “As long as you play 100 percent, it shows.”
He started playing football in eighth grade with Panther Youth Football and quickly learned to love the sport.
The Wolf Pack, which started the season with a 36-man roster and went 1-9 overall and 0-5 in the Tri-City Athletic League, leaned on players who consistently played both offense and defense.
Alailefaleula said he preferred to play linebacker, but as the season progressed, he embraced his offensive role. In West’s final game of the season, against Stagg, he ran the ball for 150 yards.
He counted that game among the highlights of the season.
“I had fun running the ball,” he said. “Without the line, though, the offense would be nothing.”
Myers said Alailefaleula set the standard for intensity in practice and motivated the other players to fight to the end of every game.
“That’s one of the things that’s contagious when he does that, especially for the guys coming up,” Myers said.
“No matter what it was, he always had a positive attitude and said, ‘Let’s go get these guys this next play.’”
Senior center Bob Lopez was recognized for the second year in a row as the team’s scholar-athlete. Myers noted that Lopez, who has a 4.0 GPA, is taking seven classes rather than the usual six, including Advanced Placement calculus and physics. The scholar-athlete award also went to senior quarterback Garrett Morris, who also carries a 4.0 GPA.
West football awards
John Choi, senior running back, Back of the Year
Bob Lopez, senior center, Offensive Player of the Year, scholar-athlete
Austin Torma, junior linebacker, Defensive Player of the Year
Ryan Herrera, junior lineman, Lineman of the Year
Cody Correia, senior lineman, Lineman of the Year
Garrett Morris, senior quarterback-defensive back, Coaches Award, scholar-athlete
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.