Buckeyes Head To State With Hawaiian Motto - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Buckeyes Head To State With Hawaiian Motto

The Gilmer Buckeyes are going to state in 3A, after beating the Snyder Tigers Saturday night. The Buckeyes have never won a state championship. In fact, it's only the second time they've made it this far. But they think this is their year, and the team is backed by a winning slogan that comes all the way from Hawaii.

Whether it's "Boss Hog" or "Bring It," the Gilmer Buckeyes have had a slogan every year for the past five years that they've been under head coach Jeff Traylor.

This year, the motto is "Kuikahi," a Hawaiian word that means "coming together as one." It's the last name of a senior linebacker with a long name: Chaz Johan Kealohapilipaaokeikikimekemakua Kuikahi.

"Chaz Kuikahi is the ultimate team player," Traylor said. "He's a warrior. He's what the game of football is all about."

"That slogan is saying that, in order for us to be able to win the state championship, we have to come together and play as a team," Kevin Hollis, senior receiver and outside linebacker, said.

"Kuikahi" was also important this year because of a high rate of player turnover.

"We lost so many seniors off of last year's team," Traylor said. "We lost 28 and 19 starters. We knew building this team, we'd really have to come together as one. So it's just ironic that it worked so well together."

When Chaz came to Gilmer from Hawaii in 8th grade, Coach Traylor told him, if he made the roster senior year, his last name could become part of school history. Chaz's teammates voted to adopt it as their motto and shortened "Kuikahi" to "Kui," which is also appropriate.

"'Kui,' actually, in Hawaii means 'nut,'" the Oahu native said. "So, Gilmer Buckeyes, well, they're nuts. So same thing."

Everywhere he goes, he sees his name and has even gained fans for his home state.

"The whole town is Kui now," Traylor said. "He'll be a legend in Gilmer forever."

As long as the team is "Kui," they may just win their first state championship this weekend.

The Gilmer Buckeyes take on the Jasper Bulldogs Saturday at 5 p.m. at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. If you'd like to support the team, a citywide pep rally will be held Thursday night at 7 at Gilmer High School's New Gym.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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