Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • November 30, 2021
Kauai Female Football Defensive Back Shania Kelley Is Becoming A KIF Fan Favorite

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with quotes from Shania Kelley.

Shania Kelley is enjoying a breakout season with the Kauai High football team.

Kelley, a junior defensive back for the Red Raiders, is making waves in the KIF.

“She’s gained a huge amount of respect around the league and she’s developing a huge fan base,” Kauai coach Jason Apilado told Bedrock Sports Hawaii on the phone Tuesday.


Shania Kelley made a tackle against Waimea in a 28-14 loss to Waime last Saturday at Hanapepe Stadium. (Image credit: Kauai correspondent).

An experienced soccer and jiu-jitsu athlete and also a former Pop Warner standout for Hanapepe, Kelley transferred into Kauai High this school year and decided to try out for football.

“She gravitated to the defensive backs group,” Apilado added. “Many times when female players come to play football, it’s on special teams or as a kicker. We were like, ‘Let’s see what she’s got.’ ”

Kelley did not get into the Red Raiders’ first game against Waimea, but got the call to go in late in a lopsided loss to Kapaa the following week.

“At that point, I didn’t want to see a clean uniform or jersey, so we put everybody in,” Apilado said. “And it was her moment to shine. She had six solo tackles and a forced fumble and the crowd went absolutely wild. All of a sudden, they didn’t care about the scoreboard and neither did I. Our defensive backs position coaches did a great job getting her up and ready to go and roll with the big boys.”

Kelley earned that playing time and is now a key player in the defensive backfield.

“She doesn’t shy away from the weights or the speed workouts,” Apilado said. “She’s always at the front of the line and giving it all.”

Kelley told Bedrock Sports that she has gained a lot of confidence, thanks to the support system at the school.

“It’s been challenging, fun, exciting and so much more,” she texted. “My teammates and coaches have been very supportive and encouraging. They have made me ready and prepared for whenever I step on the field. As a girl playing football, it hasn’t been easy. Many people, those who I don’t really know to those who I am really close with have discouraged me, put me down and most of all doubted me. But despite all the negativity, I still push through and work hard. It has built me into a very resilient individual and the thing I do best is prove others wrong.”

Playing in Kauai Youth Football for two seasons, Kelley said she did not have confidence and played with hesitancy.

“I didn’t really play with with passion, but now it’s different,” she added. “I play with passion and I play with heart. It doesn’t matter if we’re getting beaten down hard or winning. It doesn’t matter if I’m tired and sore. I will put every energy, strength, and speed into every rep and play I’m in as if it’s my last. I will push through every pain, body ache and injury because of my love for this sport. I’m the only girl playing on varsity on Kauai. I’m not the biggest, the strongest or the fastest, but I will fight through every challenge, I will pick myself up whenever I get knocked down and I will push myself past my limits.”

And that doesn’t cover it all. There is a lot more from this young woman about her new-found abilities in herself: “This high school football season has taught me to be determined, dedicated and self-disciplined. While playing I feel confident, strong, resilient, courageous and fierce. At the end of every play, rep, game or practice is an accomplishment for me. Football is my drive and motivation. And that’s why I love to play. Which makes one thing for sure, this definitely isn’t gonna be my last year playing You’ll see me out there on the football field next year as well.”

Kelley also gave a shout out to all of her supporters and her parents, Shalea Raposas-Peeren and Landon Peeren.

About the latter, she said, “They’ve been there from the very beginning and always pushing me to do my best.”

Dennis Fujimoto, a reporter, photographer and columnist at The Garden Island newspaper, wrote the following story about Shania Kelley in that publication’s Nov. 11 issue: Kauai’s Shania Kelley Sole Female Football Player In KIF.

>> Sharp Kahuku vaults to No. 1 In Bedrock Sports Hawaii’s Top 10
>> Kahuku’s Waika Crawford Is Bedrock Sports Hawaii’s Player Of The Week


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