KAILUA-KONA — Kukila Lincoln has big plans for his football career, and on Wednesday he took one step closer to playing the sport professionally.
The Ka Makani senior offensive lineman signed a letter of intent to play football with Montana on an athletic scholarship. Lincoln joins the ranks of former HPA offensive linemen like Max Unger (Oregon) and Shane Brostek (Washington) who played Division I football in their college careers.
“I really want to play football for a long time. I don’t want to stop at just college,” Lincoln said. “I’m excited to be a part of a good Montana team. They made it to the FCS quarterfinals this year, and I hope I can be a part of something like that.”
Lincoln was a part of a 6-3 Ka Makani team this past season that made it to the BIIF Division II championship game, where they lost 16-0 to Kamehameha. It was a big upgrade from 2018, which saw HPA finishing the season 1-7.
“I feel I contributed a lot to my line,” Lincoln said. “My line isn’t the biggest in the state but they are athletic and they are strong. But it’s a team effort, it’s not just me.”
The Waimea native played on both the offensive and defensive line, and played under four different coaches during his four years with HPA.
First-year HPA head coach Kaluka Maiava was a Division I player himself. The former linebacker played under Pete Carroll for USC from 2005-2008 before being drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.
Lincoln credits his parents and Maiava with helping him through the recruiting process.
“My coach and my parents are everything to me. They do their research, they put in the work to help me,” Lincoln said. “I love them all, and they are a big part of my life. Without them, none of this would be possible.”
Montana was Lincoln’s only Division I scholarship offer, but he also held offers from D-III and JUCO schools, including Pacific Lutheran and Lewis and Clark College — both Division III schools in the Pacific Northwest.
The Grizzlies finished their 2019 season 10-4 after losing 17-10 to Weber State in the FCS Championship quarterfinals on Dec. 13.
Joining the Grizzlies was an easy choice for Lincoln.
“I did my research up on them and it’s kind of similar to the area I grew up in,” Lincoln said. “It’s a nice country area, the only difference is the weather, it’s going to be a lot colder over there. I talked to the coaches and the coaches are nice. It’s just a nice group of people.”