Fate can be the cruelest of thieves, robbing many of their hopes and dreams. It happened to Francis Sequeira ’79, arguably the top running back in the state in the late 1970s. A knee injury four games into his senior season ended up being the end of his football career. But what can’t be stolen is Sequeira’s accomplishments in both football and track for the buff ’n blue. He earned six varsity letters, three each in track and field and football. His junior season was nothing less than remarkable. Sequeira had scored 20 touchdowns as a freshman on the junior varsity team and was an honorable mention on the all-Interscholastic League of Honolulu as a sophomore for a 1 – 8 Punahou squad.
A year later, the buff ’n blue went 8 – 1, won the ILH and made its first Prep Bowl appearance with Sequeira as one of the stars. He led the league in rushing and scoring en route to all-ILH and all-state first-team honors. His eye-opening performance carried over to the track that spring where he earned his third ILH title in both triple jump and long jump. He also anchored the ILH and state 4×200 relay team and advanced to the final of the 100-yard dash at the state meet. (His best time was 10 seconds flat as a junior.)
In between football and track, he had dabbled in basketball as a freshman and sophomore. Growing into his 5-foot-11, 210-pound body, Sequeira was the starting center for two undefeated ILH JV teams and was twice named to the Punahou Christmas Classic all-tournament team. Sequeira opened his senior football season with eight touchdowns in the first three games before being sidelined with a knee injury. After weeks of rehab, doctors cleared him to play against Pac-Five as Punahou sought to make its second consecutive Prep Bowl appearance. Sequeira did not even make it to the coin toss, having re-injured his knee on his first carry in practice the day before. “He didn’t get hit but when he made his cut, that was it,” buff ’n blue coach Doug Bennett said. “The knee just gave out on him.”
But his drive did not. Sequeira continued to rehab, focusing first on the upcoming track season with his upcoming college career in view as well. In February 1979, he signed to play for the University of Hawai‘i saying the big factor in staying at home “was the consideration UH gave me after the injury.”
“We feel he is the best running back in the state,” Rainbow coach Dick Tomey said at the time of Sequeira’s commitment. Sequeira did go on to UH, never played, but did earn scholar-athlete recognition as a redshirt as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
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