|Body of Christ,
let us remember our neighbor nation HAITI in our Prayers. Also
our troops deployments and still in harms way. Our God is a God
of second chances. "...His compassion fail not. They are new
every morning great is your faithfulness... (Lamentations
3:22-23) Let's make the most of it!
Samoan Athletes - Heart of Champions
Football’s Polynesian moment: Samoan Athletes are
paying a steep price for their commitment to the game
On Jan. 30, the
Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honored five men as its
third class of inductees. Troy Polamalu, the recently
retired Pittsburgh Steeler with the incandescent smile and
wild hair, will attract the most attention. He’s the only
inductee well known outside of small circles of fans. But
each of these men—Alopati “Al” Lolotai, Charley Ane, Rocky
Freitas, Vai Sikahema and Polamalu—embodies the intimate,
if painful, connection between football and Polynesian
Football has reached a crossroads, its
future imperiled by the very physicality driving its
popularity. The number of boys playing Pop Warner and high
school ball plunged over the last decade as the
neurological, physical and fiscal costs of the game became
more troubling. That’s on top of the already severe
decline in the game’s scholastic ranks in the
Rust Belt—football’s original heartland—during the 1980s
But one group has bucked that trend—Polynesians,
especially Samoans in American Samoa, Hawaii, California
and Utah, as well as in pockets of Texas and the Pacific
Northwest. American Samoa is the only place outside the
United States where football has taken hold at the grass
roots, the only one that sends its native sons to the NFL.
In just a few decades, the sons of Samoa and Tonga, mostly
young men who came of age in the States, have quietly
become the most disproportionately over-represented
demographic in college and professional football.
Football has become the story Samoans tell about
themselves to the world. But the narrative has grown
bittersweet. While creating a stunning micro-culture of
sporting excellence, these athletic outliers are paying a
steep price for their commitment to the game. Sadly, that
which makes them so good at football—their extraordinary
internalization of discipline and warrior self-image that
drives them to play with no
fear)—also makes them especially vulnerable. Nobody lived
and died that irony more than Junior Seau, who became the
first Samoan in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a
20-season NFL career in which, inexplicably, he was never
diagnosed with a concussion. Not long after retiring, Seau
shot himself in the chest, unable to live with the demons
of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the tragic downside
of playing with no
The five inductees have seen more clearly than most what
football gives to those who play it and what it takes from
them. They span the 80 seasons since Al Lolotai became the
first Samoan to enter the NFL in the wake of World War II.
Charley Ane, the second Samoan in the NFL, surpassed
Lolotai on the field, earning two championship rings with
the Detroit Lions. Rockne “Rocky” Freitas, a native
Hawaiian who starred at every level of the game before
returning home, became an educator, most recently as the
chancellor of the West Oahu campus of the University of
Hawaii. Vai Sikahema, born in Nukuʻalofa, Tonga, became
the kingdom’s first NFL player. He played for Brigham
Young University’s 1984 championship team and forged a Pro
Bowl career before becoming a journalist in Philadelphia
and a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Troy Polamalu, the 2010 NFL defensive player of the year
and two-time Super Bowl champion, will almost certainly
join Junior Seau in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as soon
as he is eligible. Over the last four years, Polamalu and
his wife, Theodora, have taken hundreds of coaches,
educators and medical personnel to American Samoa, where
their Faʻa Samoa Initiative works
with youth to build social capital by imparting life
skills to help in the classroom and workplace as much as
on the ball field.
Paladins of a culture of sport in which community meant
more than money, these men mattered as much after they
stopped playing as during their athletic prime. While
each excelled on the field, what sets them apart from most
athletes was their life-long sense of tautua,
what Samoans call service. Each gave back as much as he
got from the highly competitive culture that provided the
drive to succeed. That commitment brought Al Lolotai back
to American Samoa in the late 1960s, and will bring
Polamalu there for years to come.
Born in what was then German Western Samoa, Al Lolotai
moved to American Samoa and then to Laʻie on the north
shore of Oahu, where the Mormons built a temple early last
century as a gathering spot for converts from the South
Pacific. Lolotai joined the Washington Redskins after
World War II. Though owner George Preston Marshall long
resisted playing African-Americans, the dark-skinned
Lolotai apparently did not affront his or Washington fans’
racial sensibilities. Lolotai gained greater notoriety as
a wrestler after leaving football. Performing as Sweet
Leilani, he won multiple championships, the last when he
was 58. His nephew Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson would also
play football and wrestle before becoming one of
Hollywood’s more bankable actors. Lolotai’s most enduring
legacy came when he returned to direct health education
and sport in American Samoa’s schools in the late 1960s.
“He started our sports programs out of nothing,” Tufele
Liʻamatua, the director of Samoan affairs, told me in
2011, shortly before his death. “He helped bring football
to our island.”
Honolulu-born Charley Ane, whose father was recruited to
Hawaii to play industrial league baseball, became the
first Samoan at the Punahou School. There, at USC, and
with the Detroit Lions, Ane was the archetypal Samoan, the
quintessential teammate who brought the locker room
together. In Detroit, Ane’s blocking gave quarterback
Bobby Layne time to do what he did best—improvise like a
jazz musician. Detroit made it to the NFL championship
game three times in Ane’s first five years and won twice.
Teammates voted him their captain for the 1958 and 1959
seasons. And when his playing days were over, Ane gave
back as a coach at five high schools. Freitas and Sikahema
came later, but like Lolotai and Ane, remained rooted in
community and service.
Junior Seau’s selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
last summer and Marcus Mariotta’s Heisman Trophy honors a
few months before—both firsts for Samoans—herald a growing
wave of Polynesian talent. They are the descendants of a
people who resisted conquest and colonization, but
embraced Christianity in the 1800s and the U.S. military
during World War II. The confluence of religion, military
discipline and Faʻa
the way of Samoa) created a football culture that coaches
Robert Louis Stevenson, who spent the last years of his
life in Western Samoa, once called Samoans “god’s best, at
least, god’s sweetest works.” The more I know about these
men and their back stories, the more I realize why
Stevenson fell in love with Polynesians and their
But there’s a cost to this devotion to football, to
playing with no fefe.
Samoan boys, who train year-round on fields blistered with
volcanic pebbles and use helmets that should have been
discarded long ago, incur far too much neurological
damage. They have a difficult time adjusting to college
and maximizing the benefit of an athletic scholarship.
More important, this micro-culture of football excellence
coexists with a public health crisis. Samoans and Tongans
are among the most diabetic and obese people on the
planet, the consequence of forsaking a traditional diet
for cheap and fast food.
Polynesians and youth from other disadvantaged communities
may be the salvation of America’s most successful sporting
enterprise at a time when the sons of better-off families
are deserting the game. But the five men to be inducted
into the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame this month tell
a much deeper and meaningful story of sport and community.
WSU Cougars’ Destiny Vaeao has a big game in the NFLPA
Seattle Times staff reporterWashington State defensive
tackle Destiny Vaeao is considered an intriguing prospect
with a lot of upside in this year’s NFL draft, and Vaeao
(6-foot-4, 298 pounds) likely upped his draft stock
considerably after his performance in Saturday’s NFLPA
The Cougars’ defensive tackle broke away from a double
team and forced former Utah quarterback Travis Wilson to
fumble. The National team capitalized on the turnover when
Missouri’s Andrew Baguette kicked 23-yard a go-ahead field
As CBS Sports Draft Analyst Rob Rang told The Seattle
Times last week, Vaeao’s potential and sheer power are his
greatest assets, and he’ll likely be a mid-round draft
pick this spring.
Q&A with former NFL linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa on
Polynesian Bowl, impact of Seau and more
The Polynesian All-American Bowl is Saturday in
Oceanside, Calif., featuring many of the nation’s top high
school football seniors of Polynesian descent.
is no accident: Oceanside is the home of former linebacker
Junior Seau, the first Pro Football Hall of Famer of
Polynesian descent. There are more than 70 Polynesian
players currently in the NFL.
“Junior did it for all of Oceanside, all the Samoans,
all the Prop 48 kids. It means more when you play for
something bigger than yourself,” said Pisa Tinoisamoa, a
former NFL linebacker who was born in Oceanside who is
coaching Team Black. Former NFL running back Reno Mahe is
coaching Team White.
Tinoisamoa played college football at Hawaii and was a
second-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2003. He
led the Rams in tackles in his first three seasons and
spent six years with the Rams before finishing his career
with the Chicago Bears.
Tinoisamoa spoke with USA TODAY High School Sports
about the Polynesian All-American Bowl, the bond among
players of Polynesian descent and the influence that Seau
had on him.
Q: You were an assistant coach last year to
Kevin Mawae, who is giving the keynote speed Thursday.
What made you decide to come back?
A: Last year was my first year and I got a little taste
of it. I was feeling it out and trying to see how I could
fit into something like this. Being that the game is home
– I was born and raised in Oceanside – the way the game of
football has influenced me and being Polynesian, it seemed
like an easy call. I’ve been around little kids and been
around professional players, but coaching high school is a
whole other thing. I’ve been coaching now as the defensive
coordinator and linebackers coach for two years officially
at Tri-City Christian in Vista and then coming to an
all-star game, that level has been my calling. I feel like
that’s where I was most influenced. All of that combined
made for a perfect storm.
Q: Why did you decide to get into coaching
after your NFL career?
A: It’s not something that I thought I would do when I
was younger. When I was done playing, I thought what do I
do with all this knowledge that I gathered. It was a
natural move to go into coaching.
Q: This event is more than just football and
cultural development for the players is a big part of the
experience. Why is that so important?
A: I think culturally Polynesian means many races and
many islands. For me, I try to distinguish myself as
Samoan. I’m Samoan. Troy Polamalu is Samoan. Haloti Ngata
is Tongan, Kevin Mawae is Hawaiian. There are little
nuances in each background. At the end of the day, we all
have a common respect, not only for our elders and people
who came before us, but family. I think all of that blends
together when we get together. We’re all Polynesian.
We’re all trying to get better not only one the field,
but off the field. Off the field what we’re trying to do
with Polynesian bowl, we want to show them some of the
pitfalls and things to be aware of going on to college.
That’s not only in the classroom, but in the public as
well. I think people of the same descent, it’s easier to
talk to these kids to try to relate to them. We want them
to understand about keeping the tradition and culture
alive with everybody, not just each other. I want people
to say, ‘I know a Polynesian and they’re super cool.’ We
want to try to keep that reputation going.
Q: With this game being in Oceanside where
Junior Seau grew up and you being from the area and also
playing inside linebacker in the NFL, what was his
influence on you?
A: Junior was about 12 years older than I me. I felt
like it was the right place at the right time for me. I
was too young to go to his games in high school, but with
him going out to USC and then staying in San Diego and
playing for the Chargers, watching him made it seem more
realistic. A lot of guys have aspirations of making it to
the highest level. Seeing Junior really solidified it for
me that it could be done. It became more tangible.
It almost made me feel like I had to carry the torch
because Junior couldn’t do it forever. That helped propel
me to keep going even when things looked like it wasn’t
going to work out for me. You think no one from Oceanside
can make it to the NFL. And then Junior does it. It was
like, ‘Oh man, this can be done.’ I’m not the biggest guy
but have huge heart and that’s something that you can’t
Q: Last year Manti Te’o from the Chargers just
stopped by and was on the sideline. A number of other NFL
players are coming in from the game. What brings them to
A: That was always one of the cool things. Even when I
played in St Louis and I’d see another Polynesian, it was
like, ‘Hey what’s up?’ We’re a small number of people.
When we see each other there is an automatic (bond). I’d
always gotten props from other guys in the league who
would say, ‘One thing I like about you guys is when you
see each other, you always give each other love.’ That
togetherness — it’s something that happened before me, but
it’s good to see it still exists. For Manti, he didn’t
have to. But coming down here, the kids were running up
and talking selfies and putting them up on The Gram. These
kids will remember that for a long time. It’s pretty cool
to see, brothers and cousins and friends and family come
and support it. It’s awesome.
Q: Coaching in an all-star game situation is a
different kind of thing. What’s your approach going to be
with only a few days of practice?
A: From a coaching standpoint, I was fortunate to work
with some guys this year that I’m close with and that I
respected and I started with them. They came on board. I
feel like if we as coaches get along, everything else will
fall in place: discipline, execution, practice and
organization. I know it’s hard at an all-star game because
you have to learn a new system and a new lingo. If we can
get the coaches on the same page and they are talking to
the kids and everyone is speaking the same language, I
hope that will translate into a W.
Q: Sounds as if you and former NFL running back
Reno Mahe, who is coaching the other team, spent some time
in determining the right way to set up the rosters too.
How did you do it?
A: We did a draft of sorts. We got the kids’ Hudl
accounts and saw some kids we liked and targeted them
according to what we ideally we wanted to run in terms of
a system. That was one of the big things and was a big
plus. It can get sloppy with so little practice time I
don’t want that experience for those kids. I feel bad if
they go to practice and it’s not structured right. We
wanted everything on point.
If we want to get the name out there that the
Polynesian bowl is a legit bowl, then you have to run it
like a legit bowl. We’re not saying we’re Army or Under
Armour or Semper Fi. We want to show that we can that we
can perform and put on a great bowl for the right reasons.
Senior DE Ian Seau was
named to the All-Mountain West first team
RENO, Nev. – Senior DE Ian Seau was named to the
All-Mountain West first team while seven Nevada football
players in total earned All-MW accolades, the conference
office announced on Tuesday.
Seau, who tied for first
in the MW with 9.0 sacks, led Nevada as the lone player on
the all-conference first team. Additionally, junior PK
Brent Zuzo, senior DE Lenny Jones and freshman DB Dameon
Baber were named to the All-MW second team while sophomore
RB James Butler, sophomore OL Austin Corbett and junior TE
Jarred Gipson earned honorable mention honors.
A native of Oceanside,
Calif., Seau improved upon last year’s All-MW second team
selection by posting 38 tackles, 15.5 TFL and 9.0 sacks to
earn All-MW first team honors as a senior. Seau’s 9.0
sacks tied for first in the MW and 15th in the nation,
while his 15.5 TFL ranked third in the league. Seau also
forced five turnovers this with four forced fumbles and
one fumble recovery. Earlier this year, Seau tied a MW
record with four sacks against Hawai’i.
The Best Coach You Never Talk About
By Ryan Mayer,
CBS Local Sports
Every year around this time of the college football
season, we start to discuss the top coaching candidates to
fill the numerous positions that open up. We’re not even
at the end of the regular season and already there are 11
schools looking for their next head coach. The coaching
carousel will only continue to spin as teams wrap up the
regular season within the next three weeks.
Right now, the names you hear circulating for these job
openings feature guys at Group of 5 schools who are having
terrific seasons. Memphis’ Justin Fuente, Houston’s Tom
Herman, Temple’s Matt Rhule and Bowling Green’s Dino
Babers have all been linked to multiple schools looking
for their next head coach. All of these coaches have been
getting recognition (deservedly so) for the jobs they’ve
done in turning around their programs and leading them to
great starts to this season. At least one of the four will
probably be coaching somewhere else next season. That’s
the reality of college football, good coaches climb the
ladder every chance they get.
However, there’s one coach who continues to rack up
victories whose name never seems to come up when
discussing the next guy to go after. That guy is Navy’s
The Midshipmen are 8-1 so far this season and
undefeated in American Conference play with their only
loss coming at the hands of the current #4 team in Notre
Dame. Their wins have all come in dominant fashion, with
no game being closer than 10 points. That includes a 45-20
rout of #21 Memphis just two weeks ago. The Midshipmen are
in position to play in the conference title game if they
beat Houston next weekend.
Yet, for the success of this season, his name never
comes up in the college coaching rumor mill. He’s been a
part of the Navy program for 17 years and the head coach
for eight so it’s possible that he just doesn’t want to
leave. But, when has that ever stopped schools previously
from contacting coaches. Texas has gone after Nick Saban
multiple times, despite Saban being entrenched in the Tide
program now for nine seasons.
Niumatalolo’s record at Navy speaks for itself. He’s
the winning-est coach in program history with a record of
65-36. He’s had just one losing season in his tenure, the
same number as Paul Johnson who was hired away from Navy
by Georgia Tech. In his eight years at the helm of the
program, the Midshipmen have never won less than five
games, and have won eight or more in every season but one
(2011). He’s 3-6 in games against Top 25 opponents, true.
But, that record includes a four point loss to Ohio State
in 2009 and a three point loss to South Carolina in 2011.
Is it because of the offense he runs? Navy runs a
triple option style of attack that isn’t en vogue anymore
at the major schools. Yet, Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech
has shown that you can win with that offense, twice having
won 11 games with the Yellow Jackets. The offense, while
slightly antiquated, shouldn’t disqualify Niumatalolo from
getting looks for jobs.
Keep in mind, that all of Niumatalolo’s success has
come at a program that isn’t ever going to get the top 4
or 5-star recruits. In his eight full seasons as head
coach, Niumatalolo’s highest ranked recruiting class
according to Scout.com was 84th back in 2010. Currently,
next year’s class sits ranked at 98th. Top recruits just
don’t commit to go to the service academies. That makes
his consistent track record of winning all the more
Niumatalolo has shown in his time at Navy that he can
get the most out of any athlete that decides to play for
him. What school wouldn’t at least inquire about a guy
been named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week and Brent
been named MW Special Teams Player of the Week, the
conference office announced Monday. It’s the first MW
weekly honor for both student-athletes.
Seau and Zuzo each had career performances last Saturday,
leading the Wolf Pack (4-4, 2-2) to a 30-20 comeback
victory over Hawai’i on Homecoming at Mackay Stadium.
Seau – a defensive end from Oceanside, Calif. – tallied
4.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery to
lead the Pack defense. Seau’s four sacks were just a half
sack shy of a program record and Mountain West record.
Seau became the ninth player in MW history to record four
sacks in a game, which is tied for the FBS lead this
season along with Texas A&M’s Daeshon Hall and East
Carolina’s Montese Overton.
Seau forced and recovered a fumble on his final sack of
the game with 1:22 remaining, clinching a Wolf Pack
victory. Seau’s four sacks totaled 30 yards as he helped
Nevada limit Hawai’i to just 34 yards rushing, which is
the fewest Nevada has allowed since Nov. 8, 2009.
When University of Washington Defensive Tackle Danny
Shelton arrived for the NFL Draft in Chicago wearing
traditional Samoan dress and almost choked the life out of
Commissioner Goodell in an on-stage hug, it symbolized the
amazing dominance that one tiny island and its’ Polynesian
neighbors have in NFL football. Five Polynesian players
were selected in the first 66 picks of the 2015 NFL Draft,
the most ever for the first three rounds. Over 70 players
in the NFL are of Polynesian descent. There are 30 players
from American Samoa in the NFL and more than 200 play
Division I NCAA Football. A Samoan male is 56 times more
likely to play in the NFL than an American non-Samoan.
Super Bowl Champions Jesse Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvassa along
with Kevin Kaplan and his company Coaching Charities
decided to pay recognition to the contributions by
establishing a Polynesian Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
It had its’ first group of inductees the next year
including players like Junior Seau, Kevin Mawae and Jack
Thompson (“The Throwing Samoan”). Earlier this year it
inducted players like Jesse Sapolu and Mark Tuinei.
University of Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, selected 2nd in
this year’s draft was honored as the 2014 College Player
of the Year. The Hall is located in the Polynesian
Cultural Center on Oahu in Hawaii.
A pioneering group of college coaches recognized the
uniqueness of Polynesia (Hawaii, Samoa,Tonga, Easter
Island, and New Zealand) in the quality of football
athletes it produces. Dick Vermeil, Dick Tomey, and LaVell
Edwards made early trips. Former Hawaii and SMU Coach June
Jones established a special relationship with Samoa and
established a foundation there to help with Samoan
athletics.”They have a unique culture that venerates
family and work ethic” Coach Jones says.”There is an
amazing spirit and feeling that one feels interacting with
these warm and spiritual people.”
The tiny island of Samoa, often referred to as “Football
Island” has a population of 65,000 people. This is smaller
than my city of Newport Beach, a very active and athletic
area that has only Matt Barkley in the NFL. How is the
hyper-productivity of Samoa even possible? It starts with
a culture that emphasizes community, self-discipline,
respect, and spirituality. Families are close and
supportive. The athletes tend to be humble, it may be the
last bastion of youth outside the American South that says
“Yes, Sir”. There is pride instead of jealousy for the
accomplishments of other athletes. Passion for every
activity is bred into young Samoans.
Physical anthropology somehow must play into the massive
size and strength and speed of most of the athletes. One
theory holds that the residents migrated far in the past
from much colder climes and needed bodies that could add
weight to protect them. Another theory is that there was a
history of strife and warfare and a love of contact is
part of the culture. There is poverty present in Samoa and
other islands which serves as a motivating factor in using
sports to advance.
The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame will continue to grow
with the rising number of Polynesian players at every
level. It celebrates a special culture and tradition. Tiny
Samoa is an amazing anomaly in the history of sports.
WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Epenesa, Boilermakers will play at
The date has been circled for some time, and now Purdue
University senior and former Edwardsville standout Sam
Epenesa is ready to return home.
Epenesa will be with the Boilermakers when they play in
the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic at Chaifetz Arena in St.
Louis on Friday and Saturday. No. 24 Purdue (3-0) will
battle Arkansas Pine-Bluff at 4:30 p.m. Friday,
12th-ranked BYU at noon Saturday and then host Saint
Louis University at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“I’m so excited to get to come back and play at home,”
Epenesa said. “My family is all coming and people from
high school. It’ll be great to be in that atmosphere.
There’s no place like home.”
This will be the closest Epenesa, who lives in Glen
Carbon, will play during her collegiate career.
Before this weekend, the closest trips for family and
friends to make were to Bloomington and Champaign.
“My little brothers are excited that I’ll be within an
hour of them,” Epenesa said.
Purdue coach Dave Shondell doesn’t expect Epenesa’s
emotions of playing in front of her family to alter her
“Wherever we go, there’s a big crowd. The Samoan nation
is everywhere. I don’t care where we play, there’s going
to be a dozen people that know Sam or are related to her
in some capacity,” Shondell said.
In three matches this season, Epenesa, a 6-0 outside
hitter, is third on the team in kills with 18. She also
has a block.
More important than her statistics, though, may be her
“We have three outside hitters that are all really good,
and we play two of them on a regular basis. We had a
stretch against Ohio University where Sam was hitting
below zero. I felt like we needed to do something
different and needed to make a change,” Shondell said.
“Instead of Sam going over there and being numb, she
provided exactly what you would expect a senior to
provide on the bench. She was energetic, positive,
talking to the player who took over for her and keeping
the bench in the game. It was what we needed from her.
You may not have seen that last year from her.”
It’s a role that Epenesa is still adjusting to, but one
that she wants.
“It’s different from last year in a sense that we want
our actions to speak for us and not necessarily come out
and talk a big game,” Epenesa said. “Hopefully I’ll be
able to come out and lead my teammates by example and
through encouragement and hard work.”
The hard work in practice and in the weight room has
shown with her ability to change her game.
As a junior, Epenesa started 20 matches, appeared in all
32, and was second on the team with 2.43 kills per set.
Shondell raved about Epenesa’s ability to put the ball
away at the net and believes her numbers are going to be
better this year as she continues to grow.
“I’ve almost began to label her as a shot doctor. She is
really mixing up her shots and she understands for any
situation what’s the best shot to take,” Shondell said.
“Those are things even an year ago that we didn’t see.
She has grown into being a higher IQ player. That’s
going to help her as she moves into this year.”
Shondell isn’t surprised about the growth Epenesa has
made with Purdue.
“Maturity has a lot to do with that. Sometimes you
expect so much from young people to come into a Big Ten
university. You have an academic load, social load, a
transition from being away from home and on top of that
in two weeks, ‘Let’s go play Big Ten volleyball.’ It
just doesn’t happen that easily,” Shondell said. “Sam
came from a really good club, where she was really well
trained, but the game is a lot faster at this level,
people are bigger and more physical. It’s an adjustment
“Her issue, overall, was that she was a little error-proned.
She was up and down, a little inconsistent. You don’t
see that with her now. She’s someone that could be on
the floor all the
Epenesa showed she could play all six positions at times
last year. Against Michigan on Sept. 26, she had her
first double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs.
Adjusting to becoming a better player around the court
was necessary, especially in the Big Ten.
“If you don’t make adjustments, you’ll be somewhat of a
dinosaur and won’t be playing a lot of volleyball,”
Shondell said. “She’s the kind of player that doesn’t
feel comfortable watching other people play. She’s a
proud warrior, as I like to call her, from Samoan
nation. She’s a fierce competitor. She’s at her best
when we play the best competition. When we are playing
Penn State or Nebraska or in the NCAA Tournament, Sam
Epenesa is at her best.”
For Purdue to be at its best this season, it’s going to
“The outside hitting position is such a vital position
on the team. We’ve put a lot of stock in her over the
last three years. It’s going to be crucial that she
plays like a veteran and shows the savviness that I know
she has. Her ball control on the serve receive is so
much better that she’s making more plays,” Shondell
said. “More than anything else, her behavior can set the
tone for the young people on this team. There are two
talented young hitters that are watching everything she
does. Her leadership and being a mentor is something she
takes pride in.
“I’ve told all five of our seniors, ‘You think it’s hard
to step into a leadership role going from a junior to
senior. Just outwork them. You don’t have to tell people
what to do. Just do it and lead by example.’ She does a
great job at that.”
As a very proud woman, Epenesa does lead by example —
even away from the court.
A hospitality and tourism management major, Epenesa
worked 45 to 55 hours during the summer at a restaurant
in West Lafayette, Ind., along with taking on a full
load of classes and a project running a restaurant.
“Sam had a hectic summer, a crazy summer,” Shondell
said. “She changed majors. Not only did she have a heavy
load academically in the classroom, but she was also
working in a restaurant on campus. Then she had an
internship at a local restaurant where she was working
from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. It was really challenging for her
to accomplish what she had to academically and then put
in her time with the team in weight room at 6 a.m. until
8 a.m. It was very challenging, but she did the very
best that she could.
“As soon as that was over, it was like a load had been
taking off her shoulders. Then she became exactly who we
needed her to be — fresh, big personality with a smile
on her face leading this team in a positive direction.”
While working in the restaurant, Epenesa did it all from
front-end service to waitressing to working in the back.
Asked if she was more nervous about carrying a tray of
drinks or going up for a kill, Epenesa answered, “I
don’t know. It’s pretty nerve-wracking bringing a tray
full of drinks to a table.”
The nerves may be much less Friday and Saturday playing
in front of a hometown crowd.
After spending time with the Edwardsville volleyball
team during a team camp in West Lafayette, Ind., this
summer, Epenesa is hoping she’ll be able to put on a
show for the Tigers — if they are able to make it —
“I think (EHS) coach (Jami) Parker, Mr. Parker and
Gracie are all coming,” Epenesa said. “To see them in
the crowd is going to be such a great feeling.”
It would be a chance for Epenesa to show the hometown
the type of player and person she has become at Purdue.
“It’ll be an opportunity for her to show the local folks
what Purdue is all about and the progress that she’s
made,” Shondell said. “I hope she plays to the
level she’s capable of playing at.”
Texas Tech Offers California DE Keanu Saleapaga
On Monday, the Texas Tech Red Raider football program
offered a scholarship to La Miranda, California
defensive end Keanu Saleapaga, his high school Twitter
confirmed via Twitter.
Based off initial observations, as Texas Tech continues
to try to add size along the defensive front, at 6’6”
and 265-pounds, Saleapaga would certainly fit the mold
Tech recruiters are trying to fill on the defensive side
of the football.
The prospect is not rated by any of the major recruiting
services, but seems to have impressed Texas Tech
assistant coach Darrin Chiaverini who has deep ties in
California. Currently, Oregon State is the only other
school to offer a scholarship to Salepaga, so Tech is
getting in on this recruit early in hopes that the
coaches will have time to build a strong relationship
and pull him out of California.
While Saleapaga is being recruited as a defensive end,
he is also listed as a tight end on his Hudl page.
Here’s his highlight reel that
certainly highlights what Coach Chiaverini saw in the
As more information is made available we’ll be sure to
update our readers, and continue to offer film analysis
on the players that could be the future of Texas Tech
Falcons Sign DE Sam Meredith To Fill Out Roster
The San Diego State product is the third rookie minicamp
tryout participant to make the team.
with one open roster spot
following this weekend's transactions,
the signing of rookie defensive end Sam Meredith on Monday
afternoon, bringing the roster to its offseason maximum of
sign DE Sam Meredith, who was a tryout player during
rookie camp, to contract:
Meredith, 6-4, 290 pounds, earned the Dr. R Hardy/C.E.
Peterson Memorial Trophy Captains Award after his senior
season with the Aztecs. He earned honorable mention
All-Mountain West honors as a true sophomore in 2012 and
was voted the team's defensive lineman of the year by the
coaching staff that season. Meredith is a native of
Honolulu, Hawaii and attended Helix High School.
is the third participant in last weekend's rookie minicamp
tryout to land a spot on the team, joining tackle Matt
Huffer and defensive back Jonathon Mincy. He recorded one
sack, 3.5 TFLs, two force fumbles and blocked a kick in 13
games as a senior for the Aztecs, a squad that ranked 13th
nationally in scoring defense last season.
dealt with some injury woes during his college career, but
he is by all accounts an aggressive player with decent
athleticism for someone his size. He played strongside
defensive end in SDSU's base 3-3-5 defense, so the Falcons
could perhaps view him as 5-tech lineman in head coach Dan
Quinn's scheme. He's likely a long shot to make the roster
given all the competition that will take place on defense
in training camp, but perhaps he can snag a practice squad
spot with a good showing.
softball player Tina Iosefa boasts national pride and
We are the people of the Polynesian Islands.
The phrase blares through the sound system at Jack
Turner Stadium. The song being played is “Polynesian
People” by the Hawaiian singer Norm. The music marks
another at-bat for Georgia junior Tina Iosefa.
Iosefa is Polynesian and was determined to
incorporate a Polynesian song into each home at-bat. The
only question was which tune would be the choice for
“I decided every year that I just wanted to go with a
Polynesian song,” Iosefa said. “I reached out to my
family to find out what song I should pick, and I just
chose from there.”
Although it may be an afterthought for the fans,
Iosefa’s teammates took a liking to the musical choice.
Among them was fellow junior Kaylee Puailoa, whose
Samoan roots helped her relate to Iosefa.
“Just being able to have that little touch of home
and what's comfortable to us helps,” Puailoa said. “When
you're coming up to the plate, it calms you down and
takes you back to why we're here in the first place.
You're doing it for you, your family and for Georgia.”
The song makes for an interesting scene that preludes
each Iosefa appearance. What’s really worth watching,
however, is what happens as soon the final note fades
Through 45 games this season, Iosefa holds a .333
batting average with four home runs in 30 starts. She
has driven in 25 runs this season, good enough for fifth
on the team. Her play has come at catcher, first base
and designated player, which displays how her
adaptability helps fill any necessary role.
“She's great at that,” shortstop Paige Wilson said.
“Coach [Lu Harris-Champer] always likes to mix us
around. Coach always says that if you're capable of
playing somewhere else, you can play your spot.”
A player having to move around to get playing time
can be problematic for some. However, Iosefa looks at it
in a very simplistic manner.
“It's just about being selfless,” Iosefa said. “I
just do whatever I'm told.”
Iosefa’s team-first mindset has put her in some
favorable positions in the 2015 season. The ultimate
scenario played out in her favor on Easter Sunday when
the Bulldogs needed someone to deliver at the plate.
Georgia found itself tied with Missouri 4-4 with one
out in the bottom of the seventh. After two runners
reached, the familiar Norm song came over the
loudspeakers. Up to the plate walked Iosefa, who dropped
a walk-off single into center field to give the Bulldogs
a 5-4 Southeastern Conference victory.
“For me to be able to walk off like that, it was
exciting because it was my first walk-off," Iosefa said.
"It was a good feeling.”
What makes Iosefa’s efforts even more admirable is
her normal interactions with the other members of this
“I think she's really stepped up with leadership,”
second baseman Alex Hugo said. “I think it carries over
to her hitting; she's been hitting amazing lately. She's
brought a lot of hard work, and I think that contributes
to her leadership as well. She's stepped up all around
Wilson expanded upon Hugo’s point by showing how
Iosefa offers all she can to each member of the Bulldogs
“She's a great competitor and a great teammate,”
Wilson said. “She's very positive and always making
people laugh. Even if you're down, she's the first one
to come to you and make you laugh.”
Iosefa has turned her determination into consistent
success. Although it may stand as something natural for
her, the efforts she has displayed have not gone
“She's so clutch all the time,” Puailoa said. “It’s
great just being able to have that as a model to follow,
especially for our younger girls coming up. Being able
to have that in the dugout is awesome.”
Softball may be the center of Iosefa’s life as long
as she is a Georgia Bulldog, but it doesn’t define her.
Game-deciding hits and winning efforts are nice, yet
it’s not what Iosefa hopes people take away from knowing
her. Her focus lies upon the joy of just being where she
is right now.
“Know that whatever I do in life, I'm just excited,”
Iosefa said. “I like to have fun with everything. I just
Murray: Fallon's Josh Mauga overcomes
injuries, proves he belongs in NFL
didn't want to believe it, but he knew his NFL career
could be over.
The Fallon High and Nevada Wolf Pack alum had just been
cut by the New York Jets. He had just had back surgery. He
was back home in Reno. And his phone wasn't ringing with
interest from other NFL teams. Injuries had dogged him for
the past seven seasons and a thought entered his mind.
"This could be it," Mauga thought. "My career could be
Ever since moving to Fallon in 1995, Mauga had been
different, "like a god," according to one of his
ex-coaches. As a high school freshman, he weighed 215
pounds and benched more than that. He was as fast as a
sprinter and as strong as a bodybuilder. But constant
injuries never let him fulfill his potential.
As a junior at Nevada, a torn MCL ended his season. As
a senior, a torn pec ended his college career. Coming off
back-to-back major injuries, the NFL had tepid interest.
He wasn't drafted, but the Jets signed him to a
non-guaranteed contract. But the injuries didn't stop
there. They were just starting.
A concussion in 2010 led to him being waived, but then
re-signed. Then, he tore his other pec in 2012, ending his
season yet again. Finally, last year, came back surgery.
The Jets had simply had enough.
"It was frustrating. It was kind of shocking," Mauga
said of being released. "But I understood what was going
through their mind. I was hurt the last two years, so they
didn't have any more use for me."
And neither, it seemed, did any other NFL team. It was
then that he thought football could be over.
"That did cross my mind a couple of times, but my goal
was to get healthy and try and get back on the field,"
said Mauga, who trained in San Diego for two months. "If
it didn't work out, it didn't work out." But it has
worked out, and ironically so.
After years of being hurt himself, Mauga, who got a
late training camp invitation from the Kansas City Chiefs,
got his big break this year when two of his teammates went
down with injuries. He's responded and leads the surging
Chiefs with a team-high 57 tackles entering Sunday's game
at Buffalo. He ranks 32nd in the NFL in tackles and after
years of setbacks, Mauga has proven he's a starter in the
"Honestly, I'm kind of glad it worked out this way,"
Mauga said. "I love being out here in K.C. The coaches are
great. My teammates are great. The town is great. It's
been nice to start a new slate."
When you think of NFL middle linebackers, you think of
their foaming-at-the mouth ferocity.
You think of guys like Ray Lewis, Dick Butkus and Ray
Nitschke. That's not Josh Mauga.
"He's such a nice boy," said Louie Mori, who coached
Mauga in football and wrestling at Fallon. "He's one of
those kids who's really nice, really polite, works his
butt off. He has the skill and ability, but he's truly a
nice boy. It's good to see him put a few games together
and show he can play. It's pretty cool."
That calm disposition hasn't always been a good thing
for Mauga, the second oldest of eight kids.
"Since he was in high school, I've been telling him to
get aggressive," his father, Matua Mauga, said. "He seems
so mellow out there. Even when he was playing with the
Jets, he was that way. The best game I've seen him play
was against San Diego this season. I said, 'That's how you
get aggressive. You need to be that aggressive every time
you play.' He said, 'I know. I play better when I do
that.' I said, 'No, duh.'"
Amazingly, Mauga is the second Fallon resident to make
it to the NFL this decade, following in the footsteps of
offensive lineman Harvey Dahl, who also played for the
Wolf Pack. While they are similar off the field — both are
humble, somewhat shy guys who try and avoid the spotlight
— they are completely different on the field. Dahl was
voted among the NFL's nastiest and dirtiest players. He
didn't mind drawing personal foul penalties and playing to
the echo of the whistle. That's not Mauga's way.
"Harvey loved to hit people," Mori said. "Josh had to
learn that aggressiveness. Even if you watch now, he'll
never hit anybody if he doesn't have to. He'll always help
people up. He's very polite. I would tell him all the
time, 'You need to intimidate them. Make them back off and
be afraid of you.' He'd never do that. Harvey would go and
step up and be an animal, Josh has always been even-keel.
That's just him."
But what Mauga lacked in a mean streak, he made up for
with raw athleticism and a love of the weight room. One of
the best pure athletes in Northern Nevada history, Mauga
was a state champion wrestler, a state champion discus
thrower and a state runner-up in shot put. Highly
recruited out of high school — he had offers from Oregon,
Arizona State, Boise State and others — he stayed home to
play for Nevada.
Mauga played as a true freshman and was named to a
national freshman All-America team. That kind of talent
was evident when he was just a high school freshman. He
always seemed destined for big things.
"As a freshman, he was 210 or 215 and built like a
god," Mori said. "He wasn't a 215-pound young boy. He was
already a man. He was benching 250 pounds as a freshman
and was just a different kid. As a sophomore, we went to a
'Bigger, Faster, Stronger,' competition and he hit the
All-American level in every lift for the senior-class
benchmarks. When you saw him, you just said, 'Holy cow!
When Mauga became an upperclassmen at Nevada, he was
already on the draft radar, a likely mid-round pick. But
then came the injuries, which knocked him off draft
The Jets signed him as an undrafted free agent and he
spent 2009 on the practice squad. The concussion in
training camp of 2010 delayed his NFL debut, which he made
later that year, primarily as a special teams player. In
2011, he played in all 16 games, including his first
career start, but injuries ended his 2012 season and the
back injury wiped out his entire 2013 campaign. The Jets
"The main thing I've learned in the NFL is you're going
to face adversity," said Mauga, who married his high
school sweetheart and lives in Reno in the offseason with
their two children. "I've definitely had to overcome a lot
of injuries and obstacles to make my dream come true of
playing in the league."
Things were mostly quiet as Mauga recovered from back
surgery until he got a call from Bob Sutton, his former
linebackers coach with the Jets. Sutton was the defensive
coordinator in Kansas City and offered a training camp
invitation to Mauga with no guarantees. The 27-year-old
was still a long shot to make the roster. He was given
jersey No. 90, typically reserved for defensive linemen,
Then Joe Mays, who was playing in front of Mauga,
injured his wrist in the preseason. And in week one,
three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Derrick Johnson
suffered a season-ending torn Achilles, opening up both
middle linebacker spots. Not only was Mauga starting, but
so was James-Michael Johnson, a fellow Nevada alum.
They've played well. The Chiefs are second in the NFL in
points allowed per game.
"It's been real fun playing with James," Mauga said. "I
only got to play with him his freshman year and my senior
year (in 2008), so it's been pretty cool to play alongside
him again. It's been fun."
Mauga's future remains unknown. He's with the Chiefs on
a one-year deal and Mays, a top run-stopping linebacker,
could return any week. Derrick Johnson is an elite player
and will return as a starter next season. But in the first
half of this NFL season, Mauga has proven to himself and
other NFL teams that he's a quality starter. He's also
proven that you can do big things even if you come from a
Fallon is proof of that. The town of 8,000, which sits
60 miles east of Reno, has had had a rash of world-class
athletes, including triple jumper Aarik Wilson, who
qualified for the 2012 Olympics, and rodeo star Jade
Corkill, who has back-to-back world titles as a team
"A lot of people didn't realize how incredible that
was," Mori said of Dahl breaking into the NFL. "Then we
got Aarik Wilson in the Olympics and Jade Corkill became a
world champion roper. Now, Josh is in the NFL starting.
Now, everybody is saying, 'This is amazing.' We have all
of these great athletes doing great things from this tiny
town. It's made people understand there is talent in
Fallon, you can get to the top if you work hard. It's not,
'We're too small to compete.' It's made people understand
Returns for her senior campaign in Reno as the
focal point of the Nevada offense ... One of the premier
middle blockers in the Mountain West ... Led the Wolf Pack
in numerous offensive categories last season including
kills, kills per set, hitting percentage,
points and points per set ... Among the leaders
in the Mountain West in kills, blocks and points ...
Nevada's leader in blocks for the third consecutive
2013 (Jr.): Led the Wolf Pack
in numerous offensive categories last season including
kills (307), kills per set (2.82), hitting percentage
(.249), points (374.0) and points per set (3.43) ... Team
leader in blocks (114) and blocks per set (1.05) ...
Ranked 16th in the conference in kills, ninth in blocks
and 15th in points ... Set match highs in kills four times
... Tallied her third career double-double against Cal
Poly (Sept. 15) ... Set a career high in kills with 22
against Montana (Sept. 14) ... Her 13 blocks against UC
Santa Barbara (Aug. 31) tied a career high ... One of four
players who played every set (109) and started every match
(32) for the Wolf Pack in 2013.
Epenesa pulling it together for Purdue
Sam Epenesa succumbed to the
temptations, like many college kids away from home for the
first time do. Personal issues and wild weekends
could have led to the Purdue volleyball player's
self-destruction. Epenesa struggled emotionally and
academically. She wanted to go back to her home in Glen
"Volleyball was the one thing I was good at. Everything
else crumbled," Epenesa said. Instead of letting
life beat her down, Epenesa grew up. By her own
admission, she's more mature. And to everyone who has
watched the Boilermakers this season, she's playing better
Epenesa is hitting .296 in Big Ten play, a phenomenal
mark for an outside hitter and a major reason why Purdue
is in first place with a 7-1 league mark. She has 162
kills this season. She's already punched double-figure
kills five times in conference play and did it on
back-to-back nights last weekend against the team's
toughest competition to date.
There are two more tough ones on the slate this weekend
as Purdue returns to Epenesa's home state to face
Northwestern and Illinois. "She has learned from
whatever she's done in the past," Purdue coach Dave
Shondell said. "Whatever she was doing in her day-to-day
life or in the practice gym getting ready to play, it
Last fall, Epenesa had her share of big moments,
shining brightest against eventual NCAA champion Penn
State. Expecting her to run the gauntlet and perform
every night was a question mark.
Epenesa struggled internally with the frustration of
her mother's battle with breast cancer. Just as Stephanie
Epenesa won that fight, Sam's grandmother began a war of
her own with lymphoma. "Going through all of that
and playing volleyball and being a full-time student, I
didn't handle it well," Epenesa said. Last weekend,
her grandmother was finally able to make the trip to West
Epenesa placed a heavy emphasis on family when choosing
Purdue, believing the Boilermakers gave her the best
environment to have the right support system. That
choice was proven correct when Epenesa caught a glimpse of
Shondell embracing her grandmother in Holloway Gymnasium.
"She (Epenesa's grandma) had been pretty ill and has
just gotten over a lot of her treatments," Epenesa said.
"The first thing Dave did was went over to my grandma and
gave her a big smooch on the cheek and told her how happy
he was to see her.
"He noticed she made it back, even though she was
wearing hats and might not have her hair. He held on to
her like she was his own family."
With her grandmother in attendance, Epenesa put on a
show, hitting nearly .500 as Purdue topped Ohio State in
She decided last spring that she'd long been making the
"You never really have freedom like this until you get
here," Epenesa said. "There were a lot of things I didn't
really grasp. Obviously team comes first, but I didn't
realize that in every aspect.
"You don't have to go out every Friday, Saturday and
Sunday. That is up to you. I realized there were choices I
could make to make my life easier or to make my life
She put the volleyball team above all else except her
family and her faith. Teammates took notice.
"She has matured and realizes what is important. It's
great the team is the No. 1 priority," junior libero
Amanda Neill said. Her play showed her dedication
despite her being just 6 feet tall and facing monsters at
the net who provide a barrier.
The daughter of former Iowa defensive lineman Eppy
Epenesa and older sister of A.J. Epenesa, a high school
sophomore being recruited by seemingly every college
football program in the country, she possesses some of the
same athletic qualities.
"She has one of the best builds on the team," teammate
Annie Drews said. "Her abs, her arms and her legs are so
strong. She is one of the strongest players on the team
and she jumps really well. What she lacks in height, she
makes up for in other areas."
Epenesa's father is American Samoan. The lineage leaves
her with relatives just about anywhere she travels.
Shondell said he notices a small Epenesa fan section
almost every night the Boilermakers play.
"I have yet to go somewhere that my dad doesn't have a
contact or a family friend," Epenesa said. "Quite frankly,
a lot of them aren't just family friends, but distant
relatives." Epenesa knows her family is going to
support her win or lose, outstanding performance or not.
But a more mature Epenesa is giving them reason to cheer.
Purdue needed their junior outside hitter to step up
and have a fantastic season. So far, she's obliged.
"We've played 20 matches this year. I think she has had
two that she hasn't been playing at a high level. That's
awfully good," Shondell said.
Wolf Pack's 25 most important players: No.13 #8-DE Ian
The Wolf Pack football team opens the season
Aug. 30 against Southern Utah. Every day until the season
opener, we will count down the team's 25 most important
players in 2014. Here's a look at No. 13.
#8. DE Ian Seau
Hometown: Oceanside, Calif.
2013 statistics: 12 games (four starts): 23
tackles, five TFL, one forced fumble, one breakup
Why he's important: The Wolf Pack front four
must be above-average for the defense as a whole to play
well. Seau is a key part of that front four. He's got
elite get-off post-snap and caused six or seven holds last
season despite being undersized. This summer, he added
about 20 pounds to better battle in the trenches and look
the part of a rush end. He should create a dynamic rush
duo alongside Brock Hekking.
Ideal role: Seau will start and specialize in
pass-rushing situations. Given how much pressure he put on
the backfield last season, it's incredible to think he
didn't record a sack in 2013, his first at Nevada. He's
due for a breakout season. I wouldn't be shocked to see
him push for All-MWC honors. His first step is going to
give offensive tackles issues. He needs to continue to
improve on holding up versus the run, with the added
weight being an ally there.
2014 forecast: 12 games (11 starts): 44 tackles,
12 TFL, seven sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble
recovery, three breakups
Did you know? Seau is one of just three Wolf
Pack players who began their career at another FBS school
before transferring to Nevada. Seau came from Kansas
State; LB Matthew Lyons came from Washington; and S Duran
Workman came from Army.
NFL Draft: Vikings Select Oregon State DE Scott
Parents are both from Western Samoa. The Washington
prep enrolled at Oregon State and redshirted as a freshman
in 2010. Earned the starting job at right defensive end in
2011 and had 74 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and six
sacks with three passes batted and a school-record six
forced fumbles in 12 games. Ranked first among the
nation's freshman class in tackles for loss and sacks.
Moved over to the left defensive end spot in 2012 and
appeared in 13 games (12 starts), recording 44 tackles,
17.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks with three passes
batted and one forced fumble. Had a three-sack game
against Washington State. Missed spring practice in 2013,
rehabilitating from off-season shoulder surgery. In 13
starts at left defensive end in the fall, he had 47
tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks with three
passes batted and three forced fumbles. Concluded his
career as the Beavers' all-time leader in forced fumbles
(10) and ranked third in sacks (22.5). Revealed at the NFL
combine that he elected to leave school one year early to
support his family; his mother works two jobs, and his
father still works despite having a leg amputated.
Put together -- has a well-proportioned, muscular build
with long arms and big hands. Good burst off the snap.
Flashes power. Can shoot his hands, extend and get under a
tackle's pads. Generally plays on his feet. Nice closing
speed when he has a bead. Strong tackler. Tries for the
strip (10 career FFs). Productive three-year starter.
Strong, athletic, raw defensive end prospect who would
have been better served returning for his senior season.
Despite being rough around the edges at this stage of his
development, Crichton shows in flashes and has power
potential as a 4-3 defensive end. Could require patience.
Sibling rivalry: It works for them
Brother and sister wrestlers benefit from partnership
High’s Miracle Tausaga and his sophomore sister, Leimai,
fight almost every day. Serious, physical confrontations.
No big deal,
brothers and sisters fight all the time, right?
This is a little
different. Miracle is the San Diego Section’s top
heavyweight wrestler and his sister recently captured the
section girls heavyweight title. The fighting they do
comes in practice every day.
wrestling partner because she’s my size and she’s way more
aggressive than most wrestlers, boy or girl,” says Miracle
matter-of-factly. “She’s faster and heavier than anyone on
“It helps both
of us. I have a workout partner who’s not intimidated and
she won’t find a girl who’s as strong as I am.”
Miracle is a
6-foot, 235-pounder who is 33-3 and defended his section
Division IV title Saturday. He is favored in the masters
meet this weekend. He has bench-pressed 285, doing three
sets of 10 at 225 in practice. He was a first team
All-League linebacker-running back in football.
Leimai has never
lifted weights. She played middle blocker in volleyball.
Leimai is quick on her feet and has suffered just one loss
this year — to a boy.
“I throw him
around, he throws me around and afterward we both laugh,”
says Leimai, who weighs the same as her brother. “We don’t
hold back. I think it helps me more than him because I’m
Leimai has six
older brothers but she says they never came to her rescue
when she was in trouble.
have to because they knew I could take care of myself,”
she says, chuckling. “They picked on me but they let me
join in when they played sports.”
gatherings were encouraged by their father, Ula, the
pastor of the Samoan Independent Full Gospel Church in
Lemon Grove where Miracle and Leimai are in the choir and
both learned a lot about life while working on weekly
countywide food drives.
“It’s for the
homeless,” said Miracle, who got his name after he and his
mother, Mai, survived a particularly dangerous childbirth.
“Doing it makes
me feel good because it gives them another chance. I like
singing in the choir, too.”
Miracle says he
far prefers wrestling over football. He says while he
likes the bonding in football where he gets an
appreciation of team, he prefers the opportunity to decide
his own fate one-on-one on the mat based on training and
He says while
there are just three two-minute periods in a wrestling
match, meets like the section championships,
masters and state can be far more grueling than football,
lasting all day for two days.
Miracle lost in
the first round of the state last year, wrestled back with
four wins, but then lost the first match the next day.
That won’t be
close to good enough this year.
butterflies that first match,” explains Miracle, “but now
I know what to expect. I’m ranked fifth in the state and
my losses are to the No. 1 and No. 2 wrestlers in the
state. I’ve learned from those losses.”
As for Leimai,
anything short of a state championship this weekend in
Visalia will not be tolerated.
She and Mount
Miguel teammate Talisha Dozier are both favored, but
Leimai has simply dominated her opponents, usually winning
by fall (pin) early in the match.
“It was my
first state meet and all the girls ahead of me were
seniors,” says Leimai, who placed eighth
overall last year.
be there to cheer her on as he participates in the section
masters meet. But his thoughts will be with her, just as
they are every day in practice.
Talavalu Head Coach Leota Setefano Fata with the 12 member
Talavalu Team that travelled to Hong Kong. [photo: TA]
The Hong Kong Experience: A
Picture this: Two teams running onto the rugby pitch in
Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Sevens 2014 Rugby tournament.
One team, a previous core member team fighting their way
back into core status, made up of seasoned more
experienced players, trained in state of the art gyms and
coached by seasoned, experienced coaches in the game. They
run in and immediately get into position to
Now imagine the other team. A long way from home —
American Samoa — whose most notable win was at the Oceania
qualifying leg for the Hong Kong Qualifier world series.
12 players who have trained in what ever gym is made
available to them. Practice at a stadium that seats a
maximum crowd of 2,000 and are lucky if they play in any
rugby tournament 2-3 times a year.
Wolf Pack defensive end Ian Seau
despite famous uncle’s football-related suicide
In one lightning-quick move, Ian Seau showed why the
Nevada football team wanted him. He showed off his
The Wolf Pack had opened its game against UC Davis at
Mackay Stadium on Saturday night by picking off an Aggies
pass and then scoring a touchdown three plays later, 61
seconds into the game. Nevada had quickly snatched the
Three plays after the touchdown, facing a third-and-11,
the Aggies’ Manusamoa Luugu broke off a 46-yard run on a
draw play to the Nevada 30-yard line. UC Davis was in
position to steal the momentum right back.
But on the next play, the 6-foot-2, 227-pound Seau, a
sophomore defensive end who played at Grossmont College in
El Cajon, Calif., last season, looked more like a 5-9,
160-pound receiver when he faked a move to the inside, got
the left tackle off balance and then bolted into the
backfield where he read a receiver sweep perfectly and
tackled Alex Cannon for a 12-yard loss.
The Aggies punted, the Wolf Pack scored on its next
possession, and the game was never really in doubt
afterward as Nevada rolled to a 36-7 victory.
Seau, a second-team end whom coach Brian Polian said
had a so-so debut against UCLA a week prior, had 2 1/2 of
the Wolf Pack’s six tackles for loss and also forced a
“He’s going to get increased reps because he’s proven
from week one to week two that he’s made a significant
leap,” said Polian, who has more depth at defensive end
than probably any other position. “He got some pressure on
the quarterback, made a great tackle for loss. So, he’s
earned more playing time and he’ll get it.”
That’s certainly music to Seau’s ears. Like any
competitor he wants to play. But he is also on a constant
quest to find the great balance between playing too much
or perhaps too hard and still giving his all to the game
Junior Seau was Ian’s uncle as well as being one of the
NFL’s most dominant and ferocious middle linebackers of
the past quarter century.
Junior Seau played 20 seasons in the NFL, mostly for
the San Diego Chargers. That was after four seasons at USC
and more football at Oceanside High. He played with
“As a kid I remember going to a couple of (Charger)
games,” Ian, 20, said at practice this week. “I
have tapes of him. When I watch him it’s like, this dude,
he’s real. …
“A lot of people think of him as a football player. I
think of him as a guy I could just kick it with. He liked
to go to the beach, liked to surf. We’d have barbecues at
his house. That’s what I think of when I think of him.”
Junior Seau committed suicide in May 2012, eight months
before Ian signed his Letter of Intent to play for Nevada.
Junior was 43. Tests of his brain later revealed he
suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the
illness often caused by multiple concussions — the illness
that has led to a rash of suicides by former NFL players
in recent years.
Like other ex-NFL players who have committed suicide,
Junior Seau shot himself in the chest, an act, perhaps, to
preserve his brain for testing.
Ian isn’t at risk of CTE because he’s a Seau. He’s at
risk because he plays. Being the nephew of Junior Seau
only intensifies the conundrum.
“Yeah, I think about it,” said Ian, who began his
college career at Kansas State but felt homesick and
transferred after he redshirted his freshman year. “I
talked to my family. After the whole situation (with
Junior’s suicide), I wanted to play. My family said, ‘If
that’s what you want to do, let’s do it.’ I wanted to see
what I can do. He played a long time. He threw his body
around. He was a great player.”
Ian, who had 19 sacks at Grossmont last season, was set
to attend his hometown school, San Diego State, when
former Wolf Pack assistant Ken Wilson, now at Washington
State, began recruiting him for Nevada. Wilson maintained
contact with Ian during the coaching transition here, and
Polian picked it up when he was hired in January.
“Kenny Wilson did an unbelievable job of recruiting
him,” Polian said. “All I had to do was come in and assure
him that everything was going to be OK, and even though
there was a coaching change we still wanted him and we had
a plan for him.”
Nevada proved to be a perfect fit. Kansas State was too
far away. San Diego State, when your name is Seau and just
months after your famous uncle’s suicide, was too close.
“Polian was talking to me, (saying), ‘Your whole name
would surround you at San Diego State,’” said Ian, whose
mom, Mary, is Junior’s older sister. “It was nice to talk
with him because he told me, ‘I’m not taking you as a Seau.
I’m taking you as a person.’ I’m not the type of guy to
throw my name around. I don’t want people to judge me
based on my name.”
Polian also bonded with Ian from a familial standpoint,
sharing his thoughts on knowing what it’s like to grow up
with a famous name.
“The other thing I talked about was, I understand what
it’s like to grow up with a famous last name and the kind
of pressure that that comes with and the kind of
expectations that that comes with and how you are held to
a different standard whether you like it or not,” said
Polian, whose father, Bill Polian, was an NFL general
manager who built the Buffalo Bills into a four-time Super
Bowl team in the early 1990s. “And I think he and I had a
little common ground when it came to that.”
Ian, who is studying communication at Nevada and wants
to become a coach, continues to play, as do thousands of
college players, knowing there’s always a risk. The NFL
recently settled a multimillion dollar lawsuit by former
players related to head injuries. A few former college
players recently filed a similar lawsuit against the NCAA.
“As a whole, there’s inherent risk in the game, and
anyone who plays the game knows that,” said Polian, who
was a linebacker at John Carroll University in Ohio. “… We
talked a little bit about it in the recruiting process
because when you made a home visit with Ian you made a
home visit with the whole family, which was fine. Junior’s
dad was there. I didn’t speak about the trouble that
Junior had gone through. I mean, who am I to speak about
that. No one knows what he was feeling and what was going
through his head. I certainly talked about the respect I
had for him as a man and a football player.”
The risk is indeed inherent and potentially
devastating. But for so many it’s still not enough to stop
them from chasing their dreams.
“A lot of people who play college football want to play
at the next level,” Ian said. “My hope and dream is to go
out and do it.”
Marques Tuiasosopo accepts offer to
coach tight ends at USC
has accepted an offer to become the tight ends coach at
USC, multiple sources have told The Seattle Times.
The popular former Washington quarterback was named the
Huskies’ interim head coach earlier this month, then
guided UW to a 31-16 victory over BYU in the Fight Hunger
Bowl on Friday night.
USC is expected to make a formal announcement of
hiring on Monday.
is also expected to announce the hiring of UW defensive
coordinator Justin Wilcox
in the same role on Monday, sources said.
The Huskies finished with a 9-4 record this season, the
program’s most wins since Tuiasosopo led the Huskies to an
11-1 finish and a Rose Bowl win during the 2000 season.
A year ago, Tuiasosopo was hired by former UW coach
to coach UW’s quarterbacks. Sarkisian left UW to coach the
Trojans on Dec. 2.
New UW coach Chris
Petersen had offered Tuiasosopo a chance to
remain at UW as tight ends coach.
Petersen is expected to announce his UW coaching staff
early this week. Former Boise State quarterbacks coach
will succeed Tuiasosopo as UW’s quarterbacks coach,
sources have said.
SB Nation Names Keenan Reynolds
Independent Offensive Player Of The Year; Ken
Niumatalolo Independent Coach Of the Year
Reynolds also named NAAA Athlete of the Week for the
seventh time this year
SB Nation has tabbed
Navy sophomore quarterback
Keenan Reynolds its Independent Offensive
Player of the Year and Navy head coach
Ken Niumatalolo the Independent Coach of the
Year. BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy was the Independent
Defensive Player of the Year.
In just his second season
at Navy, Reynolds, who was also named the NAAA Athlete
of the Week for the seventh time this fall, is well on
his way to rewriting the school and national record
books, establishing an NCAA single-season record for
rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 29 this season,
tying the NCAA record for most touchdowns in a game
against an FBS opponent (7 vs. San Jose State), scoring
a program-best 42 points against San Jose State,
breaking a nearly 100-year-old season scoring mark at
Navy with 176 points (174 by Bill Ingram in 1917) and
smashing the school record for points responsible for in
a season with 224. He needs one rushing touchdown to
become just the fourth person in FBS history to rush for
30 or more touchdowns in a single-season.
Niumatalolo led Navy to an
8-4 mark, a bowl game for the 10th time in the last 11
years and the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy for the ninth
time in the last 11 years. The Mids went undefeated at
home and beat Army for a 12th-consecutive time.
Niumatalolo is 48-30 in his sixth year as the head
coach, which is the most wins in school history for a
coach in his first six years. His 48 wins are third
all-time in Navy history, trailing Eddie Erdelatz
(1950-58) by just two for second and George Welsh
(1973-81) by just seven wins for first.
ISAAC SOPOAGA: PATRIOTS NEW DF IS A
FOXBORO — You have to become
creative if you want to get in shape in American Samoa.
Patriots defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga wanted it.
Growing up in the village of Fagasa there were no free
weights. So in order to lift, the first thing he did was
collect coconuts. Depending on the weather, there were two
ways he’d perform the task. The first way was to climb up
a tree — all 300-plus pounds of him — and pull off the
pieces of fruit by hand.
“It’s just like seeing ‘The Jungle Book,’ ” Sopoaga
said. “I was like (Mowgli in) ‘The Jungle Book’ going up.
I climbed the coconut tree with bare hand and bare foot.
You just got to use a lot of your palm and in your feet to
lock yourself into the coconut tree to climb up.”
The second way to get the coconuts, if it was raining
and climbing was out of the question, was to hurl rocks
toward the tropical sky in an attempt to knock down the
coconuts one by one. It wasn’t easy. Some of the trees
stood over 75 feet tall.
Sopoaga typically gathered around 120-160 pieces before
he moved on to the next phase. He would then weave two
baskets made out of the trees’ feather-like leaves. When
he was finished, he loaded the coconuts into the baskets
and attached them on opposite sides of a small tree that
he knocked down.
And then, he would work out.
“We have no weights back home, so I would
out of coconut palm tree and average like 60 or 80 in each
bag. I would get a little tree and carry it,” Sopoaga
The training methods were unique on the island of
Tutuila, but it’s part of the journey that led this
righteous Samoan all over the globe and into the NFL today
with the Patriots.
Quite a find
June Jones has been traveling to American Samoa for the
past 15 years. While coaching at the University of Hawaii,
he recruited some of his best athletes from the islands —Sopoaga
Jones will never forget the day he first saw Sopoaga.
He was raw, but Jones, now at SMU, immediately saw the
Poly Football Hall Of Fame names
Honolulu, HI – The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame
announced today 25 Finalists will be on the ballot for
inaugural induction into the Polynesian Football Hall of
Fame. The list includes 20 players and five
The Finalists were selected from a field of over 100
nominees by a Selection Committee comprised of former
head football coaches Dick Tomey, LaVell Edwards, Ron
McBride, ESPN Sportscaster Neil Everett, NFL player
personnel expert Gil Brandt and Honolulu Sportscaster
“The Selection Committee is as notable and recognizable in
coaching, media and player personnel as you can get. They
have a unique perspective, appreciation and understanding
of Polynesia’s contribution to the game,” said Vai
Sikahema, member of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame
Board of Directors.
The committee will meet again in the coming weeks to
select the seven members (six players and one
coach/contributor) to be inducted as the Inaugural Class
for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. Members of the
Board of Directors have asked to be excluded from
consideration for this first class.
“The Selection Committee has been hard at work,” said Dick
Tomey, Chairman. “This is quite a challenge as there are
so many great Polynesian football players, coaches and
contributors to consider.”
The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame inaugural inductees
will be announced on October 9, 2013. They will be honored
at the Inaugural Polynesian Football Hall of Fame
to be held at the Hawai’i Convention Center (Honolulu) on
January 23, 2014 prior to the NFL Pro Bowl.
To learn more, please visit…
• George Achica (DT) USC, Pro: NFL (IND)
& USFL 3 years, Samoan ancestry
• Junior Ah You (DE) Arizona State, Pro:
CFL & USFL 12 years, Samoan ancestry
• Bob Apisa (FB/HB) Michigan State, Pro:
NFL (GB) 1 year, Samoan ancestry
• Charles "Charlie" Teetai Ane, Jr. (OL)
USC, Pro: NFL (DET) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
• Herman “Buddy” Piikei Clark (RB) Oregon
State, Pro: NFL (CHI) 4 years, Hawaiian ancestry
• Riki Morgan Ellison (LB) USC, Pro: NFL
(SF, OAK) 8 years, Maori ancestry
• Luther John Elliss (DT) Utah, Pro: NFL
(DET, DEN) 9 years, Samoan ancestry
• Rockne Crowningburg Freitas (OL) Oregon
State, Pro: NFL (DET, TB) 10 years, Hawaiian ancestry
• Kurt Keola Gouveia (LB) BYU, Pro: NFL
(WAS, PHI, SD) 13 years, Hawaiian ancestry
• Ma'ake Tu'amelie Kemoeatu (DT) Utah,
Pro: NFL (BAL,
WAS) 11 years, Tongan ancestry
• Olin George Kreutz (C) Washington, Pro:
NFL (CHI, NO) 14 years, Hawaiian ancestry
• Kevin James Mawae (C) LSU, Pro: NFL
(SEA, NYJ, TEN) 18 years, Hawaiian ancestry
• Alapati “Al” Noga (DL) Hawai’i, Pro:
NFL (MIN, WAS, IND) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
• Tiaina Baul “Junior” Seau, Jr. (LB)
USC, Pro: NFL (SD, NE, MIA) 20 years, Samoan ancestry
• Ray Frederick Schoenke (OT/OG) SMU,
Pro: NFL (DAL, WAS) 12 years, Hawaiian ancestry
• Mosiula “Mosi” Faasuka Tatupu (RB/KR)
USC, Pro: NFL (NE, STL) 14 years, Samoan ancestry
• Jack Thompson (QB) Washington State,
Pro: NFL (CIN, TB) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
• Manu'ula “Manu” Asovalu Tuiasosopo (DL)
UCLA, Pro: NFL (SEA, SF) 7 years, Samoan ancestry
• Mark Pulemau Tuinei (OT) Hawai’i, Pro:
NFL (DAL, NE, MIA) 15 years, Samoan ancestry
• Herman John Wedemeyer (HB) St. Mary’s
College, Pro: AAFL (Dons, BAL) 2 years, Hawaiian
COACH & CONTRIBUTOR FINALISTS
• Thomas Ka’auwai Ka’ulukukui, Former
Head football Coach at University of Hawai’i, Hawaiian
• Albert “Al” Lolotai (OL) Weber JC, Pro:
NFL (WAS), AAFL (Dons), 4 years, Samoan ancestry
• John Manumaleuna, Contributor, Southern
California Advocate for Polynesian Youth, Samoan
• Ken Niumatalolo, Head Football Coach at
United States Naval Academy, Samoan ancestry
•Charlie Wedemeyer, Former Head Football
Coach, Los Gatos High School (CA),
Eagles defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga.
Sopoaga bringing energy to Eagles
PHILADELPHIA – Isaac Sopoaga thinks leadership is
The 330-pound nose tackle from American Samoa makes a
pretty compelling argument when he’s not clowning around
spelling out the Eagles cheer or watching Rocky motion
picture reruns, particularly Rocky IV (the idea of good
triumphing over evil against all odds on the road almost
tears him up).
Eleven players sacrificing to be one, that’s where
Sopoaga is coming from.
“I am not trying to be like a leader,” Sopoaga said.
“I’m just looking after my guys. I’m just being about
taking care of my guys because I want to
and of course my guys want to win, our coach wants to win
and our team wants to win. So that’s what I’m doing.
“If all 11 guys work together one
at a time it will be something sweet.”
With Sopoaga in the middle, the San Francisco 49ers
worked it one play at a time while the offense did its
thing all the way to Super Bowl 47. The season ended in a
crushing 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in New
The 49ers couldn’t keep everyone from that team, and
Sopoaga was a natural fit for the Eagles, who are
transitioning to a 3-4 defense
San Jose State
lands San Diego LB
San Jose State is off to a fast start and has
six total commitments with the recent pledge of
“I committed last night,” Leasau said. “Everything just
felt right at San Jose State. The coaching staff was great
with me and my family and I felt like I had a good
chemistry with everyone there. Plus it just felt like home
when I visited and that’s what I was looking for.
“I took an unofficial visit back in April and really
liked it a lot. Coach Donte Williams, he’s the one that
was recruiting me and that’s my guy right there. I know
it’s early for me but I just felt like this was the
perfect fit for me so there was no point in putting it
off. Plus I wanted to do it before my senior year so I
could just focus on school and football and now I’ll be
able to do that.”
Leasau had a solid showing at the SoCal NIKE Camp where
he measured in at 6-1, 205 pounds and clocked a 4.88-40
and jumped 33 inches in the vertical. He has a long frame
and will easily be able to hold another 25 pounds or so
without a problem. He was a 1st team All-league...
Highlights of Youth Day and the 4th of July
celebration included Polamalu holding the Youth
Day Championship flag to signal who was winner of
different games, and an impromptu siva palagi by
Troy and Theadora with the youth.
“I can promise you today (Thursday) you’ll be seeing a
lot of new changes for you in the next, six to 12 months,
as long as we stay in the chorus and make you the most
valuable assets in our administration,” said Governor Lolo
Matalasi Moliga. His Special remarks were made during the
4th of July celebration held at the Suigaula, Utulei
Beach, comprising cultural games and entertainment.
The event was hosted by the Department of Youth and
Women’s Affairs, as this month is Youth Month.
The theme of the day was ‘Our Future Is in Your Hands’,
and began with a parade down Utulei village to Suigaula,
lead by Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, his wife Pohakalani,
other government directors, as well as Boy Scouts leaders.
The youth of more than 1,000 participants were treated
with a special appearance by well known football star Troy
Polamalu, who was accompanied by his wife Theadora and
their two sons, Paisios and Ephraim.
For the first time, in a very long time, American Samoa
hosted a special ceremony, including a parade, to mark the
United States’ birthday. DYWA, Acting Director Pa’u Roy
Ausage noted that three milestones involving the youth has
come about: Firstly the government has employed more than
500+ students this summer; DYWA’s budget has been restored
100%; and, this administration is in the process of
building a Sports Complex in Pago Pago for the youth.
Members of the cabinet also joined in during the youth
games where directors and agency heads teamed up in
twosomes, and played the three-legged-race — including
Governor Lolo and Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga.
Governor Lolo in his speech pointed out that he has four
main points he wanted the youth to hear about.
This Fourth of July, is the celebration of freedom. “We
celebrate the birth of a nation that has become the beacon
of freedom, justice for the world and a benefactor of
American Samoa for the last 113 years.
“Second, we are celebrating today, the vision of our
forefathers when they decided to put American Samoa under
the protection of the great government of the United
States, which is founded upon the principles of freedom
and the protection of individual rights.
“Third, we are celebrating for the first time American
Samoa has come together as a community to celebrate the
youth of American Samoa; to send the message to the youth
that they are the future of this territory.”
Governor Lolo’s last point was how heartwarming and
gratifying it was to have “a son of Samoa” — Troy Polamalu,
who has not forgotten his roots, who he is, and where he
The messages that Polamalu is giving out to you is that
“sky is the limit as far as success is concerned, his job,
my job the leaders job is to provide opportunity for the
young people to become somebody useful in our community in
the future,” the governor stated.
“But the decision and choice to become successful will be
yours to make, our job is to provide opportunities and
your job it to make a commitment to be the custodian of
our people’s future,” Lolo said.
He added, “money is an issue, but we are not going to let
that issue become a factor for the government… that will
not stop ASG… we will do whatever we can to make sure,
that those services will be delivered to you.”
Polamalu also offered remarks, noting the beauty of
celebrating Youth Day on the fourth of July. He pointed
out to the youth that the most important thing that he and
his wife, Theadora believe is the need to stay focused on
He said their Team came down with professional volleyball
players, professional football players, and they also have
counselors to help students prepare for college. To the
parents, Polamalu said, these counselors are also here to
Polamalu urged the parents to take advantage of this
opportunity and meet with counselors about how to get
their child prepared for college. “So they can bring back
knowledge on how to become not just football player, but
also being a lawyer, doctor, or judge.
“Which to me is more impressive — to be a lawyer, judge,
and doctor, than even a Hall of Fame football player. So
again, I open up to you the opportunity to sit down with
our counselors and talk to some of the players about how
to prepare for college, and how to prepare to have success
if that’s what you desire in the academic world.”
Highlights of Youth Day and the 4th of July celebration
included Polamalu holding the Youth Day Championship flag
to signal who was winner of different games, and an
impromptu siva palagi by Troy and Theadora with the youth.
MALE PREP ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: SEFO
LIUFAU IS COMMITTED TO BEING THE BEST
TODD MILLES, The News Tribune
Why wait to be great? Tacoma, Washington's
Bellarmine Prep’s Sefo Liufau chooses not to.
Sefo is the grandson of HELENA IU ISAIA (the ULI
family) LIUFAU and the late SUA FILIGA LIUFAU of Aua.
Parents are JOE SUA LIUFAU of Aua and HEATHER HIEPTAS
LIUFAU of Tacoma, WA.
Sefo wishes grandma (MAMA), aunts, uncles and all the
families in American Samoa a big fa'afetai for their
prayers, love and support.
Liufau’s career for the Lions in football and
basketball will likely be long remembered by followers
of city high school athletics. He was the star
quarterback for three seasons, leading the school to its
first Gridiron Classic appearance in December. And he
was a four-year starter at forward in basketball,
helping the Lions reach the Class 4A state semifinals in
2011-12. A true unquestioned leader on and off
either playing surface, Liufau is The News Tribune’s
2012-13 senior high school male athlete of the year.
“Sefo’s accomplishments on the field, court and in
the classroom are obviously outstanding,” Bellarmine
Prep athletic director Ed Ploof said. “It is in the area
of leadership, however, where he truly made his mark at
Bellarmine. He has the unique ability to make everyone
around him compete to the best of their abilities, and
exceed even their own expectations.”
As soon as one path ended for Liufau, another one
began — literally in a matter of hours. After
Bellarmine Prep’s senior class graduated June 2 — early
on a Sunday afternoon — Liufau boarded a flight to
Denver with his dad to start school at the University of
Colorado. The next day, after father Joe Liufau
helped his teenage son move into his college dormitory
room at Willard Hall in Boulder, Colo., Sefo Liufau
enrolled in his first college course — Business Core
1010-3, or introduction to business.
After that, he headed directly to the football field
for a team-led practice. In his second day, he
threw his first touchdown pass in seven-on-seven drills
— on a go-route. And by Thursday, he was still
wandering around campus, figuring out where everything
was located. “I don’t know every building by name
yet,” Liufau said. “It does not help all the buildings
look the same.”
His roommate at Willard Hall is incoming tight end
Derek McCartney, a grandson of former Buffaloes coach
Bill McCartney. Liufau’s dormitory is 100 yards
from the food court, which serves six different ethnic
cuisines daily, including Persian, Mexican and Italian.
“Pretty much anything you’d want,” Liufau said. “And
there is a dessert bar.”
This is the life Liufau decided on right after he
signed with Colorado in February, giving up spending
time close to family and friends in Tacoma … and a
summer of leisure. “It is hard, seeing how fast
everything goes,” Liufau said. “But I don’t regret my
decision. For me, this is enjoyable, coming to Colorado
to start working.” Not only is he fitting it —
older teammates refer to Liufau as “Rook” — but he is
showing the team unwavering commitment.
In the volunteer workouts, newcomers were excused
early to get a head start on the walk across campus to
get lunch. Instead, Liufau stayed behind to throw more
passes to his receivers. By the time he got back
on campus, the food court was closed. So he went
to his dormitory room and munched on a peanut butter and
“Within the first week, there’s been so much stuff
I’ve had to do,” Liufau said. “You have to be on top of
everything, because it only gets worse in the fall.”
He has one primary goal: Earn the starting quarterback
job at Colorado as soon as possible.
“You have to have a lot of confidence — in teammates
and your own ability, especially coming in here as a
freshman,” Liufau said. “I definitely have a desire to
be great, and be the best at what I do.”
THE SEFO LIUFAU PROFILE
Cumulative GPA: 3.57.
Sefo is 6'4" and 220 lbs.
Career varsity letters: 7 (4 in basketball, 3 in
College choice: Colorado.
Best memory: “One good memory was when we came back
against Bothell in the football playoffs (4A
quarterfinals) my sophomore year. Another one was
beating Gonzaga Prep (in the 4A quarterfinals) this year
… in a nail-biting game. That was fun, especially the
bus ride back.”
June Jones scholarship awards for the
local Am Samoan Athletes 2013
The June Jones Foundation and the medical team
of the Goodwill Mission touched down on American Samoa
soil this past Thursday evening, with another medical
donation intended for the LBJ Medical Center, along with
five student athlete scholarships that were awarded to two
female and three males yesterday at the Governor's Office
Leading the group was Coach June Jones who has been a
tremendous help to not only the youth of American Samoa,
but the people of Tutuila and Manu’a for continuously
making trips to aid not only our local hospital but also
various athletic scholarships for both football and
Coach Jones mentioned that these trips to American Samoa
make him feel better about the people who took care of him
while he was coaching at UH, “This has been a big blessing
for us and for the kids of Samoa and the hospital, doctors
and nurses. I have made some really good friends over the
last fifteen years and it is always good to see them. I
always enjoy my time coming back, to give back to an
island that was very good to me when I was coaching at the
University of Hawaii.”
Jones said that this trip is different from the recent
trips because “Every year there is a uniqueness… I am
always excited to see the kids, the student athletes that
come through and I must say I am very proud of the kids
here and their academic scholarships, and that they were
chosen by the Department of Education. They were picked
not only for their athleticism, but for their academic
standards, and that's what makes me very proud.”
Jones also commented on their Goodwill Mission by saying
that “…for our medical trip, I am taking probably around
four to five hundred thousand dollars worth of medical
supplies, and the doctors and the nurses have come to
extend their help at the hospital and to help as many
people as they can in the time frame that we’re here.”
“So every year, I think that has grown a little bit more,
and it has been combined together with the athletic and
academic part of these trips," he added.
Samoa News understands that the Goodwill Mission will
present their Medical Donation to the LBJ Medical Center
According to Jones, former NFL Superbowl winner Jesse
Sapolu of the San Francisco 49ers will be leading the
athletic training this year as far as on- field sessions.
“Jesse Sapolu, Ma’a Tanuvasa, Vince Manuwai and Reno Mahe,
will be in charge of the on field sessions, so I think
that will be a very good combination, they are all top of
the line NFL players and they know a lot about that game.”
He added, “they’ve got six or eight superbowl rings
amongst them so they are the best at what they do.”
Jones acknowledged those who have supported them on this,
their sixth trip.
“We’re just grateful for all the communities for stepping
up, Blue Sky, and all the different sponsors that have
helped us when we come down here, Sadies by the Sea has
been wonderful and the people there are great, and of
course getting to see the new administration, the Lt.
Governor. It's a great time, I think for the island too.”
On hand to welcome the group as well as the NFL players
was Lt. Governor Lemanu Mauga who thanked June Jones and
the Goodwill Mission for their non-stop support and love
for the people of American Samoa by saying, “Sitting in
front of you today, I am very humbled. Coach June Jones
and the Goodwill Mission group, and doctors, nurses and
NFL players, thank you very much.”
“Thank you for these six years that you have donated to
us— to be part of the lives of the American Samoan people,
and for letting us be part of your lives, we are very
honored to have you here and I hope you enjoy your next
few days in American Samoa,” said the Lt. Gov.
Medical Team Director Marchelle Tapusoa presented Mauga
with their donation saying, “Each year we collect stuff
that hospital and parent homes are getting rid of. They
would change their products and they would have thousand
and thousand of old products and these are still not used,
and not expired. Thinking that someone could make use of
it, what we do is we gather it, and we hope to bring it to
Samoa. We will be getting partial shipments coming in
within the next couple of weeks that will be given out to
the LBJ Hospital, the Hope House in Fatu-O-Aiga, and other
health dispensaries here in American Samoa”.
The following are the five student athletes who have been
awarded June Jones Foundation Scholarships this year:
Bruce Scanlan – Kanana Fou High School – Football
Fred Lauina – Tafuna High School – Football Scholarship
Lilly Tauala – Samoana High School – Volleyball
Vincent Simanu – Fagaitua High School – Football
Matavaitofaga Moi – Leone High School – Volleyball
Samoan Athletes: Toilolo may provide big impact in
small role for Falcons
By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
At 6-foot-8, 265 pounds, Levine Toilolo can be a
blocking force and matchup nightmare. (USATSI)
Atlanta Falcons' best fit: TE
Levine Toilolo, Stanford, fourth round, No. 107
With all due respect to running back Steven Jackson and
defensive end Osi Umenyiora, the key free agent the
Atlanta Falcons convinced to sign in 2013 was their own --
future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez.
While Gonzalez certainly isn't the deep threat down the
seam he was when coming out of Cal in 1997, his savvy
route-running and soft hands continue to make him one of
the league's toughest matchups, especially in the red
With Gonzalez almost surely retiring after the 2013
season, however, the Falcons were wise to look to this
position in the draft. The player they selected --
Stanford's Levine Toilolo -- won't be confused with
Gonzalez anytime soon, but that doesn't mean that general
manager Thomas Dimitroff doesn't have big plans for the
6-8, 265-pound junior.
Currently the tallest tight end on an NFL roster,
Toilolo's great size gives the Falcons a second matchup
nightmare for defenses to contend with in the red zone. In
this way, the Stanford rookie won't be asked to replace
Gonzalez as much as complement the 16-year veteran.
It isn't just Toilolo's physical traits that intrigue,
however. He also appears to have the mindset needed to
handle what is likely to be a limited role. After playing
next to Coby Fleener and Zach Ertz at Stanford, Toilolo is
used to playing second fiddle. He's also used to blocking
in a power-based running scheme with limited opportunities
to catch the ball (50 career receptions).
Most important (considering Atlanta's "other"
pass-catching stars Julio Jones and Roddy White),
Toilolo's value lies in the physicality and size he offers
as a blocker.
Even with Matt Ryan alternately picking apart defenses
through Jones, White and Gonzalez, coach Mike Smith and
offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter fancy their club as one
that can run with power.
A season ago, the Falcons featured undrafted free-agent
rookie Tommy Gallarda (Boise State) as their primary
blocking tight end. Gallarda played well in nine games
before a shoulder injury ended his season early. Gallarda
is back healthy and the Falcons signed former Cincinnati
Bengals' second-rounder Chase Coffman, but the primary
backup job behind Gonzalez appears to be Toilolo's for the
It will tough for any rookie to earn a starting role on
a team as talented as the Falcons (though cornerbacks
Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford have a shot), but if
Toilolo can match Gallarda's grit and consistency, the
fourth-round pick could play a critical role in Atlanta
this year as a blocking specialist ... with perhaps a much
larger role in 2014 and beyond.
Athleticism, attitude key with Atlanta's
rookies (other thoughts on the Falcons' 2013 draft class):
While Toilolo could play an important niche for the
Falcons as a rookie, the team is banking on either Trufant
or Alford to emerge as a quality starter opposite big play
veteran Asante Samuel.
Each boasts spectacular overall athleticism, and
concerns about Alford's level of competition were largely
put to rest after a strong performance at the Senior Bowl.
Trufant was even better in Mobile, however, and
took most of the first-team snaps at right cornerback
during the team's rookie mini-camp.
Neither he nor Toilolo were able to participate in
Atlanta's recent OTAs per NFL rules, however, as their
classes at the University of Washington and Stanford,
respectively, hadn't yet graduated.
Smith didn't sound too worried that the absence would
impact his rookies, especially Trufant, who is
communicating via Skype with Falcons' secondary coach Tim
"Obviously, you'd like for them to be here, but [Trufant
is] going to be graduating and walking with his class,
which is an important milestone in his life," Smith said.
"I think it's a good rule. He's going to miss some
opportunities on the field, but we've got a plan in place
that we've been executing. There are a lot of ways that
you can communicate with technology now in terms of having
Trufant played well in his first action with the club,
but so did Alford, who was operating as Samuel's top
backup at left cornerback. Each possesses the
straight-line speed, fluidity and confidence to handle
playing early -- which is good, considering the Falcons
elected to allow three of their top five cornerbacks from
a year ago to leave.
The Falcons are confident that Umenyiora is going to
give them the pass-rushing presence that John Abraham had
provided since 2006, but the club drafted two very
intriguing defenders to help, as well.
Malliciah Goodman, 6-3, 276, boasts many of the
physical traits scouts are looking for and may finally
live up to his potential now that his livelihood is
depending on it. Stansly Maponga, 6-2, 256, likely would
have been selected at least a round earlier had he enjoyed
the same success during an injury-plagued junior season
that he enjoyed earlier in his career.
-- The Falcons' 2013 draft class:
1st Round -- No. 22 overall -- CB Desmond Trufant,
2nd Round -- No. 60 overall -- CB Robert Alford,
4th Round -- No. 127 overall -- DE Malliciah Goodman,
4th Round -- No. 133 overall -- TE Levine Toilolo,
5th Round -- No. 153 overall -- DE Stansly Maponga, TCU
7th Round -- No. 243 overall -- S Kemal Ishmael, Central
7th Round -- No. 244 overall -- S Zeke Motta, Notre Dame
7th Round -- No. 249 overall -- QB Sean Renfree, Duke
-- Key Undrafted Free Agents Signed:
WR Martel Moore, Northern Illinois
OG Theo Goins, Central Florida
ILB Nick Clancy, Boston College
Oklahoma’s Keilani Ricketts, who has
Samoan ties, has been named the top college softball
player in the country for the second straight year.
The Amateur Softball Association of America on Tuesday
night announced that Ricketts won the USA Softball
Collegiate Player of the Year award.
The other finalists were Oklahoma teammate Lauren
Chamberlain and Tennessee’s Raven Chavanne.
Ricketts becomes the third player to win the honor
Texas pitcher Cat Osterman was the player of the year
three times, and Washington’s Danielle Lawrie won it in
2009 and 2010.
Ricketts is 31-1 this season with a 1.22 ERA and 311
strikeouts. She’s also hitting .375 with 13 home runs and
Her Sooners are the No. 1 seed in the Women’s Col- lege
World Series, which starts Thursday.
Ricketts was in the territory earlier this year conducting
softball clinics as well as presenting a donation of
equipment to Fa’asao Marist High School. She and her
sisters Samantha and Stephanie first visited the territory
during Samoa Bowl IX where they conducted a girls softball
The Ricketts sisters are the granddaughters of the late
Lewis and Louisa Ripley Gabbard of Tafuna and Leone. They
were born and raised in San Jose California to parents
Jeff and Carol Gabbard Ricketts, and say they had always
expressed an interest in visiting the birth place of both
The Samoa Bowl IX became that opportunity, with not
only visiting their grandparents’ birth place, but to
learn first hand about their culture and its values — and
even more, it also served as a chance give to the
community that helps them to identify their heritage —
DE Maloata's unique journey to USC
By Johnny Curren | ESPN RecruitingNation
Looking out over the pristine turf field at
Corona (Calif.) Centennial just prior to the
team's recent "College Showcase" -- an amped-up
version of spring practice that attracted more
than 30 coaches from some of the top football
programs in the country -- it was easy to notice
Austin Maloata staring with a sense of
Having moved to the mainland in March from
American Samoa, the Class of 2014 defensive end
has undergone a meteoric rise from complete
unknown to highly publicized USC pledge. And now,
everything -- even the artificial playing surface
in front of him -- can be a lot to take in at
"Back in Samoa, we don't have turf or any of
this stuff," said Maloata, who prepped at Leone
High School in Pago Pago, AS prior to his arrival
in Southern California. "We play on rocks. There's
practices where you get tackled, and you get up
and your knee is all bloody. So coming here to
Centennial and feeling the turf here, it was
shocking. Kids over here, they have all of the
sleds, they have all the bags, they have turf …
they have everything. In Samoa, we use the actual
players themselves as tackling dummies."
It's that background, marked by unforgiving
physicality, that Maloata believes gives him an
edge over many of his counterparts, and he just
might have a point. After all, the success of
native Samoans, both in the college ranks as well
as the NFL, has been well documented.
With little recruiting attention coming his way
following his junior season, however, Maloata and
his father, Faleupolu, decided that he'd have a
better shot at gaining notice almost 5,000 miles
away in Corona, where he now resides with an
uncle, as well as his two older brothers,
Faleupolu Jr. and Tuivasa, both of whom attend and
play football at Mt. San Antonio College in
TIAINA SEAU JR:
Junior Seau’s style of play transcended
and revolutionized the linebacker position to what it is
today. His illustrious 20 year career has left an
unforgettable mark in NFL history, as well as San Diego.
Before the NFL was what it is today, there was no player
that could match the intensity, enthusiasm and larger than
life presence that Junior brought.
On the field Junior terrorized opposing
offenses. A highly decorated sack machine in San Diego,
Seau made multiple Pro-Bowls and helped the Chargers reach
its very first Super Bowl appearance in 1994. His sack
celebration is one of the most memorable celebrations in
NFL history, and one that quarterbacks still have
nightmares about. Although many players will often imitate
his intensity, no one will ever duplicate the
irrepressible spirit of Junior Seau.
He was, and for some still is, the face
of the San Diego Chargers. But better yet, he epitomized
San Diego. Although he had a larger than life persona on
the football field, off the field he humanized himself to
the community. Seau dedicated his time to help the youth
tackle the trials and tribulations of life, as well as
mentor aspiring athletes by guiding them away from
trouble. He always opened himself up, and was more
interested in how others were doing. Junior was selfless
and that’s what was so intriguing and likeable about him.
Junior Seau will be forever remembered
as a man that gave everything to his team, his city, and
for his family. On May 2nd, 2012, San Diego
lost a son, leader, and legend. Selfishly we miss and want
Junior back. Although now he is at peace, his smile will
continue to shine bright over San Diego. Thanks for the
SAHC Most Inspirational Athlete
Oceanside High quarterback Tofi Paopao signed a letter
of intent with Florida International. He received a
recommendation from former NFL QB Jeff Garcia. CHARLIE
NEUMAN • U-T
Tofi Paopao had a great career at
Oceanside High, but the senior quarterback needed a
little help to land a college scholarship. “Jeff
Garcia made it happen,” Paopao said of the four-time NFL
Pro Bowl quarterback. “I worked out with him
during our bye week in the playoffs. He has great
charisma. He liked what he saw and said he’d try to
Wednesday, Paopao signed a letter of
intent to play at Florida International.
The Golden Panthers, who went 3-9 last
season and are a member of Conference USA, hired former
Illinois coach Ron Turner as their head man in January.
Turner led the Illini to the Big Ten title and a Sugar
Bowl appearance in 2001. A quarterback guru, Turner —
the brother of former Chargers coach Norv Turner — also
worked 12 years in the NFL with quarterbacks like Peyton
Manning and Garcia.
“We send film, email and make calls,” said
Oceanside coach John Carroll. “We leave messages.
“Jeff Garcia has home numbers. He knows people. Jeff’s
word means something, so when he makes a recommendation,
Garcia lives in San Diego now and runs
Elite Sports West youth football camps, along with John
Bankhead. “Jeff runs a camp for profit, but he
asked if he could work with our young quarterbacks for
free,” Carroll said. “When someone of his stature
volunteers his time, you take that opportunity. And
obviously, it helped Tofi.”
Despite great stats, two San Diego
Section championships in three years as a starter and
outstanding leadership skills, Paopao had two things
working against him.
He’s only 6-foot-1 in an era where
schools are looking for tall QBs. And grades. “A
lot of schools showed interest, but grades were a
problem,” Paopao said. “I buckled down the last two
years, but I didn’t do well my freshman and sophomore
years. That killed me. Florida International is taking a
chance on me.
“I felt at home there. They run the West
Coast offense, so it’s a good fit for me. They’re
bringing me to Florida in June to learn the offense. I
have a chance to be the starter next season.
“They expect me to handle my business on
the field and in the classroom. I intend to do just
that. I don’t want to let Oceanside, Coach Carroll or
Jeff Garcia down.”
April 21, 2013 /
O le Fa’atoesega /
“Amuia le tagata ua
fa’amagaloina lona solitulafono, ma ua ufitia lana
agasala.” (Salamo 32:1)
A to manatunatu ifo
le tagata i lona lava va feagai ma Lau Afio le Atua, e
le mafai ona natia fa’aletonu ma amioga, ua taumamao ma
Lou Finagalo Paia, o le upu moni, ua to’ilalo ma agasala
i Ou Luma.
ia E faamagalo lo matou sese, ua fa’ateteleina ae le
fa’aitiitia, atoa ma o matou vaivaiga fa’alemigao, ua
ta’uleagaina ai Lou Suafa Mamalu i le lalolagi o lo’o
maitau a matou amio, ma tete’e i le molimau a le ‘Au
aiga Lotu i tulaga o la matou auaunaga, ua le
fa’aeaeaina ai Lou Silisili Ese Tama. O lo matou le
ana’ana i lau Afioga, aua ua matou fa’atalale i a’oa’oga
e fa’atonu ma fa’asino ai le atiina’e o Lou Malo , ua le
fa’alogologo fo’i i le ta’ita’iga o Lou Agaga Paia, i le
fa’afiapoto ma fa’asausili o matou uiga ma amioga, e le
maua ai se filemu ma se nofo fealofani i le Tino o
Fa’amagalo mai le
Atua e, le fautuagamasesei o Lau auauna ma lenei
Ekalesia vaogata ma le vaivai, ma ua tatau ai lava ona
fa’afesiligia le fa’amaoni o lo matou alofa ia te Oe,
ona lo matou leaga ua E silafia i lea aso ma lea aso.
Silasila mai ia le
ALII e, ua pei o se afi mumu lo matou alofa naunauta’i e
le mafia ona fa’amatalaina, a ua vaivai lava le tino e
tete’e i fa’aoso’osoga ma le tu’inanau. Ia E fa’amagalo
mai ona o le Toto o Iesu Keriso, talia le auega o matou
agaga, ua matou ole ma valaau atu ai, i le salamo
fa’amaoni faatasi ai ma le tatalo o lo matou ALII
Fa’aola… The Lord’s Prayer: Mataio / Matthew 6:9-13…
Solomona: of the First Samoan Congregational
Christian Church of San Diego, CA, “Malamalama o Samoa”.
APIASF AND CARE
LAUNCH NATIONAL MOVEMENT TO
HELP ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER STUDENTS
Student-Focused Campaign Asks Campus Administrators,
Higher Education Leaders,
Policymakers to "Wake-up" and Pay Attention to AAPI
Students who are the "Changing Face of America"
The Asian & Pacific Islander American
Scholarship Fund (APIASF) and the
National Commission on Asian American and Pacific
Islander Research in Education (CARE) - the
leading AAPI student- and research-focused
organizations, respectively - today kicked off a
national public awareness effort dedicated to
increasing access and completion among Asian
American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, the
fastest-growing, but often the most overlooked and
underserved student population at U.S. colleges and
The new campaign, "We're the Changing Face
of America," is a multi-layered,
grassroots effort working through strategic
partnerships with three of the nation's Asian
American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving
Institutions (AANAPISIs): De Anza College,
City College of San Francisco, and
South Seattle Community College. In
addition to the campaign's AANAPISI partners,
other supporters at business, civil rights,
community-based, and student- and youth-advocacy
organizations are playing an important role in
sharing information and messages. For a list of
In addition, further engagement and outreach will be
made via the campaign's newly-launched website,
www.changingfaceofamerica.com. The site serves as
an online community for students and campaign partners
by providing fact sheets, template outreach materials,
and various tools and resources. Students, community
leaders and campus representatives are encouraged to
lend their voice to the campaign by submitting content
for the Changing Face of America
campaign supports the
Partnership for Equity in Education through Research
(PEER) project by APIASF and CARE, which
launched in June 2012 to help improve educational
outcomes for the AAPI student population. The
Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, USA Funds,
and the Walmart Foundation each
donated grants to the PEER project. Later this year,
the PEER project will begin releasing a series of
reports, through the "We're the Changing Face
of America" campaign, that shares new data
from the institutional partners. These studies will
shed light on the impact of promising practices and
targeted interventions that promote access and success
for low-income AAPI students.
the campaign press release,
click here. To learn how to become a campaign
partner or for more information about the
"We're the Changing Face of America"
Also, follow the campaign on Facebook (www.facebook.com/changingfaceofamerica)
and Twitter (www.twitter.com/aapichange).
Bengals re-sign Rey Maualuga
Cincinnati Bengals announced the re-signing of
Rey Maualuga on Monday.
A source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that
Maualuga agreed to a two-year, $6.5 million deal.
Maualuga was a second-round pick from Southern
California in 2009. He has had some rough times during his
transition to starter, with coach Marvin Lewis challenging
Maualuga and quarterback
Andy Dalton to become more vocal leaders last season.
Pleased with how they responded, Lewis gave both of them a
"C" to wear on their jerseys, designating them team
The Bengals went on to make the playoffs for the second
straight season, losing to Houston in the opening round.
Maualuga, 26, finished second on the Bengals with 122
tackles last season, which marked a career best for the
fourth-year linebacker. He has 348 tackles, three sacks
and three interceptions in his career.
The Bengals have re-signed four of their defensive
players who were eligible for free agency -- Maualuga and
Robert Geathers and
Kaluka Maiava to the Oakland Raiders
Kaluka Maiava (born December 27, 1986) is
an American football player who plays linebacker for the
Cleveland Browns. He played college football at the
University of Southern California (USC).
Maiava attended Baldwin High School in Wailuku, Hawaii
on the island of Maui. His junior year, he had 157
tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 8 sacks. Before his
senior season, Maiava nearly transferred to Kahuku High
School on the island of Oahu, where his uncle was an
assistant coach, to get more attention at a program known
for its NFL alumni; however, his strong performance in
football camps on the mainland influenced him to remain at
Baldwin. His senior year, he had 147 tackles, 39 tackles
for loss, 8 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 5 blocked kicks,
as well as a punt return for a TD. As a student, he
achieved a 3.6 grade point average and an SAT score of
1010 (old scoring system). He modeled himself after
Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Considered the top recruit coming out of Hawaii and one
of the top prospects at the linebacker position, Maiava
was heavily recruited.
A number of major programs offered him
scholarships, including UCLA, Washington,
Oregon, Utah, BYU, Wisconsin, Colorado, Arizona and UTEP;
however, he was not strongly recruited by the University
of Hawaii, then under June Jones. His final three choices
were USC, UCLA and Colorado. In the summer before his
senior year, while attending camps on the mainland, he was
invited to make an official visit to UCLA. Impressed by
their facilities and coaching staff, he made a soft verbal
commitment to UCLA in July 2004.
However, Maiava decided to visit other programs and
eventually drawn to USC, where he was attracted to the
energy of the players and coaches, the program’s
popularity and the Hollywood atmosphere. He committed to
USC on October 11, 2004; he joined the same class as
fellow Trojans linebacker Brian Cushing. He is the first
player from Maui to play for USC.
In February 2005, the Council of the County of Maui
honored him with a resolution congratulating him for all
of his high school football achievements.
Bonner, Seau, honored by Southern
By Nick Pellegrino
© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (11-30-12) — Highlighted by sophomore
quarterback CHRIS BONNER and linebacker IAN SEAU, eight
members of the Grossmont College football team were
honored following selection to the all-National Division
Southern Conference football team at the recent Griffins
Bonner, a Clairemont High product who finished second
in the conference with 247.0 passing yards per contest,
received the prestigious JOE ROTH AWARD. Bonner was also
a second-team pick by coaches on the all-conference
Meanwhile, Seau was honored with the MAUGA DEFENSIVE
AWARD. Seau, a transfer from Kansas State via La Costa
Canyon High, led the state with 19 quarterback sacks and
thus was tabbed the conference's Defensive Player of the
The only other Griffins freshman honored on first-team
offense was 6-foot-5 wide receiver NICKOLAS KURTZ
(Valhalla), who reeled in 50 passes for 797 yards and 10
touchdowns in nine games. A second-team berth went to
running back ALEX CORNIST (Olympian).
On defense, frosh cornerback KWEISHI BROWN (Valhalla)
landed a first-team berth, while inside linebacker
DONNIE WALSH (St. Augustine) gained a second-team honor.
Special teams was dominated by Grossmont. Sophomore
ANDRES CARRILLO (Bel Air) was tabbed placekicker of the
year for a first-team selection, while a second-team
berth went to punter RHYS FELTON (Australia).
Nevertheless, MICHAEL SCALES (West Hills) was tabbed
the team's special teams player of the year in
discussions by Grossmont head coach MIKE JORDAN and his
Offensive tackle ISAIAS LARA of Tahquitz High in Hemet
was named Griffins team captain.
The Griffins finished with a 5-5 record this season,
yet were in bowl contention until the final day of the
goes from SDSU to Nevada
By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com
RENO, Nev. (1-24-13) — Never believe a sure thing is
what it appears to be.
Those who recognize Grossmont College redshirt
freshman IAN SEAU as a blue chip linebacker-DE were sure
that the La Costa Canyon High-Kansas State transfer
would advance to a higher level.
Seau, a JC All-State and All-American as a member of
the Griffins this past season, has surrendered a free
ride to SDSU in favor of a scholarship to the University
Seau collected 19 sacks to lead the state, and was
Grossmont's leading tackler
Samoan Athletes bright
star with Purdue... Samantha Marie Arasi Epenesa
High School: Named as second team AVCA/Under
Armour High School All-American for 2011-12 … ranked No.
prepvolleyball.com’s Top 250 Senior Aces … a Fab 50
selection by Volleyball Magazine … garnered Large School
Volleyball Player of the Year honors from the
Alton Telegraph each of her last three seasons
… earned All-Metro Volleyball Player of the Year honors
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2011 after leading
team with 346 kills and 66 aces and ranking third in digs
(249) … tabbed as a PrepVolleyball All-American while also
earning first team all-state, all-Southwestern Conference
and first team Post-Dispatch acclaim as a junior, after
tallying a school record 406 kills … a Champaign News
Gazette second team all-state selection as a sophomore,
while also earning first team all-conference, team MVP and
PrepVolleyball Soph79 accolades … set school record
for career kills (1,250) and ranks second
in career aces (184) and third in
career block assists (151) … led team to four
Southwestern Conference, four regional and three sectional
titles as well as a third-place state finish in 2010 …
played volleyball and softball as a freshman … played club
volleyball for the High Performance STL Gold team.
Personal: Given name is Samantha Marie
Arasi Epenesa … born Nov. 11, 1993 … parents are Epenesa
and Stephanie Epenesa. Father played football at Iowa and
mother played volleyball at Iowa Wesleyan … has three
brothers, Andrew, Eric and Iosefatu
Draft Zone Spotlight: Kurt Taufa’asau,
DT, Wyoming University
Spotlight: Kurt Taufa’asau, DT, Wyoming
Big Kurt Tuafa’asau stands at 6’3 and 280 pounds and is
fast for a big guy. I have been told by numerous people
that they believe he can run in the late 4.8′s in the
forty yard dash. He is a very big kid that has a great
motor and is a gamer. He plays every down and could be an
interesting player brought into a camp this year. If
brought into the right situation, Kurt could shock some
people. You cannot teach his motor skills. He is very
impressive and seems like a very good kid. I was able to
get an interview with Kurt and I thought I would show the
world about Mr. Tuafa’asau, check him out.
How many teams were recruiting you coming out of
high school and how did you make your decision?
Coming out of high school in Samoa, there was only
one team that recruited me and that was a junior college
from New Mexico (New Mexico Military Institute).
Has it always been your dream to be an NFL
Growing up, I wasn’t interested in football. I
wanted to be a soldier in the army just like my father but
it wasn’t until me and my dad started watching NFL
football on Sundays after church and throwing the football
around was when I started to fall in love and have big
goals and dreams of becoming an NFL player someday.
Who was your favorite NFL team growing up, and
did you have a player you rooted for?
My favorite team growing up was the St. Louis Rams,
and I was rooting for the Rams because Kurt Warner was
there. I started rooting for him because we have the same
first names, and I said to myself that one day I want to
be a quarterback just like Kurt Warner but I grew to
become a defensive tackle.
At your position, how do you break down film,
please inform our readers what you look for when breaking
As a defensive lineman, I break down film by
studying my opponent’s strengths and weakness. For
example, I look to see if my opponent that I am going up
against is slow or fast off the line, do they lean heavy
on their toes or do they put less weight on their hands.
What will be the best pass rush move to do on this guy,
and who is the weakest link on the o-line so we/I can
exploit it with stunts and games. Can we beat him off the
line with speed or bull rush? After we study our opponents
then we start with what is there favorite formation,
favorite play, and what keys do they show that gives us a
clue that this play is coming run or pass.
What is the best accolade/award you have ever
received from playing football?
When I was at my junior college I was named 1st
team All- American WSFL after my sophomore year there,
then I received a most improved defensive lineman award
Now that your college football eligibility is up
what’s your next move?
My next move is train and prepare for my pro day
and the NFL draft in April.
When did you really feel you had a good chance
of making your dream come true?
The beginning of my senior season when my coaches
were telling me to keep up the great work that I am doing
on the field because I have caught some teams attention
when they came on there scouting visit, and that the
scouts love what I have on film
Super Bowl 2013: San
Francisco 49ers lineman Mike Iupati's long road to NFL
Mike Iupati remembers carefree days
playing touch rugby and hide-and-seek with his friends in
the village of Vaitogi, American Samoa, only to find
himself at age 14 living in the garage of a relative in
He knew little English and even less about football.
Eleven years later, Iupati, called "a gentle giant" by
center Jonathan Goodwin, is an All-Pro guard for the
49ers. In contrast to his violent, brute-force style of
blocking, Iupati (6-foot-5, 331 pounds) has a cultural
predisposition toward kindness and humility.
"A lot of people say I have a big heart, but that's
just a part of me," Iupati said. "I care about others, and
I want them to have what I have, experience what I have
now. That's how I see it.
Among the storylines leading up to Super Bowl XLVII in
New Orleans will be that of Baltimore Ravens tackle
Michael Oher. Homeless as a youth in Memphis, Tenn., his
rise to an NFL star has been chronicled in both a book and
movie entitled "The Blind Side."
Johnny Nansen, a Samoan assistant coach at Idaho who
stumbled upon Iupati at a barbecue while on a recruiting
trip, sees the 49ers' "Big Mike" as no less remarkable.
"By accident I ran into him, and the rest is history,"
Nansen said by phone between recruiting stops at his
current job at the University of Washington. "Look at what
he's doing with his life. It's almost like a movie when
you think about where he came from."
Wazzu pulls No. 2 from American Samoa
6-foot-4, 285-pound defensive tackle
Daniel Etuale (Pago Pago, American Samoa/Samoana) has
committed to sign with Washington State, multiple sources
report. He was in Pullman, Wash. this weekend for an
According to 247Sports, Etuale was also recruited by
Hawaii, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington and officially
visited the Warriors on Dec. 14th.
He is the second prospect from American Samoa to pick the
Cougars during this recruiting cycle. Defensive end
Emmitt Su'a-Kalio (Pago Pago, American Samoa/Tafuna)
verballed in December.
Including their mid-year additions, the Cougars have 27
players for the Class of 2013.
Iupati Joins Staley in Pro Bowl
Posted by Alex Espinoza
It was just a matter of time before the word got out.
Mike Iupati is really good.
The third-year player was selected to his first Pro
Bowl on Wednesday, as he was recognized for his
season-long punishment of opposing defenses in the
“I’m very grateful and very blessed,” Iupati said.
“Credit to my teammates and everybody, especially the
front line – they sacrificed, too. Also a credit to our
coaching staff, (Mike) Solari, coach (Paul) Wulff and
coach (Tim) Drevno for preparing us every week, every day,
to go out there and execute our plays.”
Another key element to Iupati’s rise in the NFL ranks
has been tackle Joe Staley, who was named to his second
straight Pro Bowl. The two big fellows have solidified the
left side of the 49ers offensive line this season, helping
turn the unit into one of the team’s biggest strengths.
“It’s paid off pretty good,” Iupati said of playing
alongside Staley. “He’s just a great player and teammate
to play next to. He helped me out a lot my rookie year,
last year as well and especially this year, too. We work
The 49ers racked up a league-high nine Pro Bowlers this
season, but unfortunately Iupati’s teammate and good
friend Anthony Davis didn’t get the nod at right tackle.
Davis, who was named an alternate for the NFL’s annual
all-star game, has grown close to Iupati since both
players were selected in the first round of the 2010
“He should have made it, in my eyes,” Iupati said,
while later adding he has family in Hawaii and California
who could make the trip to Honolulu for the game. “All of
our starting five should have made it, but it’s tough.”
Iupati makes his first trip to the Pro Bowl as a
starter. He is part of an offensive line that helped the
team rush for 2,362 yards this season, ranking fourth in
the NFL. The 2,362 rushing yards rank seventh in franchise
history and are the most by San Francisco since 1998
(2,544). Iupati and the offensive line were awarded the
Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award in Weeks 5, 7 and
Seau voted conference's No. 1
© East County Sports
EL CAJON (11-15-12) — Eight Grossmont
College players have been named to the
prestigious National Division Southern Conference
At the top of
the list is Griffins freshman linebacker IAN
SEAU, who led the state with 19 sacks and thus was tabbed
the Southern Conference Defensive of Player of the Year.
Seau is a transfer from Kansas State via La Costa Canyon
Kelly: Te'o should get Heisman if Notre Dame wins
SOUTH BEND, Ind. >> Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly
says linebacker Manti Te'o "should win the Heisman Trophy
provided we continue to win."
The unbeaten (11-0)
Fighting Irish ascended to No. 1 in the major polls today,
a day after beating Wake Forest 38-0 and the Laie native
and team captain has been a big part of the effort.
At his weekly press
conference Sunday, Kelly said, "The only thing I talk to
him about (the Heisman) is that we have the hope that
we'll be in New York together in a couple of weeks."
The Heisman Trophy
announcement is scheduled for Dec. 8 in New York.
Kelly said, "I'll
push for him, I think he (Te'o) should win the Heisman,
but he's not really focused on that."
balloting begins this week as Fighting Irish finish the
regular season Saturday at Southern California.
Only one primarily
defensive player, Michigan defensive back Charles Woodson
in 1997, has won the Heisman in its 77 years
this team may be the worst BYU has faced, the Vandals'
defense performs well in areas that BYU sometimes
struggles — such as interceptions, fumbles and quarterback
Senior safety Homer Mauga is a star on this
defense who creates plays when they are needed. Mauga has
had 56 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble and
one quarterback sack this season.
The leading tackler for the Vandals is Gary Walker with
76 tackles. Walker has also caused one interception and
one forced fumble.
As with many teams BYU has faced this year, there is
always a player who excels at sacking the quarterback —
it's someone Riley Nelson should be aware of at all times.
That guy this week is Quinton Bradley, who has four
quarterback sacks and four quarterback hurries. He is also
credited with 22 tackles.
BYU running back Jamaal Williams expects the Vandals'
defense to play hard and still provide a challenge for the
“I am expecting them to come out hard and play with
everything they got,” Williams said. “They play every game
as physical as they can and they have a decent defense.
It’s going to be a good test for us.”
While this should still be an easy win for the Cougars,
it will be a good chance for them to improve and try to
execute one of their best games of football this season.
Nelson acknowledged this will be an easier game but
knows it will still be a fight and expects Idaho to be a
“I can tell they play hard,” Nelson said. “I know how
hard it is to fight for four quarters but they play tough.
They are not going to come in here and lay down.”
Grossmont linebacker Seau:
Just call him the 'Sackmaster'
By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (10-19-12) — There is a general sigh of relief
around the state community colleges this week as Grossmont
College draws a bye.
That means Griffins freshman linebacker,
6-foot-3, 240-pound IAN SEAU — the state’s sackmaster –
will be inactive this week.
For the fourth time in seven games, Seau earned
National Division Southern Conference defensive player of
the week after his trashing in the Griffins’ 26-23 win
over Golden West. In the win over the Rustlers, Seau
racked up 11 solo tackles, including 3 for losses, 3
sacks, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
He previously earned player of week honors for his
performance against College of the Desert with 8 tackles,
5 for loss, and 5 sacks. Seau’s domination continued
against San Diego Mesa when he rolled up 8 tackles, 5 for
loss and 4 sacks.
His rampage resumed against Orange Coast where he
rolled up 12 tackles, 4 for loss, and 4.5 sacks.
With three games remaining Seau has 56 tackles (40
solo), 22 for losses, 2 forced fumbles, one fumble
recovery to go along with his state leading 16.5 sacks
Soldiers For Christ Halftime
Halftime honoring and recognition of former Grossmont
College(JC) Head Coach for more than 30-yrs: Dave Jordan.
The Samoan "Soldiers for Christ" youth lead by Josh Leasau..
son of Pastor Joseph Leasau of the 1st Samoan Assembly of
God... Host/ Sponsor by: REV. Benson Mauga of the
Samoans love rocking the long hair
The linemen banged shoulder pads and helmets, pushing and
shoving, knocking each other to the ground from the first
whistle. Helix High’s William Milo, being 5 feet 9, 300
pounds and one of the best players in the county, was
responsible for most of the flattening.
Knowing looks of
respect were exchanged between Milo and his Valhalla
sparring partner, but not a single syllable of smack talk.
Finally, during a
break, the Valhalla player broke the silence.
“Love the hair,
man. Love the hair.” To which Milo replied, “Thank
locks of hair among Samoan football players are as much a
part of the Polynesian culture as tattoos, rugby and
lava-lava sarongs. Milo qualifies. His kinky-curly mane
sticks out of the back of his helmet like loose straw
Arizona football: Tutogi, younger
brother expect to make contact
brothers will almost certainly meet at some point
Saturday, a navy No. 31 jersey colliding with a white No.
50 jersey going full-speed.
Arizona's Taimi Tutogi will forget, for a second, about
the 20 years that connect him to his younger brother
Thomas, Washington's star linebacker.
"He's still wearing the 'W' on his chest, right? I've
got to treat him like anybody else," Taimi Tutogi said.
"At the end of the play, I'm going to help him up. … He's
my little brother. I love him to death."
Both have mattered, in a big way, to their teams
through the first half of the 2012 season.
Playing both fullback and defensive end, Taimi Tutogi
has been perhaps the Wildcats' most versatile player. In
six games, the senior from Chula Vista, Calif., has
registered one tackle and recovered a fumble, and caught
eight passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. His athletic
spin-and-grab of a Matt Scott pass in last week's loss to
Stanford was perhaps the most impressive play of the first
six weeks of the Wildcats' season.
Thomas Tutogi, a junior linebacker, is Washington's
most prolific tackler. Through six games, the Southwestern
College transfer has 38 tackles
LINEBACKER HOMER MAUGA was granted another year of
eligibility and came back to lead a Vandal defensive
effort that limited the Eastern Washington Eagle offense
to just 20 points despite a punchless Vandal offensive
effort. On the night Mauga picked off an Eagle pass
(2-yard return) and recorded three tackles.
Homer Mauga (three tackles and an interception on the
night) addressing the media following the Vandals'
frustrating 20-3 home loss to Eastern Washington, click
the link below:
Vandals finally win, Farquhar earns WAC
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Not only did Idaho pick up their
first win of the season, and first conference win, their
place kicker picked up praise from the WAC.
Trey Farquhar earns the Conference Special Teams Player of
the Week honors after kicking four field goals, and
accounting for 14 of Idaho's 26 points in the victory. The
senior split the uprights from 32, 39, 53, and 55 yards
out en route to Idaho picking up the elusive victory.
"It's a good feeling, you know, I mean we've been going on
a losing streak and it just feels terrible, you know? So,
after this when it's just, man, can't say too much. Too
excited," said senior linebacker Homer Mauga.
"It's been several months since we've been able to
celebrate after a a dadgum game, and we're currently in
first place in the WAC Conference race, or got a share of
it, so working on number two that's where we're at," added
head coach Robb Akey.
Victory number two could be just around the corner. The
Idaho Vandals hit the road for Texas State to take on the
Bobcats who are just opening their conference schedule.
Kickoff time is scheduled for 5 pm (MTN).
Manti Te'o's two interceptions key #11
Notre Dame's triumph over 18th ranked Michigan
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Manti Te’o had two interceptions
as No. 11 Notre Dame picked off five Michigan passes and
backup quarterback Tommy Rees sparked the Fighting
Irish offense in a 13-6
win over the 18th-ranked Wolverines Saturday night.
Denard Robinson, who amassed 948 yards of total
offense in victories over the Irish past two years,
wasn’t as effective this time as the Irish repeatedly
forced him into mistakes. He threw four interceptions
in the first half, then lost a fumble at the Notre
Dame 8-yard line on the first drive of the second
The victory by Notre Dame (4-0) ended a streak of
three straight games in which Michigan (2-2) beat the
Irish in the final 27 seconds.
Notre Dame didn’t give the Wolverines a chance to pull
it out this time, running out the clock after a
Brendan Gibbons field goal with 3:27 left in the game
made it 13-6.
Rees scored the game’s only touchdown on a quarterback
draw late in the first half and engineered a late
drive that ended in Kyle Brindza’s 39-yard field goal
to give Notre Dame a 13-3 cushion.
Mariota, Keli'ikipi, Buckner help lead
2nd ranked Oregon to win over Washington St.
SEATTLE (AP) - De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner
sandwiched touchdown runs around Avery Patterson's
34-yard interception return for a score, and No. 2
Oregon used a third-quarter scoring blitz to shake
Washington State for a 51-26
win on Saturday night.
Playing for the first time outside the Eugene city
limits, the Ducks (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) looked shaky at
times in the first half and
led just 23-19 at the break, but put together a
nearly flawless third quarter to run away from the
Thomas capped an 18-play drive to start the half with a
4-yard TD, then Patterson stepped in front of Connor
Halliday's pass for Oregon's third interception return
for a TD in two games. After Washington State (2-3, 0-2)
went three-and-out, Barner scored on a 10-yard run to
cap the 21-point spurt in just over 4 minutes.
graduate, Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Marcus
Mariota went 21-32, 168 yds, TD, INT with 54 yards
rushing and one score on the ground. Waianae alum,
Defensive Tackle Wade Keli'ikipi had two of Oregon's 7
sacks, while true freshman DT DeForest Buckner of
Punahou recorded his first career sack.
No. 3 LSU defeats winless Idaho 63-14
Idaho linebacker Homer Mauga (55) tries to
tackle LSU wide receiver Kadron Boone (86) as he scores a
touchdown on a pass play in the first half of their NCAA
college football game in Baton Rouge, Saturday, Sept. 15,
2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
Number has deep meaning
It’s a quiet gesture of respect, and one reserved for
more than just family.
For his senior year at Idaho, linebacker Homer Mauga
has changed his jersey number from 19 to 55 to honor his
cousin Junior Seau. A former star NFL linebacker,
Seau committed suicide on May 2.
Seau’s 55 was retired by the
San Diego Chargers after his death. At Idaho, Mauga
will wear the number while fellow linebacker Robert Siavii
said he’ll put a small 55 sticker inside his helmet during
“I was heartbroken too,” Siavii said. “I’m not even his
family member, but as soon as I found out, I got 55 on
(the back) of my helmet. I just dedicate this season to
him too because he was a big inspiration growing up.”
Seau’s death came almost a year after Mauga was at
Seau’s house in Oceanside, Calif., for a Memorial Day
celebration. Seau’s mother and Mauga’s mother are sisters,
and the holiday was spent with lots of family.
“Coming this year, it was close to Memorial Day too,”
“It was just a shocking moment. I called my dad that
morning and just heard him in tears. Ever since then my
parents have been with his parents and they’ve just been
to pray for them.” In the months since, Siavii
said Mauga has rarely talked about losing his cousin.
Still, Siavii can tell it’s taken a toll.
“It’s family. Once a family member is gone, you’re
heart is broken,” Siavii said. “That’s exactly what he
shows.” Eleven days after Seau died, Idaho receiver
Ken McRoyal was shot and killed, adding an additional
layer of shock and grief for Mauga.
The Vandals’ outside linebacker said he’s devoting the
season to his cousin and McRoyal, whom he referred to as
Marcus Mariota named Oregon Ducks
Marcus Mariota has been named the starting quarterback
for the Oregon Ducks.
The Oregonian broke the news via a team source this
morning, and the selection was officially confirmed by the
team's Twitter feed at 10:10 a.m.
Mariota beat out third-year sophomore Bryan Bennett during
a nearly eight-month competition that began in January
after Oregon's all-time touchdown passes leader, Darron
Thomas, decided to forgo his senior year to enter the NFL
Mariota will become the first freshman quarterback to
start the season for the Ducks in 21 years. UO hosts
Arkansas State Sept. 1.
No regrets for Te'o
SOUTH BEND, Ind. » The Kahuku Stretch is a bike path about
two miles long, flanked by an undulating ranch and
mountains to the left and beach to the right. It's always
hot and humid, even at 6 a.m., when Manti Te'o set off for
a run and greeted his just-waking father upon return,
shirt soaked through.
Those were mornings
in paradise on summer break in Hawaii, followed by
afternoon sprints up stairs or a hill. At meal time, yes,
he would down fried wontons at Laie Chop Suey. Just not
many. He would eat his father's delectable prime rib, but
only one serving, not two. He altogether swore off his
Te'o is maybe the
best defensive recruit in Notre Dame history. The senior
is perhaps the best linebacker in the country, and he
refused NFL millions last offseason for a chance to recast
his legacy. He knows that chance is his last, and he has
acted like it.
FALEOMAVAEGA CONGRATULATES MS. TUMUA ANAE ON HER
SELECTION ON THE U.S. OLYMPIC WOMEN’S WATER POLO TEAM
Faleomavaega today congratulated Ms. Tumua Anae on her
recent selection on the U.S. Women’s Water Polo team that
will be competing at the 2012 Olympic Games that will be
held in London, England from July 27 – August 12, 2012.
Tumua, born in Honolulu, Hawaii, is one of 13 players
selected on the U.S. women’s team and will be one of two
goalies that will be competing against 8 other
countries. Currently, the U.S. women’s team is top
ranked in the world and are the Pan American gold
medalists. However, the U.S. has yet to win gold at the
Olympic Games since women’s water polo was included as a
sport competition in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
graduated from Corona del Mar High School in Newport
After high school, Tumua joined her sister, Jordan, who
was already on the University of Southern California (USC)
Trojans women’s water polo team. Tumua played for the
Trojans for four years beginning as a true freshman and
in her senior year, she helped her team become the
Division I national champs at the 2010 NCAA Women’s
Water Polo Championship. She was three-time All-American
and graduated from USC with a degree in broadcast
Tumua is the daughter of Dr. Allen Anae whose family is
from Falelatai and Le’auva’a, and Annabel Porter Anae
from Auasi and Manu’a. She is the granddaughter of
Robert Francis Porter and Sopo Moeva Tuiolosega, and
Fa’amika Anae and Alice Anae.
“I want to congratulate Tumua on her selection on Team
USA women’s water polo team. I know she has been chosen
to represent her country because of her hard work and
determination in the pool. Water polo is one of the most
difficult sports requiring a combination of stamina,
strength, and an ability to swim for long periods of
time. Tumua’s success on the collegiate level and
experience in international competition has prepared her
for the Olympics,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“To the best of my knowledge, Tumua may be the only
Samoan selected on the U.S. Olympic team. She is one of
530 athletes U.S. athletes that will be competing in 25
different sport competitions in London this summer.
Remarkably, she is one of few athletes selected from
amongst a pool of thousands of the best in the country.
Tumua’s selection and participation in the Olympics
speaks volumes of her skills and abilities. It is such
an amazing achievement and proud moment not only for
herself but especially for her family and our Samoan
“According to the family, Tumua and her sister began
swimming with their father at a very young age. They
eventually started competing in swim clubs until high
school where they were convinced by their peers into
trying water polo. The girls were so active and fond of
the sport they decided to take it full time. The rest is
“I want to take this opportunity to recognize and
congratulate Tumua’s parents, Dr. Allen and Annabel, and
the family for supporting their daughter and for all her
success in water polo and in life. We will be cheering
for Tumua and her teammates to bring the U.S.’s first
gold in women’s water polo in Olympic history,”
Congressman Faleomavaega concluded.
FALEOMAVAEGA TO SPEAK AT FUNERAL SERVICE FOR JUNIOR
Faleomavaega today announced that by invitation of the
Se’au family, he will be speaking during the final
funeral service for Junior Se’au this Friday in
Oceanside, California. Funeral plans for Junior Se’au,
according to the family, include a private viewing and
family service this evening, May 10, and final service
on Friday, May 11, followed with burial at Eternal Hills
in Oceanside. Following the burial, the Chargers
organization and the City of San Diego will open
Qualcomm Stadium to pay a special tribute to Junior
Se’au who played for 20 seasons in the NFL, including 13
for the San Diego Chargers. The event will be open to
“Junior Se’au’s sudden death was a tragedy that shocked
everyone who knew and admired him. I was very saddened
upon hearing news of Junior’s passing,” Faleomavaega
said. “I want to thank Junior’s parents, Tiaina and
Luisa, and the Se’au family for inviting me to speak at
Junior’s final service on Friday. I am honored to have
been given the opportunity to pay tribute so such a
special young man and son of American Samoa.”
“As family, friends, teammates, and fans gather to pay
respects to Junior this week, and as the country mourns
the loss of this truly inspirational young leader and
Samoan man, I would like to extend to all, especially to
Junior’s parents and children, our heartfelt sympathy on
behalf of Samoans everywhere” Faleomavaega continued.
“For a Samoan boy with roots in a small place called
American Samoa to become an NFL superstar and national
icon is a remarkable feat that I felt it important for
me to also pay a special tribute to Junior in the House
Chamber – to acknowledge some of his outstanding
achievements and major contributions to society and
people of Samoa,” Faleomavaega said.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012, one week after Se’au’s death,
Congressman Faleomavaega delivered a speech on the House
Floor, paying a special tribute to Junior Se’au. Next,
on his right and displayed prominently on an easel on
the House Floor, was a poster-sized photo of Junior
Se’au with Faleomavaega and Paramount Chief, Afioga i le
Maoputasi Mauga of Pago Pago, American Samoa. The photo
was taken in 2006 during the annual celebration marking
the relationship between Pago Pago, American Samoa and
Oceanside, California as sister-cities that was attended
by both Afioga Mauga and Faleomavaega.
Following is the complete text of Faleomavaega’s speech
on the House Floor.
I rise today with deep sympathy
in order to offer my condolences to the family and
friends of a beloved, son, father, brother, uncle,
leader, a dear friend, an NFL Great and a son of
American Samoa, Junior Seau, whose life ended tragically
on the morning of May 2nd,
2012 in Oceanside, California.
It is a very sad time for not only the national
sports world but also for our Polynesian community. We
have lost a Samoan brother who was an icon in football
and a pioneer for many of our Polynesian sons who are in
the National Football League today. A beautiful life has
come to a tragic end, yet we remember Junior as a young
man full of life, a charismatic leader able to light up
any room, a devoted son and father and community leader.
We remember the strength of this unique individual, a
true Samoan warrior.
Junior Seau was born Tiaina Baul Seau Jr. on January
19, 1969 in San Diego, California to American Samoan
parents, Mr. Tiaina Seau, Sr. of the village of Aunu’u,
and Mrs. Luisa Mauga Seau of the village of Aoa. After
Junior was born, the family returned to American Samoa
where Junior would grow up for several years before
returning to the San Diego area.
Junior attended Oceanside High School where he
lettered in football, basketball, as well as track and
field for the Oceanside Pirates. In football, he was a
starter at linebacker and tight end and received
numerous awards for his achievements as a
student-athlete. In 1987, the year he graduated, Parade
Magazine selected Seau to its high school All-American
team. He was also named California Interscholastic
Federation (CIF) San Diego Section Defensive Player of
the Year, All-North County, Avocado League Offensive
Player of the Year, as well as being named to
California’s all-academic team with a 3.6 grade-point
After graduating high school, Seau played for the
University of Southern California Trojans from 1987 to
1990, and in 2009 would be inducted into the USC Hall of
In the 1990 NFL Draft, Junior was drafted in the
First Round and 5th
Overall Pick by the San Diego Chargers. Seau immediately
became the heart and soul of the Chargers defense,
earning the nickname "Tasmanian Devil" for his passion
and explosive athletic skill on the field. In the locker
room and on the field, Seau had an innate ability to
motivate his teammates. He was named the NFL’s Defensive
Player of the Year in 1998 and 1999 and was voted the
Chargers’ Most Inspirational Player in 1997 and 2002.
Junior played in 12 consecutive Pro Bowls from 1991
to 2002, the most of any player in Chargers history and
tied for the third-longest streak ever in the NFL. He
was also selected All-Pro six times in his career and he
led the Chargers to their first ever Super Bowl
appearance in 1995.
After 13 years in San Diego, he played three years
for the Miami Dolphins where he received the Miami
Dolphins’ Don Shula Leadership Award for two consecutive
only one day of retirement in 2006, he answered the call
by the New England Patriots and became Defensive
Co-Captain during the Patriots’ 18-0 season that took
the team to the Super Bowl in 2008. Junior finally
retired in 2010, having played 20 seasons in the NFL and
finishing with a career 1,849 tackles, 56.5 sacks, 18
interceptions, three forced fumbles, and 21 pass
Junior Seau is widely acknowledged as one of the best
linebackers in NFL history, but his passion and success
in football was paralleled in his community involvement
and in his work off the field.
In 1992, Junior established the Junior Seau
Foundation, giving San Diego-area youth ongoing support
for programs that inspire them to face life’s challenges
with enthusiasm, hope, and dignity. Since its inception,
the Foundation has distributed nearly $4 million to
organizations providing services to children and young
adults, including over $800,000 in scholarships through
the Scholars of Excellence program and over $330,000 in
Junior’s “Shop with A Jock” program, which provides for
underprivileged youth to shop alongside a professional
or college athlete for Christmas gifts for their
families. In April 2007, the Wall Street Journal ranked
the Junior Seau Foundation as the 13th
largest Professional Athlete Foundation based on assets.
As much as he was an outstanding football player,
Junior will also be remembered as a humanitarian, as a
supporter for those who needed help the most, as a dear
friend, and as a motivational figure. He was a charismatic
leader who could not walk into a room without having an
effect on those around him. He was loved by everyone who
knew him, and his magnetism both on and off the field
impacted people nationwide and any individual he
When one speaks of Samoans in
the NFL, Mr. Speaker, Junior Seau is one of the first
names that come to mind. Junior was
an ambassador for Asian and Pacific American, and
through his success he was able to broaden the public’s
understanding and appreciation of our Polynesian people.
Reaching the NFL is a dream of many young
men, but Junior Seau gave young Samoan men an image of
success in the league – something that they could aspire
In closing today, I would like to offer words of
comfort to the Seau family, especially Mr. Tiaina Seau
Sr. and Mrs. Luisa Seau, Junior’s parents, as well as
Junior’s children, his siblings, and his extended
family, or as we say in Samoan, his aiga.
In the Book of Romans, Chapter 12, Verse 15 we are
called to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with
those who weep.” In all of Junior’s amazing
accomplishments throughout his life, we have rejoiced
with the Seau family, sharing your joy. And now in this
time of great sorrow, we stand with you, though with
heavy hearts, sharing in your grief.
Ia manuia lau faigamalaga Junior.
April 11th, 2012 - by
Applying for college financial aid is one of the few
things in life that may be even more confusing and
complicated than taxes. It involves getting together
loads of financial information, learning an alphabet
soup of acronyms, and understanding how the financial
aid system works.
Athletes that are ready to compete at the college
level may be too busy with homework, practice, camps,
and workouts to sit down for hours and study every
last detail of the financial aid process. But to give
yourself the best chance of using athletics to pay for
your education and get ahead in life, it is crucial
that you have at least a basic understanding of how
financial aid works.
That’s why we’ve assembled this handy guide of 7
essential things about the financial aid process and
how to get the best possible package to help pay for
1. Good Academics Create Financial Aid
A tiny, select group of athletes gets a full ride to
college through an athletic scholarship alone (more on
this later). But don’t count on it – even if you’re
great, it’s unlikely. The better your GPA and
standardized test scores, the more financial aid
opportunities will be available to you in college.
Some may be from the university, some may be from the
state, your high school, or even nonprofit
organizations. But no matter where you’re looking for
scholarships, you’ll have the best chance if your
academics are solid. Any scholarship you can’t apply
for because you’re not academically qualified is money
you threw out the window – don’t do it!
2. Know your EFC
EFC is one of those alphabet soup acronyms we were
just talking about. It stands for “expected family
contribution,” meaning the amount of money the
Department of Education expects your family to pay
towards your education. It is determined using a
complex formula involving your family’s income and
many of their tax details. You can read more about it
. Make sure to identify any tax
exemptions and other financial details that your
family qualified for, so you can get the most accurate
EFC. If your family has an accountant or financial
advisor, you may want to discuss this with them.
3. Complete Your FAFSA on Time
The FAFSA is another mess of letters – it stands for
“Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” Your
school will not be able to issue you any financial aid
if you do not turn one in. This is another form that
you’ll need tax information to fill out – make sure to
have your parents’ taxes on hand before you sit down
to do your FAFSA. You may also qualify for additional
aid based on your FAFSA.
to read more about it.
4. Ask the Coaches About Aid in Advance
Once you know that a coach is interested in you, don’t
be afraid to ask him or her directly about aid.
Financial aid is one of the biggest tools that coaches
have to bring student-athletes into their programs,
and a coach can be a big help in both navigating the
college financial aid jungle and in finding more
sources of aid you may not have even known were there.
The further in advance you ask, the better – money and
scholarships can (and do) run out, so there’s an
advantage to thinking ahead.
5. Know Whether Your Sport is Head Count or
When it comes to financial aid, there are two types of
college sports: “head count” sports, and “equivalency”
or “olympic” sports. Head count sports tend to be the
ones that generate revenue and you’re more likely to
see on TV: in Division I, the head count sports are
basketball and football for men, and basketball,
tennis, volleyball and gymnastics for women. All other
sports are equivalency in Division I – other divisions
may have different rules for what is a head count
sport and which is an equivalency sport (click
to read more about the differences).
The big difference for athletes: head count athletes
get full scholarships. Athletes in equivalency sports
may only get partial scholarships. It’s important to
create additional financial aid opportunities for
yourself, no matter what sport you play (what counts
as a “full” scholarship can vary from school to
school) – so you should know what kind of scholarships
your sport offers as you go forward in the process.
You can also talk to the coach about what options they
have when it comes to distributing scholarships, how
their scholarships are distributed, how many athletes
are graduating, whether they can offer you more aid in
the future, and so on.
6. Examine and Appeal Your SAR
Congratulations – you’ve gotten to the last of the big
college financial aid acronyms! SAR stands for
“student aid report.” It’s the document that your
school’s financial aid office will create once they’ve
processed your FAFSA and the financial aid you qualify
for. It is a summary of all the financial aid the
school offers you. Often – especially for athletes –
you can find some additional aid if you “appeal” your
SAR, especially if your coach is helping you with the
process. This can be worth thousands of additional
7. Athletes aren’t limited to “athletic”
Finally, even if you are getting an athletic
scholarship, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your
eyes open for other kinds! This is especially
important if you are only receiving a partial
scholarship, or if you are playing at a division level
that does not offer formal athletic scholarships.
Athletes can receive need-based, merit-based
(academic), or third-party scholarships (from
veterans’ organizations, community service groups,
unions… the list goes on and on). Qualifying for these
scholarships is part of why academic success is so
important. You can ask your high school counselor’s
office, or use a website like
to find lots of scholarships you may
be eligible for.
Learning these facts and securing your financial aid
accordingly can help save you and your family a lot of
money. The financial assistance for your education is
one of the most important advantages that sports can
bring you in college – make the most of it!
FALEOMAVAEGA THANKS FO GUANG SHAN FOR OFFERING 2
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS FROM AMERICAN SAMOA TO ATTEND
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that while on
assignment in Taiwan on February 20, 2012 he met with
leadership, including Grand Master Hsing Yun, at the
Buddha Memorial Center in Kaohsiung City to thank the Fo
Guang Shan organization for offering 2 scholarships for
students from American Samoa to attend the University of
the West (UWest) located in Rosemead, California, just
ten minutes from Los Angeles.
“Fo Guang Shan is one of Taiwan’s largest Buddhist
organizations, with over 100 branch temples around the
world, including Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights,
California,” Faleomavaega said. “In 1991, Grand Master
Hsing Yun – the founding master of Fo Guang Shan –
established three post-secondary educational
institutions, including the University of the West.”
“UWest started in just one classroom at Hsi Lai Temple.
In 1996, a campus was purchased in Rosemead and, today,
UWest offers programs in Business Administration,
Psychology, English, ESL, and Religious Studies.
Offering a whole-person education, UWest is a private,
nonprofit university accredited by the Western
Association of Schools and Colleges and is open to
students of all faiths. One of UWest’s primary missions
is to facilitate cultural understanding between the East
and the West, which I believe is timely and unique.”
“This is why I want to thank Venerable Miaohong, Special
Assistant to the President of the University of the
West, for visiting my office prior to my departure for
Taiwan to discuss the University’s offer to provide 2
scholarships to students from American Samoa for the
2012 school year,” Faleomavaega said. “The 1-year
scholarships, worth about $10,000 each, cover tuition,
books, and housing at the University. Each year,
students may re-apply for additional scholarships or for
“So, on behalf of our students who will compete for
these 2 scholarships, I express my appreciation to UWest
for including American Samoa as part of its global
outreach. Like Dr. C.S. Wu, President of UWest stated,
‘A student isn’t whole until she knows where she comes
from, who she is today and what possibilities lay before
her in the future.’ I couldn’t agree more. In fact, this
line of thought is similar to Samoan culture and
traditions in which we pass down from generation to
generation the wisdom of the past for purposes of
navigating a future that pays homage to who we are and
where we’re from.”
“No doubt we are carving out a new future together with
the University of the West, and because of the
generosity of the University, I thought it was important
while I am in Taiwan to pay my respects to Venerable
Grand Master Hsing Yun for making these scholarships
possible. I thank Venerable Grand Master Hsing Yun for
the kindness and goodwill extended during my visit. I
was deeply touched that he invited me to meet with him,
and I was honored by the experience. He is a man of
goodness and my visit with him left an impression on my
heart that I will never forget."
"He even said if our students are interested in pursuing
an education at one of Fo Guang Shan's other campuses in
Taiwan he would also work with us to make this possible.
Words cannot express how I feel about the Venerable
Grand Master's kind offer to students from American
Samoa, but I thank him for being our friend and I extend
to him my highest regards on behalf of the people of
“I also want to thank Joseph Merante, Executive Director
of the Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) for introducing me
to UWest. HDI works to solve difficult humanitarian
problems around the world and foster dialogue between
the U.S. Congress and the United Nations, and it is my
sincere hope that our two scholarship recipients from
American Samoa will also engage in work around the world
that will make a difference in the lives of others,”
championed education as well as Grossmont football
Former coach to be honored Saturday
EL CAJON — To hear him tell
it, longtime Grossmont College football coach Dave Jordan
is all about his players. He has a track record to prove
it and is about to be honored for it.
Jordan is being
inducted into the California Community College Football
Coaches Hall of Fame on Saturday in Visalia. It’s a who’s
who of coaches and players that includes Don Coryell, Dick
Vermeil, John Madden, Pete Carroll, Jackie Robinson, Aaron
Rodgers, Herman Edwards and Tom Dempsey among many others.
“This honor is
very special to me,” Jordan said. “JC football helped
change my life. I was not a good high school student and I
missed my senior year (at Compton High) because of
Still a Team
former Utah players make history with the NFL’s Miami
It’s uncommon to have two starters on an NFL team who
come from the same college or university. The rarity
increases when an NFL team has three from the same school
who all play on one side of the ball.
Yet three former Utah players—Paul Soliai ex’06, Sean
Smith ex’08, and Koa Misi ex’09—all start on defense for
the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
The only other time that anyone can recall this
situation happening in the modern era was more than a
decade ago, with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, when former
University of Miami Hurricanes cornerback Duane Starks,
safety Ed Reed, and linebacker Ray Lewis were Ravens
starters during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“It doesn’t happen very often,” says former longtime
Dallas Cowboys Vice President of Player Personnel Gil
Brandt, who has been a superior evaluator of NFL talent
for more than 50 years and now is the primary personnel
expert for NFL.com.
“It’s obviously something the University of Utah should
be very proud of,” Brandt says. “They have such a good
Brandt notes that Starks, Lewis, and Reed were all
first-round draft picks. The three former Utes, however,
didn’t have such auspicious beginnings. “The thing that
makes it interesting is that these three guys weren’t
first-round choices and are starting. That’s the rarity.”
Soliai was a fourth-round pick in 2007, Smith was
drafted in the second round in 2009, and Misi was selected
in the second round in 2010. And back when they were
eyeing their college possibilities, Utah was pretty much
the only option for all three, so the fact that they were
even drafted at all is something of a miracle in itself.
AMERICAN SAMOA DEFEATS
AUSTRALIA IN OCEANIA BOWL 2012
Torrential rain impacted the game
American Samoa showed their dominance at Under 19 level
with a comprehensive 93-7 victory over Australia to win
the 2012 Oceania Bowl and qualify for the 2012 IFAF U19
Running back Faafouina Sitagata carried the ball 12
times for 107 yards and 3 touchdowns in the rout, while
Nathaniel Tuamohelo had 99 yards and a touchdown on the
ground. Wide receiver Elliot Peters had three catches, all
in the end zone and Shalom Luani scored on a punt return,
interception return, two-point run and an extra point
The lopsided score evoked memories of 2001 when the
Australian national soccer team defeated American Samoa by
a world record score of 31-0 in FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Australia's Gold Coast was pounded by torrential rain
that also dominated the clash down under at the Runaway
Bay Sports Center.
The Samoans held a slim eight-point lead at the end of
the first quarter after a 17-yard touchdown pass from
quarterback Gabriel Collins passes to Peters and a C.J.
Afalava run for two points.
The ground game proved to be the visitors' path to
complete dominance as they overpowered their hosts with 30
unanswered second quarter points to take a 38-0 lead into
the halftime break.
Sitagata breached the end zone from 13 yards out and
Luani's carry added two points as kicking extra points was
abandoned due to the torrid weather conditions.
The Collins to Peters connection, this time over seven
yards and an Abraham Fata two-point rush opened the lead
to 24 points before Fata raced to pay dirt for six from
six yards out. Sitagata's second carry for a score from 11
yards out and an Aloese Sua two-point run completed the
first half scoring.
American Samoa again scored four touchdowns in a
quarter as they regained control after the break.
Tuamohelo opened the half with a spectacular 44-yard race
to the end zone and Shalom Luani tagged on the extra
point, before Peters made his third scoring grab from 15
yards out from Lolani Faaloua, but the kick failed.
Zach Langkilde recovered a Fata fumble in the end zone
for another touchdown and Sitagata's run added on two more
points. Faaloua scored a quarterback keeper from 13 yards
out and Tuamohelo added the two-point conversion so
American Samoa led 67-0 heading into the fourth quarter.
The American Samoa got in on the act as Luani returned
Joshua Bell's punt 90 yards to score before Sitagata burst
37 yards to score.
Australia got on the board when quarterback Kieren
Lansdell hit Darcy Dignam from eight yards out and Joshua
Bell connected with the extra point.
But the Samoans had the final say as Fata scored his
second touchdown of the contest from seven yards out and a
Faaloua pass to Ryan Petala raised the score to 87-7.
Australia pressed to have the final say, but Lansdell
was intercepted by Luani who raced 70 yards for a
Top 100 WAC football players for 2011: Nos. 20-11
Arizona football: American Samoan spent
freshman year picking up systems
Aiulua Fanene has a system.
Whenever the Arizona
Wildcats defensive tackle wants to call home, he first
phones his brother, Jonathan, in Ohio.
Jonathan Fanene, a defensive end with the NFL's
Cincinnati Bengals, punches a few buttons and then
connects his younger brother to Nu'uuli, American Samoa,
so he can connect with their parents.
It's a complex, time-consuming process with one obvious
reward. "I don't waste my money," he said.
Fanene is taking advantage of every opportunity this
spring, whether it's playing time on the Wildcats' rebuilt
defensive line or - thanks to his brother - an inexpensive
way to call home.
Iosefa is no Average Joey
Getting up to speed with his duties
in the backfield has accelerated Joey Iosefa’s rise up the
As much as any group, spring
represents a season of opportunity for Hawaii’s running
backs. Iosefa, a redshirt freshman who began learning the
position last spring, is positioning himself for playing
time in the fall with eye-catching performances in the
“Joey Iosefa’s been a great surprise,” UH running backs
coach Brian Smith said. “He looks a lot quicker, he’s
understanding the offense a lot better, getting a lot more
comfortable, so he’s had a really good spring so far.”
LJCD and Togiaso’s coach
became his family
In the attempt to give their Division I football
program extra appeal to Fiaalii “Junior” Togiaso, a senior
La Jolla Country Day School, recruiters looked at the
obvious and began rattling off numbers. Specifically, they
noted how many Samoans they already had on their college
teams, including a plethora of Polynesians at the
University of Utah.
Tough & tender Lady Griz leader has two
“She’s an angel off the
court,” explains Katie Baker, carefully weaving through a
description of her roommate/teammate. “She’s someone to be
reckoned with on the court.”
An intense competitor with an overt dislike for losing,
Ena has been a force for the Montana women’s basketball
team for four straight years. She’s on pace to finish with
1,100+ points and 600+ rebounds, which would make her one
of only 14 in Lady Griz history to accomplish the feat.
Read more: http://www.montanagrizzlies.com/news
Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... Troy
cousins a fan favorite in Bolivar
BOLIVAR, Mo. -- SBU football coach Keith Allen
got a tip about a Samoan linebacker at a San Jose
community college. That tip turned into a monster tight
end named Jameson Manuma. When Manamu reached the Bolivar,
Missouri campus he suggested his 6-5, 320 pound cousin Ino
Vitale. By Christmas a third cousin, Ben Tautolo showed
Now the big haired Samoan trio is not only making a huge
impact on the field, they are a fan favorite off with
their popular war dance called the "Haka" dance.
Nebraska - Idaho
Nebraska's Roy Helu Jr. (10) tries to run past Idaho's
Homer Mauga (19), in the first half of their NCAA college
football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010.
(AP Photo/Dave Weaver)
senior plays anything, including ukulele
Helix standout Sam Meredith carries
a 3.6 grade-point average entering his senior year.
When Sam Meredith isn’t making tackles and laying down
blocks on Friday nights, he often can be found strumming a
ukulele in his spare time.
It’s quite a sight watching the 6-foot-4, 265-pound
Helix High senior pluck a 21-inch ukulele in the family
band while his father Sam Sr. plays lead guitar and
sisters Christine (22), Sarah (15), Erika (10) and Lauren
(7) sing on Sundays at The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints in La Jolla.
Vandals linebackers connect on field and
Come Thursday night, Idaho football fans
will have a better sense of how the Vandals’ starting
linebacker crew has coalesced. Already, though, this much
is certain: They fit together splendidly at their
JoJo Dickson and Robert Siavii are from Hawaii, Homer
Mauga’s family used to live in Honolulu, and all three
have carried the laid-back islands’ vibe to their house.
Football, movies, food – there’s little disagreement
among them on these and other topics.
Months after 60
Minutes ‘Football Island’, donations continue to pour in
Months after the airing of 60
Minutes Football Island highlighting the local football
program, donations from those touched by the stories of
American Samoa’s athletes continue to pour in with the
latest donation received from Phyllis Lindsey and Edward
Maiava in Olympia, Washington. This most recent donation
from Washington — a container of helmets, football cleats,
pads, jerseys and pants — has been received by the Samoa
Bowl Committee. The container was shipped to American
Samoa through the help of Janis Holland at Clipper Oil
Company, who managed to pay the shipping of the container
to Pago Pago. The Samoa Bowl Committee, which also
contributed to shipping costs.
Over $450,000 in
medical supplies and $50,000 in athletic equipment donated
for 3rd Annual AS Goodwill Mission
More than $450,000 in medical
supplies and services plus $50,000 in athletic equipment
will be donated during the Third Annual American Samoa
Goodwill Mission, according to a statement issued
yesterday by the Hawaii-based June Jones Foundation. June
Jones and his delegation of football, golf stars and
medical staff are scheduled to arrive in American Samoa
tonight to begin a whirlwind four days of giving...
Samoan influence in the NFL
For years, the NFL has had a strong yet silent Samoan
force in its ranks, and after 65 years it's finally
getting some decent exposure.
Al Lolotai was the first Samoan drafted into the NFL by
the Redskins in 1945, and they have made a positive
influence ever since.
The general conception about Samoan players were they
were huge in stature and usually ended up on the defensive
or offensive line, and pretty much out of the spotlight.
Jesse Sapolu won four Super Bowls, and pretty much met
the fate of being unfamous for that very reason.
However, there are now Samoan players shattering that
image lining up as safeties, linebackers, and even tight
ends. Heres a look at the current most popular Samoans in
An academic standout and athlete at Madison High School in
San Diego, Sharon would seem to lead one of those gilded
lives where success and opportunity come effortlessly.
She carries a 4.29 cumulative grade-point average and
plays varsity volleyball, soccer and basketball. She also
plays in the campus orchestra and teaches freshmen how to
develop good study habits. But Sharon’s journey to
graduation — and to UC Berkeley in the fall — has been
Sharon, 18, lost her father to cancer, leaving her
family grieving and scrambling financially. A broken leg
forced her to spend much of junior year in a wheelchair
and on crutches, temporarily crushing her athletic
“She could be discouraged, but she has taken her
misfortune as an incentive to prepare herself to be
successful in the world,” said Carol Sobek, Madison’s head
Sharon applied for several scholarships, knowing that
her mother would be unable to pay for her education. She
was recently named a Gates Millennium Scholar, an award
that will cover the cost of undergraduate education and
includes the possibility of funding for graduate school.
“I dedicated my life to getting an education and
scholarships to pay for it — to give my mother an outlet
to be proud,” Sharon said.
— Maureen Magee
Tago has the talent to be terrific
Peter Tago gingerly flipped the baseball from the pocket
of his glove to the palm of his right hand. Much was at
stake at the moment, but Tago carried himself like an old
pro, not a nervous high school pitcher. He had runners on
first and second with two out and the score tied in the
seventh inning of his last regular-season home game.
Pitching in front of about 20 scouts with their radar guns
trained on him and in a must-win game for his team to
advance to the playoffs, Tago was as smooth as his
delivery. He stood in the sunshine and flashed a playful
grin. He wanted to give his team, Dana Point (Calif.)
Hills, the best chance to win. And he wanted to give the
scouts what they were looking for one more time.
SHS receives new
Riddell helmets from Canadian businessman
Samoana High School has
received a shipment of 60 brand new Riddell ‘Revolution’
football helmets courtesy of a businessman in Toronto,
Canada, who was prompted to donate to the local high
school after watching CBS’ 60 Minutes ‘Football Island’ in
January this year.
After the 60 Minutes segment aired, Samoa News received a
number of inquiries from parties wishing to donate to
local football program but the request from Toronto
businessman Mario Elia— was the first e-mail received by
Samoa News, prompted by the 60 Minutes piece.
49's take Iupati 17th
The names of 32
players from 24 different schools were announced in prime
time on national television Thursday.
first time in NFL Draft history, two were from football
programs in Idaho.
Idaho offensive guard Mike Iupati was selected 17th
overall by the San Francisco 49ers.
Read article from Idaho Press-Tribune
Watch video clip
God's 26 Guards
Have you ever felt the urge to pray for someone and
Then just put it on a list and said, 'I'll pray for them
Or has anyone ever called you and said,
'I need you to pray for me, I have this need?'
Read the following story that was sent to me and
May it change the way that you may think about prayer
and also the way you pray. You will be blessed by this....
A missionary on furlough told this true story while
Visiting his home church in Michigan...
'While serving at a small field hospital in Africa,
Every two weeks I traveled by bicycle
Through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies.
This was a journey of two days and
Required camping overnight at the halfway point.
On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city
Where I planned to collect money from a bank,
Purchase medicine, and supplies, and then begin
My two-day journey back to the field hospital.
Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting,
One of whom had been seriously injured.
I treated him for his injuries and at the same time
Talked to him about the Lord.
I then traveled two days, camping overnight, and
Arrived home without incident...
Two weeks later I repeated my journey...
Upon arriving in the city,
I was approached by the young man I had treated.
He told me that he had known I carried
Money and medicines.
He said, 'Some friends and I followed you in to the
Knowing you would camp overnight.
We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs.
But just as we were about to move into your camp,
We saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards.
At this, I laughed and said that I was
Certainly all alone in that jungle campsite.
The young man pressed the point, however, and said,
'No, sir, I was not the only person to see the guards,
My friends also saw them, and we all counted them.
It was because of those guards that
We were afraid and left you alone.'
At this point in the sermon,
One of the men in the congregation jumped to his feet and
interrupted the missionary and asked if he could tell him
exact day this happened. The missionary told the
the date, and The man who interrupted told him this story:
'On the night of your incident in Africa,
It was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf.
I was about to putt when I felt the urge to pray for you.
In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong,
I called men in this church to meet with me here
In the sanctuary to pray for you.
Would all of those men who met with me on that day stand
The men who had met together to pray that day stood up.
The missionary wasn't concerned with whom they were,
He was too busy counting how many men he saw.
There were 26.
This story is an incredible example of how the Spirit of
moves on behalf of those who love Him.
If you ever feel such prodding to pray, go along with it,
you don't know what it can mean to that person...
Nothing is ever hurt by prayer except the gates of hell.
I encourage you to share this with as many people as you
If we all take it to heart,
We can turn this world toward God once again.
As the above true story clearly illustrates,
'With God all things are possible.'
More importantly, how God hears and
Answers the prayers of the faithful.
After you read this, please pray for someone in needs
Give God thanks for the beautiful gift of your faith,
For the powerful gift of prayer, and for the many miracles
He works in your own daily life... And then pass it on
Who says God does not move on the earth today?
I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today.
To guide you and protect you as you go along your way.
His love is always with you, His promises are true,
and when we give Him our cares you know
He will see us through.
So when the road you're traveling on seems difficult at
remember I'm here praying, and
God will do the rest.
Pass this on to those whom you want God to bless
I Can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Paea hopes to improve draft status with
final year at OSU
Stephen Paea won't get any
Youtube bucks from "South Park" as an Internet sensation,
but he may cash in next April after the NFL draft.
The defensive tackle for the Oregon State football team
looked into turning pro this year, but decided to come
back for his senior season.
Paea considered the financial ramifications, but it
came down to being the first in his family to earn a
degree and the joy he has playing for the Beavers.
"I felt good about him coming back because Stephen went
into it wanting to come back," coach Mike Riley said. "His
family wanted to go through the process."
Read Article from Gazettetimes.com
Sharks in the water
After Samoana High School christened its new fautasi
yesterday in Utulei, a crew of students, teachers,
trainers, Gov. Togiola Tulafono and Parent-Teacher-
Association President Va'amua Henry Sesepasara, took the
boat out for its maiden row as the Samoana Sharks
Read Article from Samoan News
and Maualuga donate 1,000+ pairs of cleats to local
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle
Jonathan Fanene donate more than a thousand pairs of
football cleats to the local high schools, who are
competing in the ASHSAA football league, including the
all-new Kanana Fou Stallions football team.
Read Article from Samoan News
Domata Peko Foundation donates to
The Domata Peko Foundation has donated football equipment
to the American Youth Football of Samoa (AYFS),
league organizers receiving the equipment last Friday
during a small presentation at the Peko residence in
The donation was presented by Pastor Alataua Peko on
behalf of his son, Cincinnati Bengals lineman Domata Peko,
who was recently in the territory but left the island
Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010 for Cincinnati.
According to Pastor Peko, 40 pads, and 40 helmets have
been given to the AYFS. AYFS President Shiloh Pritchard,
and AYFS board member Jr. Poasa received the donation.
“On behalf of my son Domata, we would like to donate this
football equipment to the young generation of American
Samoa, to establish a talent that we are known for world
wide...60 Minutes put us out as the football island,
and...hopefully [we can] bring up more future American
Samoan NFL players,” said the Pastor.
Read Article from Samoan News
Samoans flocking to the NFL? On "60 Minutes"|
NEW YORK -- 60 MINUTES goes to American Samoa to find out
how a territory with a population less than the capacity
of a pro-football stadium sends more players to the NFL
than any similarly populated place in America. In fact,
boys born to Samoan parents are estimated to be 56 times
more likely to play in the NFL than other Americans,
reports Scott Pelley in his story that broadcast last
month on the CBS Television Network.
The Samoan people tend to be on the larger side and the
islands’ six high schools have sent 10 linemen to the NFL
in the last five years. One of those 10 NFL linemen who
played Samoana 'Shark' high school ball is the Cincinnati
Bengals’ Domata Peko, who says Samoans’ speed plays a role
as well. “The combination of size and ability and speed,
that’s kind of hard to find. Big dudes who can have nimble
feet and are able to run and go sideline to sideline,”
says Peko. Peko’s teammate, another Samoan named Jonathan
Fanene, is a defensive end who proves Peko’s point with
his six sacks and a touchdown this season. Says Fanene,
“With the talent that we have, we have to take pride of
it, especially when you have the opportunity to come to
Fanene’s little, well, not so little, brother, 17-yr.-old
Aiulua, is poised to follow in Jonathan’s footsteps. At
6-5 and 280lbs., he’s considering offers from Arizona
University and Oregon State. Like many other Samoans, he
does a day’s worth of chores before school starts. His
father, David, thinks the discipline has a lot to do with
his kids’ football success. “That’s how he’s been brought
up. Discipline. Obedience should be involved in this house
and I am expecting our children to obey us,” Fanene tells
Jonathan Fanene built his family a palatial home in Samoa
with the seven-figure salary his NFL career affords him.
Perhaps the most famous Samoan in the NFL, Pittsburgh’s
Troy Polamalu – born in the U.S. to Samoan parents – says
the island is lucky to have the option of football. Beyond
a career in the NFL, Samoans have little opportunity
beyond the military or work in a tuna canning industry
based there that is threatening to pull out soon. “The
beautiful thing about football is it’s allowed us to get
into education,” says Polamalu. “Football is something
that comes naturally to us,” he tells Pelley.
There are currently more than 30 Samoans in the NFL and
another 200-plus playing Division 1 college football.
There are just 65,000 people living on the islands. “What
if there were 120 million Samoans,” wonders Polamalu. “How
many Samoans would there then be in the NFL?”
Another Samoan a
high prospect in 2010 NFL Draft
American Samoa’s number one NFL 2010 Draft pick Mike
Iupati, there is another son of Samoa who is also on the
rise for the 2010 NFL Draft. Nawa’akoa Lisiate Foti
Analeseanoa Misi of Santa Rosa California, is currently
attending the University of Utah, and is a star at the
Outside Linebacker position, and defensive end for the
Utes football team.
Read Article from Samoan News
Tri-State area donate $40,500
to tsunami recovery efforts
Read Article from Samoan News Donation
Read Article from Samoan News Welcome
Will SD Tackle its O-Line Needs?
The San Diego Chargers need to address the offensive
and defensive lines in this year’s draft. One of the
most intriguing prospects to come out of the Senior Bowl
last week was Idaho G/T Mike Iupati. With Jeromey Clary
on the bubble, this versatile and impressive
small-school guy is big on our list.
Sack Master Mauga Commits to Vandals
Date: Feb 2, 2010
NAMED TO A JC ALL-STAR SELECTION AND TEAM DEFENSIVE
MVP, Grossmont College outside linebacker HOMER MAUGA
(6-0, 220) terrorized opposing offenses for 15 sacks, 7
QB hurries, two picks, and total 72 tackles in 2009. "He
didn't get Player of the Year in the league but he
probably should have," said head coach Mike Jordan.
"He's very, very good off the edge, just a good player,
a great young man."
Wiley, Magua sign with Idaho
© East County Sports.com
MOSCOW, Idaho (2-4-10) — The Grossmont College duo of
linebacker HOMER MAUGA and offensive lineman CHARLES
WILEY hope to make an immediate impact at the
University of Idaho next fall.
Both have accepted scholarships to play football for
the Vandals, who are attempting to make an immediate
turn-around after suffering through eight losing
seasons in the last nine years.
Football games are won and lost in the trenches, and
having a deep pool of steak-eaters to work with is
key. Grossmont College head coach MIKE JORDAN
confirmed that 6-foot-6, 310-pound standout offensive
tackle CHARLES WILEY made his intentions official by
committing to the Idaho this weekend. A two-year
starter with three years to play two at Idaho, Wiley
joins a Vandal offensive line looking to replace four
Sack-happy Mauga was honored as a JC All-Southern
California pick and team defensive MVP. The 6-foot,
220-pound linebacker terrorized opposing offenses for
15 sacks, 7 QB hurries, two picks and 72 total tackles
“He didn’t get Player of the Year in the league but he
probably should have,” said Jordan. “He’s very good
off the edge, just a good player all-around.”
Mauga is the fourth member of his family to play
football at a Division I school. MAGNUM MAUGA is a
starting defensive tackle at Utah State. DALLAS MAUGA
and RAINBOW MAUGA concluded their football careers at
Check out A
John R. McCutchen / JOHN McCUTCHEN / Union-Tribune
Morse High junior Abigail Leaupepe-Tele
lost about 15 pounds by eating more healthful foods.
She says she feels batter on the court.
Less is more as Morse High junior Abigail Leaupepe-Tele
Although many basketball players try to add weight,
making it more difficult to push them around, Leaupepe-Tele
discovered the benefits of shedding pounds.
“Basketball is my passion,” said the 6-foot Leaupepe-Tele,
who missed time at the end of the regular season with a
sprained ankle. “But last season I would hyperventilate
during the game, and I'd get tired real fast.”
Leaupepe-Tele said she went to the doctor with
stomach cramps and chest pains and was told that if she
didn't lose weight her playing days could be numbered.
She needed to lose the fast food, too. It was time for a
Those are fighting words for many teenagers, but
Leaupepe-Tele took them to heart. She gave up soda,
drinking mostly water and an occasional Gatorade. Those
Hot Cheetos she loved? No more.
She has even steeled her resolve to resist the one
thing she really misses – french fries.
“I really love french fries, but I know they're bad
for me,” Leaupepe-Tele said. “If I eat a few fries, I
can almost feel the fat and salt clogging me up.”
Leaupepe-Tele said she has dropped 15 pounds and has
replaced the high-fat, high-sodium snacks with such
foods as celery and steamed vegetables. Now when she's
hungry, she said she craves fresh salad items such as
lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and especially red
The results are obvious on the basketball court,
where a slimmer Leaupepe-Tele averages about 13 points
and has the stamina to play an entire game.
The stomach cramps and chest pains are gone, too.
“I don't like to be told I can't play,” Leaupepe-Tele
said. “What I really like is to block shots. I like that
even more than scoring because if you block a shot, not
only do you stop the other team from scoring, but you
have a chance to score yourself, resulting in a
four-point turnaround. Basketball is all about
Not that Leaupepe-Tele has any trouble at the other
end of the court. She averaged better than 20 points a
game to win the Most Valuable Player award in the
Coach Deadrick Robinson said scoring isn't all that
Leaupepe-Tele gives the Tigers, who were scheduled to
begin the playoffs this week after finishing the regular
“Abigail is the consummate team player, so there are
times when she'll pass the ball when she should just
shoot it,” Robinson said. “She needs to get to the point
where she'll take the team on her shoulders in crunch
time, where she'll ask for the ball. Her
shot selection is so much better this year, and she's
the best ball-handler on the team,” he said. “But we've
always had taller players, so you didn't notice her as
much as you do now. We're going to get her on a good
traveling team this summer.”
Leaupepe-Tele started playing basketball at age 11.
She plans to once again put the shot and toss the discus
this spring in track, where she was among the City
Conference's best, but her focus is on basketball.
And on being healthy.