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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Polynesians at the Hula Bowl

I had the opportunity to be on the field for today's Hula Bowl. The 'Aina came back to defeat the Kai 18-10. The 'Aina's lone Polynesian was Samoan CJ Ah You of Oklahoma. Nate Ilaoa scored on the first score of the game to put the Kai up 6-0. Unfortunately NFL hopefuls Ikaika Alama-Francis, Nu'u Tafisi and Melila Purcell suffered injuries in the game that hopefully will not slow down their path to the NFL. Also it would be nice next year if the Hula Bowl does a better job of marketing the bowl game to get more people into the stands--the attendance for today's game was around 8000 people. The Kai team was loaded with Samoans, Tongans, and Hawaiians including:

Ikaika Alama-Francis: Hawai'i
Ross Dickerson: Hawai'i
Frank Fernandez: Harvard
Nate Ilaoa: Hawai'i
Jake Kuresa: BYU
Palauni Ma Sun: Oregon
Abu Ma'afala: Cal
Regan Mauia: Hawai'i
Leonard Peters: Hawai'i
Melila Purcell: Hawai'i
Caleb Spencer: Nevada (Did Not Play)
Nu'u Tafisi: Cal
Kelly Talavou: Utah
Tavo Tupola: Utah
Matt Toeaina: Oregon
Travis Tofi: USC
Dane Uperesa: Hawai'i

Among those listed above, three are American Samoa High School graduates and past AIGA Foundation Camp participants in the territory. Pictured clockwise are Mel Purcell (Leone/Hawai'i), Matt Toeaina (Samoana/Oregon) and Travis Tofi (Faga'itua/USC)

Polynesian Defensive Line:
Pictured Left to Right: Nu'u Tafisi, Abu Ma'afala, Kelly Talavou, Mel Purcell and Matt Toeaina.

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