Saying "the timing is right," a prominent sports management and marketing company president told the local media yesterday that the inaugural Hawai'i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl will help put the state's high school football talent into the national spotlight.
Rich McGuinness, whose Sportslink firm is helping to present the Hawai'i All-Star Classic doubleheader Dec. 12 at Aloha Stadium, said the state's growing football reputation on the Mainland makes this an ideal place for a new event.
The Hawai'i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl will pit local standout seniors, players from American Samoa and Mainland seniors with Hawai'i ties against a team of all-stars from across the nation.
"The bottom line is, the opportunity and timing is right for a game like this," McGuinness said during a press conference yesterday at Honolulu Hale. "We talk to recruiting experts like Tom Lemming and over 50 college coaches from around the country, and the trend has been that the talent in Hawai'i is getting better every year ... Pound-for-pound, this is one of the best places to watch high school football."
Punahou senior Manti Te'o, considered by many to be the No. 1 linebacker prospect in the nation, is among the players expected to suit up for the Hawai'i/Polynesia team. Other Hawai'i standouts scheduled to play are Baldwin defensive lineman Mana Rosa, who has made a verbal commitment to play for Oregon State University, and Hilo High offensive lineman Jordan Loeffler, who has committed to play for the University of Hawai'i.
Among the players on the Mainland team are Southern California recruit Randall Caroll of Cathedral (Los Angeles), a receiver who was the 100-meter dash state champion as a junior, offensive lineman Chris Watt of Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), who has committed to play for Notre Dame, and quarterback Bryn Renner of West Springfield (Springfield, Va.), who accounted for 42 touchdowns as a junior and has committed to play for North Carolina.
The Hawai'i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl will follow the 18th Annual Hawai'i Union Builders Senior Bowl Goodwill Classic at 5 p.m.