There was an error in this gadget

Search This Blog

Monday, January 17, 2011

Polynesians bask in final shot to play

By Phil Collin, Staff Writer
They came for the football, they came for the food, they came for the celebration of Polynesian culture.
And they got an extra-point kick attempt by J.R. Tavai as a bonus.
While the first Polynesian All-American Classic had its lighter moments at Cathedral High on Saturday, no one was missing the meaning of the event that included a four-day program for high school seniors to not only be recognized on the field, but to get a glimpse of what the future could hold for them.
"It's a great opportunity to be chosen to play another game in high school," Serra defensive tackle David Moala said. "Maybe it gave me another chance to get a scholarship, one more time, one more shot."
Tavai already has his future locked up with USC, but he understood the experience he had was a once-in-a-lifetime deal.
"I like playing against Polynesians," Tavai said. "It's a great experience coming against some of the best Polys from around the world, some of the best coaches around the world. It was just fun."
Tavai's Black team, coached by NFL trail blazer Dan Saleaumua, had the most fun by scoring a 21-8 victory over Moala and the White team, coached by former NFL linebacker Kurt Gouveia.
Presented by the AIGA Foundation and organized by former Carson High star quarterback George Malau'ulu, the event included players from all over the country and American Samoa, where the sport has exploded in popularity.
While Polynesians certainly have made inroads in the sport, they figure it never hurts to have an event on a larger stage to expose their athletes to more opportunities. "Coaches only get to watch so much video of certain games," Saleaumua said. "But when you bring a pool of talent of kids that you've heard or I've heard are supposed to be good players, and you put them in an environment where they have to compete on a consistent basis all day during the week, then they can lay it on the line and have fun with it on Saturday, the pressure's on them.
"I'm only here just to help. I want to make sure the kids have fun. And being the first (game), it had to be good and I think we put on a pretty good performance. But the game is what it's all about."
The players from both teams joined at midfield to perform the haka before the opening kickoff, then they got to cracking heads.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter, then the Black team began to get chances. Its first came when Carson quarterback Justin Alo gave the Black a first-and-goal with a 14-yard pass to Noah Tarrant.
But on fourth down, Alo's pass to a wide-open Tigi Hill was dropped in the end zone. But on the next play, Hill atoned for his drop with an interception.
Tavai set up the first touchdown when he recovered a fumbled exchange between quarterback Alex Kuresa and running back Drake Tofi at the 1-yard line. On the next play, Andrew Faraimo scored for a 6-0 lead.
Tavai's extra-point kick? Let's just say it had the distance but was wide left.
Quarterback Ikaika Woolsey guided the Black on a 76-yard scoring drive and pushed the lead to 12-0 on his 9-yard scoring pass to Duke Bukoski.
Alo's 26-yard pass Sateki Finau and Alo's 21-yard run set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Sam Atoe in the third quarter, making it 18-0. Woolsey connected on a 26-yard field goal to make it 21-0 later in the period.
Alo completed four of nine passes for 53 yards and also ran five times for 30 yards. Woolsey was 7-for-13 for 111 yards.
The White finally scored in the fourth quarter when Kuresa passed 1 yard to Junior Pomee, then hit Tofi for the two-point conversion.

No comments: