Benson Mauga
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

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Sibling rivalry: It works for them

Brother and sister wrestlers benefit from partnership

Mount Miguel 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.

“She’s my 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 the team.

“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 more aggressive.”

Leimai has six older brothers but she says they never came to her rescue when she was in trouble.

“They didn’t 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.”

Those family 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 learning.

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.

“I had 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.

Miracle won’t 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 history-making Journey
 

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 play.
 
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.

Read article
 

Wolf Pack defensive end Ian Seau chooses to play 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 bloodlines.

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 momentum.

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 fumble.

“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.”

Famous bloodlines

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 he loves.

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 reckless abandon.

“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.”

A perfect fit

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.”

Inherent risk

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

Marques Tuiasosopo 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 Tuiasosopo’s hiring on Monday.

UPDATE: USC 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 Steve Sarkisian 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 Jonathan Smith 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 SAMOAN STRONGMAN

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 weave baskets out of coconut palm tree and average like 60 or 80 in each bag. I would get a little tree and carry it,” Sopoaga said.

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 included.

Jones will never forget the day he first saw Sopoaga. He was raw, but Jones, now at SMU, immediately saw the potential.

Poly Football Hall Of Fame names finalists

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 coaches/contributors.

The Finalists were selected from a field of over 100 nominees by a Selection Committee comprised of former college head football coaches Dick Tomey, LaVell Edwards, Ron McBride, ESPN Sportscaster Neil Everett, NFL player personnel expert Gil Brandt and Honolulu Sportscaster Robert Kekaula.

“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 Enshrinement Ceremony, 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… www.PolynesianFootballHOF.org, www.Twitter.com/PolynesianFBHOF, www.Facebook.com/PolynesianFootballHallofFame

PLAYER FINALISTS

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, CAR, 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 ancestry

COACH & CONTRIBUTOR FINALISTS

Thomas Ka’auwai Ka’ulukukui, Former Head football Coach at University of Hawai’i, Hawaiian ancestry
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 ancestry
Ken Niumatalolo, Head Football Coach at United States Naval Academy, Samoan ancestry
Charlie Wedemeyer, Former Head Football Coach, Los Gatos High School (CA), Hawaiian ancestry


Eagles defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga.
(AP Photo)
Sopoaga bringing energy to Eagles defense
 

PHILADELPHIA – Isaac Sopoaga thinks leadership is overrated.

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 win 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 play 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 Orleans.

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 Rueben Leasau.

“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...

 
Troy Polamalu
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 comes from.

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 “education”.

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 assist them.

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 jelly sandwich.

“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 football).
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 in Utulei.

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 volleyball players.

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 next Monday.

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 Scholarship

Fred Lauina – Tafuna High School – Football Scholarship

Lilly Tauala – Samoana High School – Volleyball Scholarship

Vincent Simanu – Fagaitua High School – Football Scholarship

Matavaitofaga Moi – Leone High School – Volleyball Scholarship

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 overall

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 zone.

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 taking.

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 Lewis.

"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 meetings."

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, Washington
2nd Round -- No. 60 overall -- CB Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana
4th Round -- No. 127 overall -- DE Malliciah Goodman, Clemson
4th Round -- No. 133 overall -- TE Levine Toilolo, Stanford
5th Round -- No. 153 overall -- DE Stansly Maponga, TCU
7th Round -- No. 243 overall -- S Kemal Ishmael, Central Florida
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 multiple times.

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 54 RBIs.

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 clinic.

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 their grandparents.

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 — being Samoan.
 

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 wonder.

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 times.

"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 Walnut, Calif.

 

San Diego’s Fallen Son

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 memories, Junior.

 

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 place me.”

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, coaches listen.”

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 / Sunday

O le Fa’atoesega / Confession:

“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.

Fa’amolemole Tama, 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 Kerisiano.

Fa’amagalo lenei 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 Keriso.

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… AMENE!

-Rev. Faafouina 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,
and 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 universities.

 

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 campaign partners, click here.
 

 

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 blog.

 

The 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.

 

For 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" campaign, visit www.changingfaceofamerica.com. Also, follow the campaign on Facebook (www.facebook.com/changingfaceofamerica) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/aapichange).

 

Bengals re-sign Rey Maualuga

The Cincinnati Bengals announced the re-signing of linebacker 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 captains.

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 defensive ends Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers and Wallace Gilberry

 

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 Conference coaches

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 team banquet.

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 team.

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 Year.

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 staff.

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 season.

 

Seau 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 of Nevada.

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. 33 among 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

Draft Zone 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 football player?

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 down film?

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 spring 2012.

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 Garden Grove.

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 official visit.

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 trenches.

“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 well together.”

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 draft.

“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 12.

Seau voted conference's No. 1 defensive performer

© East County Sports
EL CAJON (11-15-12) — Eight Grossmont College players have been named to the prestigious National Division Southern Conference All-League team.

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 High School
 

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."

Heisman Trophy 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

 

Homer Mauga

Even though 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 sacks.

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 Cougars.

“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 tough opponent.

“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 SamoanAthletes.com
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 you.”

Long, tumbling 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

Read Article

 

Arizona football: Tutogi, younger brother expect to make contact

The Tutogi 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

Read Article

 

EWU Post-Game: Homer Mauga

SENIOR STRONGSIDE 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.

To view Idaho linebacker 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:

Post-Game Interview: Watch Video
Vandals finally win, Farquhar earns WAC honors

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 half.

 
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 Cougars.

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.

Saint Louis 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 for Mauga

Homer Mauga wears 55 to honor Junior Seau. 

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 games.

“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,” Mauga said.

“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 continuing 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 his brother.

Homer Mauga wears 55 to honor Junior Seau.

 
Follow Josh Wright’s Tweets @SR_joshwright
 
Marcus Mariota named Oregon Ducks starting quarterback

Redshirt freshman 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 Draft.

Mariota will become the first freshman quarterback to start the season for the Ducks in 21 years. UO hosts Arkansas State Sept. 1.   Read article
 

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 mother's desserts.

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.  Read more

FALEOMAVAEGA CONGRATULATES MS. TUMUA ANAE ON HER SELECTION ON THE U.S. OLYMPIC WOMEN’S WATER POLO TEAM

Congressman 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.
 
She graduated from Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, California.
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 journalism.
 
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 people.”
 
“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 history.”
 
“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 SE’AU

 
Congressman 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 the public.
 
“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.
 
On 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.
 
Mr. Speaker:
 
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 average.
 
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 Fame.
 
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 years. After 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 deflections.
 
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 encountered.
 
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 to.
 
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.

7 Things Every Athlete Should Know About College Financial Aid

April 11th, 2012 - by JC Kibbey

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 your education.
1. Good Academics Create Financial Aid Opportunities
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 by clicking here. 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. Click here 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 Equivalency
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 here 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 dollars.
7. Athletes aren’t limited to “athletic” scholarships
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 fastweb.com 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 work-study programs.”
 
“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 American Samoa."
 
“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,” Faleomavaega concluded.

Jordan championed education as well as Grossmont football

Former coach to be honored Saturday

— 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 injury.”

Read more:  http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/feb/29/jordan-championed-education-as-well-as-grossmont/

Still a Team

Three former Utah players make history with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

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 program.”

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.

Read more: http://continuum.utah.edu/2012/02/still-a-team/

 

AMERICAN SAMOA DEFEATS AUSTRALIA IN OCEANIA BOWL 2012

IFAF on 02/26/2012

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 World Championship.

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 kick.

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 touchdown.

Examiner.com: Top 100 WAC football players for 2011: Nos. 20-11

Read Article
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.

Read more:  http://azstarnet.com/

Iosefa is no Average Joey

Getting up to speed with his duties in the backfield has accelerated Joey Iosefa’s rise up the depth chart.

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 Warriors’ workouts.

“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.”

Read more: http://www.staradvertiser.com

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 lineman at 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.

Read more: http://www.signonsandiego.com/

Tough & tender Lady Griz leader has two sides

“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 Polamalu

Although he's known for his soft-spoken ways, Steelers' five-time Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu last week spoke out against National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell's crackdown on violent tackling and questioned whether the official had too much power. His comments came after Steelers linebacker James Harrison was fined $75,000 for what the league called illegal hits.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/

 

SBU's Samoan 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 up.

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)
Helix 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.  Read Article
 

Vandals linebackers connect on field and at home

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 off-campus home.

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.  Read article

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.  Read article
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...  Read article

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 the NFL  See list

 

SHARON AUMOEUALOGO

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 difficult.

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 pursuits.

“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 counselor.

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.  Read article

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.  Read article

 

49's take Iupati 17th overall

The names of 32 players from 24 different schools were announced in prime time on national television Thursday.

For the 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 later?'
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 jungle,
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 the
exact day this happened. The missionary told the congregation
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 up?'
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 the Lord
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 know.
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 best, Just
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. Philippians 4:13

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

Fautasi update: 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
Bengals’ Fanene and Maualuga donate 1,000+ pairs of cleats to local football

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 AYFS league

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 Lauli’i village.

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
 
Why are 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 the mainland.”

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 Pelley

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

Aside from 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
Bengals and 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?
 
By Amberly Dressler
Special to SDBoltReport.com
Date: Feb 3, 2010

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 
 

By PAT HAUGE
Publisher, GoVandals.net
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 starters.
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 in 2009.
“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 Sacramento State.
 

Check out A healthy approach
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 sees it.

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 healthy diet.

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 onions.

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 defense anyway.”

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 Kiwanis Tournament.

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 season 10-16.

“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.
 

 

 
 
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