THE WILDCATS AIM HIGH THIS YEAR, UNDER THE REIGN OF NEW HEAD COACH
In this edition of Samoa News “Pre-Season Huddle” we turn down the road to a school whose team made their own history during last year’s ASHSAA Football Season, as they made it to the play-offs for the first time — Nu’uuli Vocational Technical High School. With their great season behind them, NVTHS brings to the 2012-13 season a new playbook under the auspices of a new head coach, Rod Atafua.
Atuafua told Samoa News that “this year is very different from last year and the last couple of years. We have very limited number of players returning from last year, and we are working very hard to get these kids the proper conditioning and mentally ready for the games.”
To accomplish his game plan, said they started early this year. “We spent a lot of time with these kids, and we started as early as February, then we took a break in the month of June for graduation, and then we were up and running again when June Jones along with the Tennessee Camp came down.”
His goal for the year: “Like any other head coach we all have one goal in mind, and that’s winning the championship, and last year, we were fortunate enough to make it to the play offs, but this year, instead of making it to the play-offs, we are going to try and make it to the championship game this year.”
The changes to the NVTHS team as the new head coach explains is “for the past two years I believe, when coach Elia Savali and Samoa Samoa were in charge of the program, they ran a different scheme, so when I took over, I tried to think of ways to try and turn these athletes to a pace that is similar to the high school level, but as well as to prep them up to the college level. I know it will be kind of hard for some of our returning players from last year because they ran something different with coach Elia and Samoa, and now for this year, I am running a whole different scheme for them.”
He added, “I am a firm believer in teaching, that’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what I want to do, I want to teach these kids, not just coaching, but coaching and teaching at the same time the sport of football with whatever experience that I have.”
The Wildcats football team is composed of 10 returning players, and the “majority of our players, which are sophomores, juniors and seniors, are all new players eager to learn, and it brings us to about thirty plus kids as of now.”
Atafua wants to “wish everybody luck on the upcoming school year and of course the season. The main thing we want to do here is to help our student athletes improve to a higher standard, not only in the sport of football but also throughout the other sports in our ASHSAA program, and its not particularly for NVTHS, its for all the student athletes around the island who dare to dream bigger.”
He concluded with shout outs to their supporters: “First of all, I would like to thank our principal, Saouila Kava for supporting this program, second I want to thank the athletes’ parents for allowing these kids to come out and practice every day, I also want to thank our community here, the Ituau and Tualauta community for helping out and supporting our football program, I would also like to thank our fellow schools for all their help in terms of scrimmages which has helped us out a lot — our kids are starting to get a feel of the real game; and finally I want to thank my players for having faith in me, to be able to help them, and to teach them the sport of football.”
The Samoa News “Huddle” coverage of the 2012- 13 ASHSAA football season is brought to you by Coca-Cola and Powerade, distributed exclusively by GHC Reid & Co. Ltd. ‘Oloa O Leala’, Your Family of Fine Beverages.