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Both titans come out victorious for ASHSAA Season Opener

tony@samoanews.com
Returning All Star wide receiver for the Lions Elama Lefiti evading tacklers and muscling his way into the end zone, as he scored this touchdown in the last quarter of the game to seal Leone’s victory over the Wildcats 35 - 0. [photo: TG]

This past Saturday morning saw this year’s American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) opening kick off of the 2012-2013 football season — with no surprise wins — by the Leone Lions and the Samoana Sharks.

Governor Togiola Tulafono, during his special remarks for the official opening of the season wished all the teams the best of luck, and to play smart. He also pointed out that if the players don’t succeed in American football, they should try out for the local Talavalu All Star Rugby team, which will be competing in the IRB round ups.

Rugby will also be offered as part of the regular ASHSAA season for the first time this year. Samoa News was told that a ASHSAA Rugby League — for both boys and girls — is set to begin, but with no firm schedule established.

This year also, Samoa News will be including in its coverage a Player of the Game for each of the games played for the week. Our selection will be based on the player’s statistics for the game, and overall play in the game.

“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.

LEONE 35 — NU’UULI 0

Lions’ Ofagalilo Oa sent his team to it’s first six-point lead after a good drive led by quarterback Asofa’afetai Olo, who averaged twelve of eighteen completions in the first half to see the Lions on top of the Wildcats in the first half.

But the highlight of the first half wasn’t the Lions first touchdown, it was when Nu’uuli had possession on their own 39-yard line, striving for a first down situation, and Ricky Atonio quarterback for the Wildcats threw a pass to his flat that was quickly intercepted by Lions defensive end Austin Maloata, a transfer from Marist this year to the Lions. Maloata caught that pass, and took it back for a 40-yard touchdown return, sending the Lions over the Wildcats 14 – 0 after a good field goal situation.

The second half of the game, saw Asofa’afetai lead the Lions back to the Wildcats red zone with a consistent running pace from Rudy Steffany and Oa along with Elama Lefiti, who were the key point offensive players for the Lions. But it wasn’t until they breached the Wildcats 4-yard line, and Nu’uuli’s defense forced a zone coverage that had quarterback Asofa’afetai wide open for his 4-yard march into the end zone sending six more points onto the Lions side of the scoreboard. Rudy Steffany put two more points on the scoreboard after a bruising run into the end zone for their two-point conversion.

11:04 in the fourth quarter, when the Wildcats kept fumbling the ball, Leone decided to take advantage of the opportunity and dominated some more on offense. This time Olo sent Christian Tuilaepa out with the toss, and turned on his boosters to add more points to Leone’s lead, and with the good field goal conversion by Petaia Tanielu, Nu’uuli trailed the Lions by 29 points.

Later on in the quarter, Nu’uuli still having a hard time trying to contain Leone’s offensive schemes, failed again on a quick slant pass out to returning Texas All Star player Elama Lefiti, who turned in the last six points of the game that sealed the Lions victory with no questions, as they went home with a 35 – 0 victory over the Nu’uuli Wildcats.

SAMOA NEWS PLAYER OF THE GAME: AUSTIN MALOATA

We name Leone Lions defensive end Austin Maloata the Player of the Game with his 40-yard interception return that went back for a touchdown. Maloata is a Junior at Leone High School from the village of Malaeloa and he is a transfer student from Marist. He averaged 6 solo tackles, 13 assists during their first game against the Wildcats this past Saturday.

SAMOANA 6 — MARIST 0

The Sharks and the Crusaders game was the main event of last Saturday’s season opener, as it was determined to go smoothly in the hands of the Sharks, but smooth wasn’t the deal that Etuale Tuileta and his Crusaders team gave Samoana last Saturday — as the Crusaders came in with a young defensive squad that held Samoana Sharks to zero, until the last quarter of the game.

The first half of the game was pretty much a nail biter, as Samoana tried out their new offensive unit this year with Tafatafa Sataua at quarterback, managing his run and gun offense all the way down the Crusaders red zone. But with the Crusaders determined defense, they managed to stop Samoana twice during red zone situations.

On the other hand, the Crusaders offense coming in with majority of their star players on offense all sophomores and Juniors, had their share of positive yardage and penalties. But it didn’t stop Iki Tuileta from working with his offense for their first game of the season. Uluao Letuli for the Crusaders had his share of working his way back into the season, and for a sophomore running back, Letuli really showed potential to be great this year at the Varsity level.

The second half came as a real threat to the Sharks, as they were still on the verge of looking for a touchdown situation, but was again denied by James Migo and his young defensive unit on Samoana’s red zone drive again which pinned the Crusaders on offense deep in their own territory to work their way down the field.

Tuileta did their part but it was a three and out for the Crusaders offense, which brought in their punting unit. 1:12 remaining in the third quarter and Crusaders sent off the punt that was a major threat to them, as Fatutoa Jordan Levi of the Sharks, returned that punt all the way back to shake up the Crusaders with Samoana’s first six points on the scoreboard with that 60-yard punt return for a TD. Their two point conversion hand off to Fiaui Ta’ase was again denied by the Crusaders defense, to have Samoana with their only touchdown lead, which concluded the match with the same points, as the Sharks went home victorious, but with a determination that they could’ve done better.

SAMOA NEWS PLAYER OF THE GAME:  Fatutoa Jordan Levi

Samoana’s Free Safety on defense and Punt Returner on special teams is named by Samoa News as the Player of the Game for his outstanding vision that sent Samoana home with their first victory of the season, after Levi’s 60-yard punt return in the third quarter that won Samoana’s first game. He is a Senior at Samoana and is from the village of Fagatogo.



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