WARRIORS DOMINATE FAGAITUA IN THE FIRST BATTLE OF THE “TOA O LE MALAE”
Saturday was a very tense moment at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, with the fans of the Vikings and Warriors back at it again, in the first match up they called “priceless” — THE rival game of the American Samoa High School Amateur Association (ASHSAA) Football season — between the two Toa o le Malae. In last year’s football season, the Tafuna Warriors were unable to defeat Fagaitua in any of the rival match ups, leading to their loss to the Vikings in the 2011- 12 Championship game — leaving a bitter taste in the mouthes of fans and supporters of the Warrior Nation.
This year, the Warriors have a new Head Coach, Okland Salave’a, who told Samoa News during “Pre-Huddle Coverage” that “Tafuna is only 50% ready” for the football season”, but fifty percent wasn’t what Tafuna showed the Vikings after a 30 – 0 lead at halftime, and a dominating 44 – 13 finish, with Daniel Fereti leading the way for the Warriors.
Actually the Junior Varsity Division match up was the Game of the Day. The majority of these JV players competed in the AYFS and the ESYFL, and now, at this level of competition the roof is being blown off in East meets West competition; and in this particular battle, Tafuna and Fagaitua walked away with a tie of 20 – 20.
“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.
JUNIOR VARSITY DIVISION
WARRIORS 20 – VIKINGS 20
Tafuna’s bruising fullback Cornelius Maiava, a star linebacker in the AYFS, led the Warriors to their first touchdown of the game with a hard running game that had Siale Ula and the Vikings in trouble in the first quarter of the game. A dominant quarter for the Warriors, Tafuna followed it up with a 12-yard quarterback keep by Frank Mauigoa for Tafuna’s second touchdown of the game.
The JV Warriors thought they had everything under control, but Fagaitua stirred things up when ESYFL All Star player Gus Napoleone, who plays quarterback for the Vikings, used his outstanding speed to bring the Vikings back with a touchdown conversion that saw them trailing Tafuna by only one touchdown going into halftime.
The fourth quarter came as a last man standing situation for both teams.
9:51 remaining in the game, and Napoleone pitches the ball out to his running back (#4), who stormed to the end zone to tie up the ball game at 12 – 12. But a tying situation is not what Tafuna was looking for when they came back with a tricky combination of running plays, that sent “Small man” Ray to the end zone for another Tafuna touchdown. Their two point conversion in the hands of Ray again secured the Warriors a top spot at 20 – 12.
4:56 in the fourth quarter, and Napoleone is taken out of the game after being hit hard for a first down situation for Fagaitua on the Warriors 5-yard line. With Napoleone out of the game, Head Coach Pooch Ta’ase decided to send in Aleipata Fereti who was another All Star player in the AYFS to play quarterback. Fereti sounded his first snap at quarterback position and faked out the Warriors with Fereti keeping it in himself to bring the Vikings back to trail Tafuna 20 – 18.
Then, with Fagaitua looking to tie up the ball game with less than a minute remaining, they bring back on the field the injured Napoleone, who sounded the snap and immediately took off to the corner of the end zone with the advantage of his speed, Napoleone was able to bring the Vikings back to tie the ball game 20 – 20, and that concluded their first match up of the season.
SAMOA NEWS PLAYER OF THE GAME: Gus Napoleone
Our choice is the speedy Vikings freshmen quarterback from Lauli’i who scored a touchdown conversion, averaged 3 complete passes per series, averaged 8 yards per carry, and made the game tying conversion that saved them the loss.
TAFUNA 44 – FAGAITUA 13
Ryan Pa’aga sent the Warriors to the Vikings 5-yard line after a completed 64-yard pass from Daniel Fereti that put them in a comfortable situation with Vena Umu entering the end zone for the first time this year with a perfectly executed draw play from Fereti. It put the Warriors on the scoreboard early in the first quarter, with their two-point conversion as a completed pass out to Sam Ulu that had the Warriors on top by eight points.
4:05 remaining in the first quarter, and Tafuna plays a second down situation on their own 45-yard line, play that almost went sour for the Warriors when Fereti aired out a long pass to Pa’aga again, and it fell straight in the hands of the Vikings “Superman” Aloese Su’a, but slipped out of Su’a’s hands and into the hands of Pa’aga who kept it in the end zone for another Warriors touchdown. Umu with the good carry up the middle for two, spotted the Warriors with a 16 – 0 lead.
The Warrior trio led by Fereti, set up a good drive for the Warriors which had them on top of the Vikings 30 – 0 by at halftime, as Umu and Paaga both contributed another set of touchdowns to take Tafuna as far as 30 points in the first half.
Fereti again aired out a perfect pass out to Simon Tuese for his first appearance in the end zone with a 34-yard completion from Fereti that had the Warriors on top 36 – 0 in the third quarter.
Suddenly, Fagaitua wanted to join in on the scoring frenzy, and decided to do so with just 4:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Lomitusi Ta’ala sends out a 23-yard pass to Johnny Sione, who caught the pass in the end zone for Fagaitua’s first touchdown of the season. Their field goal conversion was good to bring the Vikings back trailing 36 – 7.
4 seconds remaining in the third quarter, and the Warriors on a third down conversion on the Vikings 20-yard line,Fereti with another one of his amazing passes out to Tuese again gave Tafuna another touchdown, sending the Warriors on top at 42 – 7, and with the bruising run by Umu to the end zone for two, spotted the Warriors at its peak with a 44 – 7 lead.
In the fourth quarter, with just 3:07 remaining in the ball game, the Vikings strike again with a 20-yard pass connection between Ta’ala and Sione again, but it was a late burst for the Vikings not enough to finish the game without a dominating loss to Tafuna 44 – 13.
SAMOA NEWS PLAYER OF THE GAME: Daniel Fereti
Without a doubt, our choice is the Warriors’ Senior quarterback from Malaloa and Petesa, Daniel Fereti, who set the Warriors on fire throughout the whole game with his tremendous passing game of 6 passes for touchdowns, four hand offs for touchdowns and 8 out of 10 completed passes per series.