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Am Samoa Rugby Union opens Men’s 15 season

tony@samoanews.com

The American Samoa Rugby Union (ASRU) officially kicked off their Men’s 15s Rugby Season last Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium. Samoa News interviewed ASRU's David Robinson, who spoke on behalf of the Union and Chairman Togiola Tulafono who wasn't present during the opening.
 
As for the match ups for this year’s season opener, Leone Whites won after their opponents forfeited the match – the only game that was played was the match up between the Pago Eagles and the Avele Rugby Club.
 
ASRU's David Robinson reflected on the officially opening and said, “This is just the start of our regular 15-aside tournament – unfortunately we haven't got as many teams this year compared to the past years of the season.”
 
Robinson continued, "We've only got about six teams registered so far, and today we're opening up with two games only – one regular game and one shield game."
 
When asked how long the season lasts, Robinson responded, "Well, we'd like to keep it going as long as we can provide the funding and financial support – that's always the issue of course with the Union, if we get the money, we can continue on but we'll certainly try to play it through until the end of August."
 
Robinson told Samoa News that they hope to get more people interested in the game. "We normally get good support from the communities out there and I'd like to encourage as many people who are interested in the game to come out and support it — help to promote the game."
 
He added, "We always get a good crowd that come out every Saturday and they seem to enjoy themselves — for those at home, come out and check out the games, you can come out and join us again next Saturday."
 
Samoa News asked Robinson about ASRU's focus and he replied, "We're trying to promote the game of rugby here in American Samoa – we luckily managed to join the IRB World Rugby Cup a couple of years ago and we've got to make sure that we're playing on a regular basis."
 
In conclusion, Robinson said, "It's really been the committee who's been behind all this effort – Chairman Togiola, he has been very active in putting it all together as well as our tournament director Sa Mavaega. We would like to see a few more sponsors come on board and help us out if possible, so to any company out there who's looking to be a sponsor, please make contact with us and we'll gladly arrange your sponsorship and it'll help us enormously.”

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ASAFF Football Team claims first Men's Sr. Division Cup

This is only the beginning – our ASAFF Program needs to expand and grow
tony@samoanews.com

New Zealand welcomed American Samoa with open arms according to some of the players on the American Samoa America Football Federation (ASAFF) Team and their effort to give them a game to remember was successful, after they schooled the Kiwis with American Samoa’s 20-point victory — 30-10. Samoa News notes that earlier this year, members of the New Zealand American Football Federation (NZAFF) were in the territory promoting their efforts in American football.

 

According to ASAFF President Ethan Lake, “when New Zealand found out that we were coming to Tahiti, they asked us if we could come through New Zealand, and play a game against them, before making our way to Tahiti." Other members of the ASAFF told Samoa News that New Zealanders were so anxious to play our local boys, that they were willing to do anything to make that match up happen.

 

Then this past Saturday, indeed the war against the Samoans and the Kiwi's on the gridiron came to life – the expectations and determination from the players on the American Samoan team were precise and they talked about it with Samoa News during at the Pago Pago International Airport, just before they departed.

 

Named as the Most Valuable Player of the Game was American Samoa's Ryan Pa'aga of Nu'uuli, a former Tafuna Warrior and former American Samoa All-Star playing in the Samoa Bowl competition.

 

Samoa News spoke to American Samoa's quarterback, Daniel Fereti about his expectations while in New Zealand and he said, "We really haven't had a serious practice as a team during our time on island – we were more focused on trying to fundraise to make this trip possible, so we can show everyone who doubts us, that Samoans were made to play football."

ASAFF Quarterback Daniel Fereti who led team American Samoa to their first international victory in a game against New Zealand this past Saturday – American Samoa defeated New Zealand 30 - 10.
[courtesy photo]

 

Fereti added, “Even though we haven't had practice, we believe that the sport of American Football is one of our main sports on island – the game of football is our game. But leading up to our game against New Zealand, it's more of a mental preparation for us. Everyone on the team understands the game of football, they're all experienced players – it's just the matter of who can catch up to speed and pick up our plays in a short amount of time.”

 

Samoa News also interviewed former Samoana Shark who is one of the star players on our ASAFF Team – Brandon Salanoa, who told Samoa News that our local team would dominate any team within our region in the sport of American Football. "We are taking an awesome group of players, and I have a strong feeling that even though we haven't had enough time to get together as a team, everyone on the roster has played football before – so we're comfortable with our chances."

 

Salanoa continued, "It’s funny that these other countries want to challenge us – but we already believe in ourselves and we've been in the game of football much longer – I know we'll win without a doubt."

 

In their win against New Zealand last Friday, ASAFF quarterback Fereti threw for three touchdown passes as he led the American Samoan 'Eagles' to their first International victory.

 

Fereti and some of the American Samoan players reflected on the fact that the American Samoa American Football Federation (ASAFF) program is in deep need of our local support, and the program needs to expand and grow in the years to come – to not only give our graduated student athletes another shot at a college career, but it'll also give American Samoa a chance to display some of the finest talents here on island during these international competitions.

Signaling the fourth quarter (a tradition here on island) in the Land of the Long White Cloud, just before they won their first international victory over the Kiwi's 30 - 10. [photo: Chocajoe Media]

 

He said, “The problem right now is that there's hardly any support from our local communities and businesses as well – but I understand this being our first year to have something like this, but we need those experienced high school coaches to step in and continue to work with us in this program as they've done during our time in high school."

 

Fereti continued, "We’ve recently seen Vincent Ta'ala get his second chance at a college career – he was selected out of this program. You never know if this might be another chance for some of us at another shot at college level or higher, to some of the recruiters and coaches who never saw us before when they came down."

 

The ASAFF quarterback sent his acknowledgments and thanks on behalf of his team and ASAFF to all of those who've been supportive of this effort “as of now I'm not familiar with all of our sponsors – but I would like to thank all of those who lent us a helping hand and supported us with the funding of our airfare."

Claiming the winner’s cup after defeating the Kiwi's in a 20-point victory – the ASAFF team showed international teams that American Samoa is the real deal when it comes to American football. [photo: Chocajoe Media]

 

He said, “By far the hardest part of our preparations was trying to finance the plane tickets – thank you so much for your support, thank you for your consideration, we're finally able to make this dream of a trip possible. Now we're going to represent American Samoa with pride and to the fullest, we promise we won't let you down, fa'afetai."

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Tina Drabble Golf Tourney once again raises funds for Junior Golf

tony@samoanews.com

Saturday’s 4th Tina Drabble Golf Tournament at the Ili'ili Golf Course found avid golfers as well as others on hand for the annual effort by the Tina Drabble Foundation to support of the Junior Golf program.

 

Samoa News interviewed the late Tina's mother, Chande Lutu-Drabble who leads the effort yearly and she emphasized her thanks and appreciation to everyone who came out to be part this annual event.

 

She said, "I'm really humbled and appreciative for all the help and support from the business community, the charitable organizations, and a lot of friends – I especially would like to thank my Fijian family, the Fijian Community Association, because everything we do they're always behind us."

 

She told Samoa News that throughout the past "all of our tournaments have been successful this year we have more teams, but as always, there are more companies that sponsor teams but — our main problem right now to be honest is the lack of golf carts here at our local golf course."

 

Drabble said, “Every year a lot of people that come out for our event get somewhat discouraged because they cannot play because there are no carts available.”

 

According to Lutu-Drabble, the purpose of these annual memorial tournaments is to provide for the Junior Golf program in American Samoa, “A whole bunch of golf accessories should be arriving in about two weeks time – a bunch of golf clubs, bags, range balls for the Jr. Golf Program, which is the main purpose why Tina's Foundation was established.”

 

In conclusion, Drabble said “on behalf our our foundation, I would like to thank Bluesky Communications, I cannot thank them enough they're very supportive. The Tool Shop and Industrial Gases have been one of our very faithful supporters. Terry Steffany and her company, as well as Sadie's by the Sea. Starkist Company and Samoa Tuna Processors.”

 

And ”a special thanks to Governor Lolo – he's always here every year, but we understand that he couldn't make it out this year because they're busy with the burial of Lt. Governor Lemanu's wife – we want to thank them for their support every year."

BACKGROUND

 

 Tina was well known in the territory for her achievements in golf culminating with her individual gold medal performance while representing the territory in 2007 at the South Pacific Games.

 

Tina began her golf career at the age of nine and her Uncle Fuga Tolani Teleso was her first teacher. Before she was 10, she participated in the Junior World Golf Championship in San Diego and went on to win many other golfing awards before she turned Pro after graduating from college.

 

She was born in American Samoa on May 30, 1971 and attended elementary school at South Pacific Academy. She graduated from high school at Seabury Hall on Maui, Hawaii and obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting and marketing from New Mexico State University.

 

She passed away in 2012 after a long battle with cancer.

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Mustangs mark ASAFF record book — 1st NPFL Champions — undefeated too

tony@samoanews.com

The American Samoa American Football Federation's (ASAFF) – National Prep Football League — held their first championship game this past Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, to officially close season one of the newly founded program – that has been long dreamed of by former football players on island that never had the chance to play again after high school.
 
Throughout the years the sport has been played here on island at the high school level – and by far is the best venue to display American Samoa’s athletic performances.
 
With a game speed two times faster and spine chilling tackles, our local football boys have been longing to quench this dream come true — a program focused on giving them a second chance, not only to possibly return to school and the gridiron, but also just ‘play’ again.
 
The names were familiar, the talent still drop drawer, if last Saturday’s ASAFF- NPFL Championship game was anything to go by.
 
MUSTANGS 26 – ASSASSINS 6
 
The Assassins offensive series following the opening kick off from the Mustangs had them barricaded deep inside their own territory, forcing them to punt – a kick that brought out the Mustangs opening drive to start from their own 45 yard line.
 
Still within the opening minutes of the game, and the Mustangs third down possession – Daniel Fereti rolled out on a play action pass to thread a bullet pass through a small window to Ryan Pa'aga who caught the opening touchdown of the game with three Assassins within his coverage area.
 
The Assassins led by their quarterback, Fale – showed a desperate need of scoring that they gambled on their second offensive possession within their own territory on a 4th down conversion, which led to the Mustangs second end zone appearance of the game.
 
A hard running game by Filoisamoa Langkilde spotted another six points for the Mustangs as they closed off the opening quarter of the game.
 
The second quarter of play came with good news for the Assassins side of the field, after a hard effort put into their ground game – Assassins offensive unit finally cracked the secret to Travis Pavihi and the Mustangs defense, when Amosa powered his way to cross the goal after spinning off two defenders and stumbling into the end zone for their first six points of the game.
 
For the remainder of the final quarter of the first half – Travis Stowers-Pavihi led the Mustangs defensive squad in not only solo tackles, but assistance and coordination of their defense who shut out the Assassins for the remainder of the half.
 
The second half of the game was somewhat in favor of the trailing Assassins – but not in results of the score. Fale and the Assassins offensive unit utilized 70 percent of possession within the whole second half alone.
 
Stats that more likely would be in favor of the victor – but that wasn't the case in this match.
 
The Mustangs defensive unit intensified in strength and power, as they not only tired out their opponent's running, but picking off long desperate touchdown passes that were intercepted  twice, swatted four times, and forcefully broken up by the inside the end zone once by the No.1 defense in American Samoa.
 
Bragging rights they claimed, and indeed they deserved it after showing less time of possession and lesser attempts to the end zone that resulted in a 20-point victory for the undefeated– Fereti led the Mustangs to their first championship title after hooking up with Filipo Matai'a for a 38-yard touchdown pass, followed by a broken up wide receiver pass play that resulted in the closing end zone appearance of the game.
 
Ryan Pa'aga, who is still the fastest player in rugby and football in the territory, after he returned a 66-yard punt return and almost nailing it all the way through, he pushed the Mustangs offensive from their own 12-yard line, all the way to their opponents 47.
 
After a couple of hand off's to Langkilde to gain possession within their opposing 20-yard line zone – Fereti again faked of a counter running play to Langkilde, and looked deep to fire a bomb accurately precise pass to Ronhen Tui, who was rushed by his teammates after a successful touchdown to close off the game, and to officially collect their first championship within this newly founded program. 

YouTube 
See video
See video


Mustangs mark ASAFF record book — 1st NPFL Champions — undefeated too

tony@samoanews.com

The American Samoa American Football Federation's (ASAFF) – National Prep Football League — held their first championship game this past Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, to officially close season one of the newly founded program – that has been long dreamed of by former football players on island that never had the chance to play again after high school.
 
Throughout the years the sport has been played here on island at the high school level – and by far is the best venue to display American Samoa’s athletic performances.
 
With a game speed two times faster and spine chilling tackles, our local football boys have been longing to quench this dream come true — a program focused on giving them a second chance, not only to possibly return to school and the gridiron, but also just ‘play’ again.
 
The names were familiar, the talent still drop drawer, if last Saturday’s ASAFF- NPFL Championship game was anything to go by.
 
MUSTANGS 26 – ASSASSINS 6
 
The Assassins offensive series following the opening kick off from the Mustangs had them barricaded deep inside their own territory, forcing them to punt – a kick that brought out the Mustangs opening drive to start from their own 45 yard line.
 
Still within the opening minutes of the game, and the Mustangs third down possession – Daniel Fereti rolled out on a play action pass to thread a bullet pass through a small window to Ryan Pa'aga who caught the opening touchdown of the game with three Assassins within his coverage area.
 
The Assassins led by their quarterback, Fale – showed a desperate need of scoring that they gambled on their second offensive possession within their own territory on a 4th down conversion, which led to the Mustangs second end zone appearance of the game.
 
A hard running game by Filoisamoa Langkilde spotted another six points for the Mustangs as they closed off the opening quarter of the game.
 
The second quarter of play came with good news for the Assassins side of the field, after a hard effort put into their ground game – Assassins offensive unit finally cracked the secret to Travis Pavihi and the Mustangs defense, when Amosa powered his way to cross the goal after spinning off two defenders and stumbling into the end zone for their first six points of the game.
 
For the remainder of the final quarter of the first half – Travis Stowers-Pavihi led the Mustangs defensive squad in not only solo tackles, but assistance and coordination of their defense who shut out the Assassins for the remainder of the half.
 
The second half of the game was somewhat in favor of the trailing Assassins – but not in results of the score. Fale and the Assassins offensive unit utilized 70 percent of possession within the whole second half alone.
 
Stats that more likely would be in favor of the victor – but that wasn't the case in this match.
 
The Mustangs defensive unit intensified in strength and power, as they not only tired out their opponent's running, but picking off long desperate touchdown passes that were intercepted  twice, swatted four times, and forcefully broken up by the inside the end zone once by the No.1 defense in American Samoa.
 
Bragging rights they claimed, and indeed they deserved it after showing less time of possession and lesser attempts to the end zone that resulted in a 20-point victory for the undefeated– Fereti led the Mustangs to their first championship title after hooking up with Filipo Matai'a for a 38-yard touchdown pass, followed by a broken up wide receiver pass play that resulted in the closing end zone appearance of the game.
 
Ryan Pa'aga, who is still the fastest player in rugby and football in the territory, after he returned a 66-yard punt return and almost nailing it all the way through, he pushed the Mustangs offensive from their own 12-yard line, all the way to their opponents 47.
 
After a couple of hand off's to Langkilde to gain possession within their opposing 20-yard line zone – Fereti again faked of a counter running play to Langkilde, and looked deep to fire a bomb accurately precise pass to Ronhen Tui, who was rushed by his teammates after a successful touchdown to close off the game, and to officially collect their first championship within this newly founded program. 

YouTube 
See video
See video


National Prep Football League playoffs on Saturday

tony@samoanews.com

UNDEFEATED MUSTANGS READY TO WIN

 

As the only undefeated team in the National Prep Football League (NPFL), the Mustangs Football Team say they are comfortable with their chances against the Assassins in their championship game tomorrow, according to the Mustangs Head Coach Ben Sauvao.