Sharks sustained more injured players than the losing team
The Varsity match that kicked-off week 10 of ASHSAA Football 2015 was the showdown between the No. 3 seeded team in the league – Samoana High School, and the underdogs of this year’s season, Nu'uuli Voc-Tech High School, which is ranked last in football competition, and have yet to collect a victory.
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Last weekend’s high school football action opened up with a hard fought game between Nu'uuli and Samoana in the Junior Varsity Division. The Wildcats who are ranked No.4 in their division, certainly sent Samoana a message that they will see them again in the play-offs, when they lost by only 6 points.
Before the match, most football fans expected Samoana to blow out Nu'uuli in the first half, and come back in the second half to end the game with a mercy rule – but that never happened as Samoana felt the power of the upcoming Wildcats program, when they gave them a run for their 6-point victory this past weekend.
The second match up of week 10 featured the same teams – but in the Varsity Division. Nu'uuli finally turned up to play last Friday evening compared to all their previous match ups this season, where they would get blown out and sent home scoreless.
Samoana on the other hand was almost scoreless at half time, after trying out their new no-huddle offense with a consistent running game. Compared to their first meeting in round one where the Sharks overpowered and dominated Nu'uuli – the Wildcat defense was all over the field last Friday as Samoana only scored two touchdowns to take home the win.
On the other side of the ball for the Sharks varsity team, their defensive unit led by Defensive Coordinator, Maselino Tautu – is ranked as one of the best defensive squads in this year’s ASHSAA Football season.
VARSITY: SAMOANA SHARKS 14 – NU'UULI WILDCATS 0
With just two more weeks of the regular season remaining, Nu'uuli's defensive unit finally showed up to compete last Friday evening, as they showed Samoana that they too can switch on the beast mode – when they almost held the Sharks scoreless throughout the whole first half of play.
It wasn't until late in the second quarter of the game, when Samoana finally managed to get past Nu'uuli's vicious defensive unit – which stopped Samoana short of the goal line on three straight plays. Then with a penalty called against the boys in blue, Kereti Fa'atili and the Sharks offensive unit had another shot towards the goal line when they lost 10 yards on a holding, but repeated third down.
2:13 remaining in the first half of the game, Sharks third down possession on the Wildcats 10-yard line, Nu'uuli guessing that Fa'atili just might drop back for a play action pass after running the ball consistently in this series – but they were disappointed when they played a zone coverage and saw Kerisiano Simiti bulldozing his way through the middle carrying two defenders with him into the end zone for Samoana's first touchdown of the game.
Their field goal conversion was good by Heston "the money maker" Lameta who has not missed a field goal this season. This pushed Samoana ahead with a 7-point lead, going into halftime.
In the second half of play the Sharks went back to their original strategy of a balanced offense, but they didn't score against their opposing defense throughout the whole third quarter.
It wasn't until early in the final quarter of the game, when they mixed up their new no-huddle game plan with their run-n-gun strategies that they moved the ball down field to spot them a threatening third down possession inside Wildcats’ territory.
9:19 into the final quarter of the game – the Sharks gambled on a fourth and long possession on Nu'uuli's 20-yard line, where Fa'atili sent Simiti straight up the middle with a delayed hand off that took Simiti into the end zone to score his second and final touchdown of the game.
The extra point field goal conversion by Lameta was good enough to secure them a 14-point victory against the Nu'uuli Wildcats – but they will remember this as one of the toughest games they've played this season, and it was against the lowest ranked team in their division.
SAMOA NEWS VARSITY PLAYER OF THE GAME
Samoa News selected Samoana High Schools Senior at Running Back – Kerisiano Simiti (#4) as the Player of the Game in their match up against the Wildcats this past Friday evening, at the Veterans Memorial Stadium. Simiti carried the Sharks to victory after scoring both touchdowns that won the game for Samoana in their 14 - 0 victory against Nu'uuli.
JV: SAMOANA SHARKS 14 – NU'UULI WILDCATS 8
The opening match up to kick off week 10 of ASHSAA Football 2015 started with the Junior Varsity battle between the Samoana Sharks, and the Nu'uuli Wildcats JV squads – this game showed a lot of improvements in the up and coming Wildcats football program.
Samoana barely beat the divisional underdogs by just six points, while Nu'uuli capitalized on every mistake made by Samoana.
But, the first half didn't quite go in favor of Nu'uuli, as they were almost shutout throughout the opening half of the game. Midway through the first quarter of play – with just 5:43 remaining, Samoana's second down possession on Nu'uuli's 4-yard line, a pitch play out to Lewis Malala, secured the first six points of the match.
Their extra point conversion – field goal by Elliot Lelei put them in front with a 7-point lead.
Then, suddenly – Samoana's offensive unit led by Kalisi KJ Lotulelei played a first down possession deep inside their red zone — the play was a huge failure when the Sharks witnessed the rushing power of Nu'uuli's defensive unit with Lotulelei immediately sacked in the back field by Nu'uuli's Siliato Tufele.
That sack which came late in the second quarter of the match brought Nu'uuli back to trail Samoana 7 - 2.
Suddenly, with Samoana fuming on offense, their last offensive series of the second quarter gave comfort – Samoana's first down possession from their own 40-yard line, and Lotulelei turned to the sidelines to fire a quick pass to his slot receiver Jurgen Krusen.
With just 11 seconds remaining in the first half, Krusen secured that catch, bounced back to the inside to utilize his blockers, and then he was off to the races, as Krusen couldn't be caught on his way into the end zone, to record his first touchdown of the game – extending their lead to 14 - 2 after the field goal conversion by Lelei.
The second half of the match was a struggle for Samoana, as they were shut down by Branson Pualau and the Wildcats defensive unit – they were scoreless throughout the whole second half.
Not the Wildcats – midway through the second half of play, and Nu'uuli shocked the Sharks with a stunning air raid that brought them back to life.
Nu'uuli's third down possession at midfield, and AJ Talafu dropped back to air out the play action pass to wide open Joseph Mauga, who secured that catch, and stormed into the end zone to record Nu'uuli's first touchdown of the game.
That touchdown brought Nu'uuli back to trail the Sharks 14 - 8, unfortunately for the Wildcats, the only thing that stood between them and a comeback, was time. At the end of the game, the final score remained the same.
SAMOA NEWS JV PLAYER OF THE GAME
Samoa News selected Samoana High School's sophomore wide receiver – Jurgen Krusen as the Player of the Game for their match up against Nu'uuli last Thursday. Krusen helped the Sharks by scoring the winning touchdown, and the game concluded 14 - 8 in favor of Samoana.