This past Saturday morning at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, the American Youth Football of Samoa program officially opened its 7th annual football season – three games kicked off the season, and all three match ups were brutally entertaining.
Samoa News spoke to AYFS President Victor Avalos, who said, “We’ve just opened our 7th season here in American Samoa, it's been a great day, we have a lot of support here from all the parents and fans of AYFS – thank you for supporting us, our motto is 'Do it for the kids', also a thanks to the volunteers.”
Avalos pointed out that there are “a total of 6 teams competing in this year’s season. We have the Raiders and 49ers who cover the western region of the island, then of course the Chargers and the Steelers that cover the central region, and finally the Bears and the Buccaneers that cover the eastern region."
According the AYFS president, "This year’s season is going to have only 1 round, and an extra weekend for playoffs, with this year’s Championship game scheduled for March 26, 2016."
Avalos is a newcomer to the leadership of AYFS program — taking over as president of the AYFS program from founding father of the league. "Shiloh Pritchard was the initial founder and basically we're following the same footprint,” Avalos said. “As to any changes …we're pushing for parents to start helping their kids develop highlight videos and their athletic status with the hopes of college scholarship offers and things like that for the kids’ futures."
In conclusion, the new president acknowledged this season’s league sponsors and those who helped make it possible.
"First we'd like to thank Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and the First Lady, all their departments have been helpful with a lot of resources," he said. “We'd also like to thank ASTCA, DYWA, the Stadium Director Tole'afoa Henry Tavake, DOC, Neil’s ACE Home Center, Tony's Construction, Troy & Theodora Polamalu Foundation, KVZK-TV, and of course Samoa News who's always there for us every year."
Raiders 6 – Bears 42
The opening game of week one concluded favorably in the hands of the AYFS reigning Champions, the Bears – but at the start of the match, the Raiders were able to score the first six points of the game, and things looked as if they were going their way.
Until that is, the AYFS Bears from Pago Pago answered with their first touchdown of the game in the opening quarter – from then on, the Mageo twins on the Bears defensive unit led their squad to shutting out the Raiders for the rest of the game. The Bears dominated the rest of the match and concluded their effort on a high note with a vicious 42-6
Steelers 20 – Buccaneers 26
The second match up of the day was the most interesting and entertaining of the triple header season opener – the Steelers dominated viciously in the first half of the game, running all over the Bucc's defensive unit, and shutting out their offense throughout the first half. At half time, the Steelers were ahead 20 - 0.
It wasn't until the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, that the Bucc's came on the field looking like a way different squad compared to the first half – with Head Coach Sua'ese Pooch Ta'ase adjusting his overall team strategy from their mistakes in the first half.
The Buccaneers came back and scored four touchdowns and two 2-point conversions for a miraculous comeback, to win over the Steelers 26-20.
49ers 60 – Chargers 24
The final match of opening day wasn't a surprise at all for those who've followed AYFS throughout the past years of the season – the 49ers reckoned as one of the powerhouse teams in the league, crucially punished the Chargers in the opening half of the game, with what almost looked like a shut out.
The Niners clearly led by 30 points midway through the second quarter of the game – until the Chargers stepped up their game, and scored their first touchdown on a 34-yard quarterback scramble that sparked the Chargers on their way back.
For the Chargers, all that stood between them and winning, was time and the 49ers unstoppable running back – Koizon Ozu who racked up 5 touchdowns to slay their opponents in week one of AYFS Football, as the Niners defensive unit led by Head Coach Loso I'aulualo stopped the Chargers short in their 60 - 24 victory for the record book.