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The Arts Council's 37th Annual Holiday Music Festival

Supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts
photos: Tony Gasu & Jeff Hayner
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The Arts Council's 37th Annual Holiday Music Festival

Supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts
photos: Tony Gasu & Jeff Hayner
YouTube 
See video
See video


SON OF AMERICAN SAMOA AND OREGON QB MARCUS MARIOTA WINS HEISMAN

NEW YORK (AP) -- Marcus Mariota, the prototypical 21st-century quarterback, took an old-fashioned approach to become Oregon's first Heisman Trophy winner.

The Ducks' understated star won the Heisman on Saturday night going away, capping a three-year climb to college football's most prestigious individual award.

"I'm humbled to be standing here today," Mariota said, reading an acceptance speech he had a hard time getting through without choking up.

A pinpoint passer with wide-receiver speed, Mariota came into his junior season as the favorite to win the 80th Heisman and delivered a performance that turned the presentation ceremony at a theater in Times Square into a foregone conclusion.

Mariota received twice as many points as second-place finisher Melvin Gordon, the record-breaking running back from Wisconsin. The other finalist, Alabama receiver Amari Cooper, was third.

Mariota received the second-highest percentage of possible points (90.92) in Heisman history, behind only Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith, who had 91.63 in 2006. Southern California tailback Reggie Bush received 91.77 percent of possible points in 2005, but his victory was later vacated for violating NCAA rules.

The first Hawaii native to win the Heisman has accounted for a Pac-12-record 53 touchdowns (38 passing, 14 rushing and one receiving) while directing the Ducks' warp-speed spread offense. He also led Oregon to a spot in the first College Football Playoff.

It will be a matchup of Heisman-winning quarterbacks in the Rose Bowl semifinal Jan. 1 with Mariota and the second-seeded Ducks facing Florida State and Jameis Winston.

Mariota has been making a whirlwind tour up the East Coast collecting trophies. First stop, Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, to pick up an armful of hardware. Next stop, Baltimore for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He took a train to New York on Saturday morning. It was his first time on a train and his first time in the Big Apple.

"It's breathtaking, really," he said of the city hours before being announced as the winner. "I've never been around so many skyscrapers and lights and people. It's definitely been a different feel, but it's cool."

In an era when so many Heisman winners seemingly come from out of nowhere - the last two were the first freshmen winners - Mariota's rise was slow and steady.

Three of the last four Heisman winners were in their first seasons as starters, including Cam Newton, who won the award in his only season at Auburn after transferring from a junior college. Before Newton, three straight sophomores won the award (Tim Tebow of Florida, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Mark Ingram of Alabama). Tebow was the first sophomore winner.

Like Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Winston, the previous two winners, Mariota started as a redshirt freshman. It didn't take long for him to establish himself as a star, but unlike Johnny Football and Famous Jameis, Mariota wasn't the face of college football in his first season.

In his second season he was even better, putting up numbers that rivaled those of Heisman finalist quarterbacks Winston, Manziel, AJ McCarron and Jordan Lynch, but when it came time to vote for the Heisman, Mariota was forgotten. He didn't even finish in the top 10 in 2013.

This season Mariota was the man to beat from the start and nobody could touch him. Except for a blip in early October, when the Ducks lost to Arizona, Mariota exceeded the hype.

He leads the nation in passer rating (186.2), is fifth in total offense (342.5 yards per game) and has led the Ducks to a Pac-12 title with a chance to play for their first national championship.

Of course, patience and poise have defined Mariota's career. He didn't start for his high school team until he was a senior - then led Saint Louis in Honolulu to a state title.

A quiet leader with a nice-guy reputation, Mariota brought no off-field baggage to this Heisman ceremony. After a season beset by off-field troubles, including a school hearing into sexual assault allegations, Winston wasn't a finalist this time around.

Mariota has another year of eligibility, but he's been in Eugene, Oregon, for four years and is on target to graduate soon. He has yet to declare for the NFL draft, but he has likely played his last home game at Autzen Stadium.

Mariota passes the NFL eye test, too. He could have been a high draft pick last year, and his stock has only gone up this season.

Oregon's only Heisman finalists before Mariota were quarterback Joey Harrington in 2001 and running back LaMichael James in 2010. For Harrington, Oregon, with Nike's help, put up a billboard in Times Square to promote their Heisman candidate.

Oregon didn't need a billboard to get the word out about Mariota. His play provided all the publicity he needed.

Marcus Mariota spoke of the aspirations of Polynesian youth, ended his acceptance by saying "fa'afetai tele lava" and during a pre-announcement interview spoke about the brotherhood of Hawaii football players wherever they play in college.  Below he demonstrated his solidarity and after game friendship with fellow Polynesians by gathering with Hawaii Oregon Duck teammate, Wade Keli'ikipi and USC Hawaii Trojan Abe Markowitz and another unidentified teammate after the Oregon 2012 victory over USC in the LA Memorial Coliseum.  Photo Courtesy Markowitz Family Archives.

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WATCH VIDEO: ZENA IESE CALLS EMERGING LEADERS CONFERENCE “LIFE CHANGING”

Records two short documentaries during conference
blue@samoanews.com

American Samoa was represented during the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue conference (EPLD) 2014 by 33-year-old Zena Iese of Amanave and Afao, and Josie Malepeai, an employee of the USDA Farm Service Agency.
 
The goal of the Conference, according to epld.net is “to strengthen the capacity of the Pacific region’s future leaders to manage challenges collaboratively, positively, and creatively.”
 
An independent media specialist and independent contractor, Iese said he attended the opening ceremony in New Caledonia and spent three days there before the delegates were sent to different Pacific island nations to carry out study tours.
 
In his case, Iese said, he was sent to Fiji with eleven other delegates representing nine different Pacific nations. The conference was held October 16-28.
 
“This was the first time for me to visit that side of the world and not only was it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, it was also a life changing experience that I will never forget,” Iese told Samoa News last Friday.
 
He said he was fortunate to be chosen, as his application was among a pool of 700+ submissions from around the Pacific region.
 
The Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue Conference is held every four years and Iese is already beginning the push to have the territory host the next event, or even future conferences.
 
“The conference brings together emerging leaders to promote good governance for their countries,” Iese explained. “Leaders from different industries were present and for me, I was in the category of independent film while Malepeai represented the federal government.”
 
Initially, there were supposed to be 110 delegates involved, but only 81 showed up.
 
“Being part of the EPLD has definitely opened my eyes to that side of the world and how to connect with them,” Iese said. “If we really want to get somewhere with our economy  and structure, all we need to do is look to the people who are going through the same things, specifically our brothers and sisters in the neighboring Pacific islands.”
 
He continued, “We are so tied up in the American world and their way of life, when there are others out there going through the same thing and their methods are working for them.”
 
Iese said he was able to compete two documentaries in a matter of six days, footage that can be viewed through the Samoa News website and Facebook page.
 
The documentaries — one that is four minutes long and another, an eight-minute piece — include recordings on both land and air.
 
He said during his study tour of Fiji, he and the other delegates were able to go around the island and get a first hand look at the economic machines that drive Fiji, as well as learn about how they are moving forward.
 
“We looked at Fiji as a role model for other Pacific islands, and we discussed how we can incorporate their methods,” Iese explained, adding that Fiji has “been at it since the 1800s, and although their economy took many hits with unstable political issues in the past, resilience kept them going and now they continue to grow, with exports like Pure Fiji and Fiji Water which are exported to worldwide destinations.
 
He said he collected data and was given the chance to make a presentation before Princess Anne, who is a member of the Conference Board.
 
Iese’s presentation was about his findings in Fiji, specifically the social, political, and economic arenas, and what solutions we would come up with.
 
“It was great getting feedback and being in the presence of all these world leaders,” Iese said. “We were able to rub shoulders with the High Commissioner of Australia, Princess Anne, the President of Fiji, and others who hold key positions in different countries and nations around the Pacific. Their goal is to groom the leaders of the future and they understand that if the Pacific islands work together, everyone would realize that we are not separated by the ocean but instead, we are connected by it,” Iese said.
 
Two of the biggest issues discussed during the conference, said Iese, were climate change and domestic violence.
 
“For Fiji, the issue is the erosion of lands through water,” Iese explained. He said there would be a drought and then the island would be hit with heavy rainfall which floods most of the land. He recalled how they were returning to their hotels when they got caught up in a flood. He said the water completely covered the bridge and residents were walking around like it was nothing. “They weren’t panicking because they are used to it. Our van couldn't make it across the bridge so we waited. Fifteen minutes later, people were out there taking selfies of the flood. It’s an everyday problem for them.”
 
Iese said that during the conference, someone said that “Samoans want to be first in everything”. He said, “It was evident that this was true because Samoans from New Zealand and Australia were speaking up, speaking their minds during discussions. I had a sense of pride just seeing that.”
 
He said “The reason why we have it so strong is because we are of a small island nation, where unity is still easier to control, unlike Papua New Guinea where they are dealing with 800 different clans and dialects, everyone speaks different languages. But we are all going through similar problems. The conference opened our eyes to the ways they solve their problems there, giving us a different look as far as solutions.”
 
Iese said he had an ‘awesome experience’ and he wants to meet with Governor Lolo to share the information he has, “and see what they want to do with it.” He said he also wants to make contact with other key leaders in the territory, including young people who are potential leaders in both the government and private sector.
 
In the meantime, Iese said he looks forward to the next EPLD Conference, which is set for 2018.
 
He wanted to express his gratitude to Samoa News; Terry Custodio Auva'a; Mapu Jamias and Iligainoa Gebauer; Jonathan Fanene, Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr., and Pa’u Roy Ausage and the entire Dept. of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA) crew; Ethan Lake and the American Samoa Amateur Wrestling Association; his parents Tolua and Wika Iese; and his siblings Leotina, Teka, and Andrew for making it possible for him to take part in the EPLD 2014.

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Football 2014 Regular Season coming to a close

tony@samoanews.com

The American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) 2014 Football Season will end its regular season schedule this upcoming Saturday, with the biggest rivalry of the league in the ‘Battle of the Toa’ — to take place for the second time this season, with Tafuna High School going into the battle undefeated, while Fagaitua High School can taste victory, as they nearly won (34- 38) during their rival match in the first round of the ASHSAA season.

 

Coverage of the 2014- 15 ASHSAA Football season is brought to you by Powerade and Coca-Cola, distributed exclusively by GHC Reid & Co. Ltd. — Oloa O Leala — Your Family of Fine Beverages.

 

This past Saturday morning showcased the Vikings stomping all over the Wildcats in a lopsided match up which favored Fagaitua in both halves. However, even though Nu’uuli lost 37 - 0, they made a great defensive stand against the Vikings in the first half of the game — keeping Fagaitua at 18 - 0 in the first half.

 

Teams like Tafuna, Leone, and Samoana would’ve surely blown the Wildcats off the field before half-time incurring the Mercy Rule – but Fagaitua had a hard time against the Wildcats as Head Coach Atafua and his staff did what they could to hold onto the game.

 

In the second game of the day – the Rivalry match up (Clash of the Titans) between the Samoana Sharks and the Leone Lions had the crowd on the edge of their seats, as Samoana ended up disappointed again, remaining puzzled — as how to defeat the Lions, who’ve claimed victory in both rival meetings in this year’s season.

 

Despite their loss, Samoana had the upper hand in the passing game, but it was just no match for the Lions speedy Folasa Vili and Iki Tuileta, who led the Lions to roar victory over the Sharks, 26- 18.

 

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Samoa News selected Leone High School’s All Purpose player (Running Back/ Receiver/ Linebacker/ Safety) Folasa “Frost” Vili as the Player of the Week for ASHSAA Football Week No.11.

 

PLAY OF THE WEEK

Samoa News selected Fagaitua High School’s Ferrin Manuleleua’s sweep play for a 41-yard touchdown as the Play of the Week.

 

YouTube 
See video
See video
See video


Football 2014 Regular Season coming to a close

tony@samoanews.com

The American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) 2014 Football Season will end its regular season schedule this upcoming Saturday, with the biggest rivalry of the league in the ‘Battle of the Toa’ — to take place for the second time this season, with Tafuna High School going into the battle undefeated, while Fagaitua High School can taste victory, as they nearly won (34- 38) during their rival match in the first round of the ASHSAA season.

 

Coverage of the 2014- 15 ASHSAA Football season is brought to you by Powerade and Coca-Cola, distributed exclusively by GHC Reid & Co. Ltd. — Oloa O Leala — Your Family of Fine Beverages.

 

This past Saturday morning showcased the Vikings stomping all over the Wildcats in a lopsided match up which favored Fagaitua in both halves. However, even though Nu’uuli lost 37 - 0, they made a great defensive stand against the Vikings in the first half of the game — keeping Fagaitua at 18 - 0 in the first half.

 

Teams like Tafuna, Leone, and Samoana would’ve surely blown the Wildcats off the field before half-time incurring the Mercy Rule – but Fagaitua had a hard time against the Wildcats as Head Coach Atafua and his staff did what they could to hold onto the game.

 

In the second game of the day – the Rivalry match up (Clash of the Titans) between the Samoana Sharks and the Leone Lions had the crowd on the edge of their seats, as Samoana ended up disappointed again, remaining puzzled — as how to defeat the Lions, who’ve claimed victory in both rival meetings in this year’s season.

 

Despite their loss, Samoana had the upper hand in the passing game, but it was just no match for the Lions speedy Folasa Vili and Iki Tuileta, who led the Lions to roar victory over the Sharks, 26- 18.

 

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Samoa News selected Leone High School’s All Purpose player (Running Back/ Receiver/ Linebacker/ Safety) Folasa “Frost” Vili as the Player of the Week for ASHSAA Football Week No.11.

 

PLAY OF THE WEEK

Samoa News selected Fagaitua High School’s Ferrin Manuleleua’s sweep play for a 41-yard touchdown as the Play of the Week.

 

YouTube 
See video
See video
See video


Football 2014 Regular Season coming to a close

tony@samoanews.com

The American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) 2014 Football Season will end its regular season schedule this upcoming Saturday, with the biggest rivalry of the league in the ‘Battle of the Toa’ — to take place for the second time this season, with Tafuna High School going into the battle undefeated, while Fagaitua High School can taste victory, as they nearly won (34- 38) during their rival match in the first round of the ASHSAA season.

 

Coverage of the 2014- 15 ASHSAA Football season is brought to you by Powerade and Coca-Cola, distributed exclusively by GHC Reid & Co. Ltd. — Oloa O Leala — Your Family of Fine Beverages.

 

This past Saturday morning showcased the Vikings stomping all over the Wildcats in a lopsided match up which favored Fagaitua in both halves. However, even though Nu’uuli lost 37 - 0, they made a great defensive stand against the Vikings in the first half of the game — keeping Fagaitua at 18 - 0 in the first half.

 

Teams like Tafuna, Leone, and Samoana would’ve surely blown the Wildcats off the field before half-time incurring the Mercy Rule – but Fagaitua had a hard time against the Wildcats as Head Coach Atafua and his staff did what they could to hold onto the game.

 

In the second game of the day – the Rivalry match up (Clash of the Titans) between the Samoana Sharks and the Leone Lions had the crowd on the edge of their seats, as Samoana ended up disappointed again, remaining puzzled — as how to defeat the Lions, who’ve claimed victory in both rival meetings in this year’s season.

 

Despite their loss, Samoana had the upper hand in the passing game, but it was just no match for the Lions speedy Folasa Vili and Iki Tuileta, who led the Lions to roar victory over the Sharks, 26- 18.

 

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Samoa News selected Leone High School’s All Purpose player (Running Back/ Receiver/ Linebacker/ Safety) Folasa “Frost” Vili as the Player of the Week for ASHSAA Football Week No.11.

 

PLAY OF THE WEEK

Samoa News selected Fagaitua High School’s Ferrin Manuleleua’s sweep play for a 41-yard touchdown as the Play of the Week.

 

YouTube 
See video
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GHC Reid ASHSAA Football: Still undefeated Tafuna looking to take title again — VIDEO

This past Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, the reigning undefeated champions— the Tafuna Warriors— showed the league that they aren’t about to be beaten when they can field the high caliber players that they have running on both offense and defense. The Warriors turned off the lights for Samoana after sending them home with a 42 - 24 loss to open up the second round of ASHSAA Varsity Football.
 
Coverage of the 2014 ASHSAA Football season is brought to you by Powerade and Coca Cola — distributed exclusively by GHC Reid & Co. Ltd. — Oloa O Leala — “Your Family of Fine beverages”.
 
Tafuna’s first string quarterback Frank Mauigoa remains out due to an injury last weekend against the Vikings, which opened the opportunity for Tito Malae to show what he’s learned since his appearance as QB back in the AYFS league.
 
Malae showed that he, too, has potential, and is looking much better than the quarterback in front of him for Tafuna. He led the Warriors to a 42 - 24 victory against the Sharks, but there was another player on their offense that was selected as the Player of the Week.
 
Vikings 28 - Lions 0
 
The no.2 ranked Fagaitua Vikings showed the Leone Lions no respect, nor any mercy after a game that saw no spark from Folasa Vili of the Lions, but a lot of action from the Vikings Oly Ta’ase and Blessman Ta’ala. Leone wasn’t able to adjust or counter any of the Vikings attacks, as Fagaitua hardly had the ‘ManChild’ Blessman Ta’ala off the field (only a Sophomore).
 
Ramos Fano led the Vikings offensive unit with the pride of his unstoppable backs, and jet speed receivers that confused the Lions on running and passing attacks during their match. The Vikings not only beat Leone, but shut them out to open off the second round of ASHSAA Varsity Football with a 28 - 0 victory.
 
Player of the Week
 
Samoa News selected Tafuna High School Fuava’a Umu, the running back for the Warriors as the Player of the Week for ASHSAA Football Week no.6.
 
Play of the Week
 
Samoa News selected Logan Tago’s interception that was taken all the way back for a 90 yard touchdown.

YouTube 
See video
See video
See video


GHC Reid ASHSAA Football: Still undefeated Tafuna looking to take title again — VIDEO

This past Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, the reigning undefeated champions— the Tafuna Warriors— showed the league that they aren’t about to be beaten when they can field the high caliber players that they have running on both offense and defense. The Warriors turned off the lights for Samoana after sending them home with a 42 - 24 loss to open up the second round of ASHSAA Varsity Football.
 
Coverage of the 2014 ASHSAA Football season is brought to you by Powerade and Coca Cola — distributed exclusively by GHC Reid & Co. Ltd. — Oloa O Leala — “Your Family of Fine beverages”.
 
Tafuna’s first string quarterback Frank Mauigoa remains out due to an injury last weekend against the Vikings, which opened the opportunity for Tito Malae to show what he’s learned since his appearance as QB back in the AYFS league.
 
Malae showed that he, too, has potential, and is looking much better than the quarterback in front of him for Tafuna. He led the Warriors to a 42 - 24 victory against the Sharks, but there was another player on their offense that was selected as the Player of the Week.
 
Vikings 28 - Lions 0
 
The no.2 ranked Fagaitua Vikings showed the Leone Lions no respect, nor any mercy after a game that saw no spark from Folasa Vili of the Lions, but a lot of action from the Vikings Oly Ta’ase and Blessman Ta’ala. Leone wasn’t able to adjust or counter any of the Vikings attacks, as Fagaitua hardly had the ‘ManChild’ Blessman Ta’ala off the field (only a Sophomore).
 
Ramos Fano led the Vikings offensive unit with the pride of his unstoppable backs, and jet speed receivers that confused the Lions on running and passing attacks during their match. The Vikings not only beat Leone, but shut them out to open off the second round of ASHSAA Varsity Football with a 28 - 0 victory.
 
Player of the Week
 
Samoa News selected Tafuna High School Fuava’a Umu, the running back for the Warriors as the Player of the Week for ASHSAA Football Week no.6.
 
Play of the Week
 
Samoa News selected Logan Tago’s interception that was taken all the way back for a 90 yard touchdown.

YouTube 
See video
See video
See video


GHC Reid ASHSAA Football: Still undefeated Tafuna looking to take title again — VIDEO

This past Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, the reigning undefeated champions— the Tafuna Warriors— showed the league that they aren’t about to be beaten when they can field the high caliber players that they have running on both offense and defense. The Warriors turned off the lights for Samoana after sending them home with a 42 - 24 loss to open up the second round of ASHSAA Varsity Football.
 
Coverage of the 2014 ASHSAA Football season is brought to you by Powerade and Coca Cola — distributed exclusively by GHC Reid & Co. Ltd. — Oloa O Leala — “Your Family of Fine beverages”.
 
Tafuna’s first string quarterback Frank Mauigoa remains out due to an injury last weekend against the Vikings, which opened the opportunity for Tito Malae to show what he’s learned since his appearance as QB back in the AYFS league.
 
Malae showed that he, too, has potential, and is looking much better than the quarterback in front of him for Tafuna. He led the Warriors to a 42 - 24 victory against the Sharks, but there was another player on their offense that was selected as the Player of the Week.
 
Vikings 28 - Lions 0
 
The no.2 ranked Fagaitua Vikings showed the Leone Lions no respect, nor any mercy after a game that saw no spark from Folasa Vili of the Lions, but a lot of action from the Vikings Oly Ta’ase and Blessman Ta’ala. Leone wasn’t able to adjust or counter any of the Vikings attacks, as Fagaitua hardly had the ‘ManChild’ Blessman Ta’ala off the field (only a Sophomore).
 
Ramos Fano led the Vikings offensive unit with the pride of his unstoppable backs, and jet speed receivers that confused the Lions on running and passing attacks during their match. The Vikings not only beat Leone, but shut them out to open off the second round of ASHSAA Varsity Football with a 28 - 0 victory.
 
Player of the Week
 
Samoa News selected Tafuna High School Fuava’a Umu, the running back for the Warriors as the Player of the Week for ASHSAA Football Week no.6.
 
Play of the Week
 
Samoa News selected Logan Tago’s interception that was taken all the way back for a 90 yard touchdown.

YouTube 
See video
See video
See video