Lions victorious over the Warriors in both divisions

tony@samoanews.com

Head coach Oakland Salave’a and his mighty Lions collected their third victory of the regular season — in the varsity and JV divisions — after a stunning performance during the 9th week of the current American Samoa High School Athletics Association (ASHSAA) football season.

Coverage of the 2017-18 ASHSAA games is sponsored by Congresswoman Aumua Amata.

The Warrior Nation suffered their second loss of the season last week at the hands of Leone.

The huge improvement for Leone is the throwing ability of Lions quarterback Oakland Salave’a, who is slowly adapting to pocket passing.

For Tafuna, the majority of its major starting players —Tala Sufia, Panapa Filoiali’i, Elton Titania, AJ Talafu, Marvin Atuatasi — were seen unsuited and on the sidelines last Friday evening to support their teammates.

VARSITY DIVISION

LEONE 44, TAFUNA 26

Leone’s offensive unit shocked the Warriors from the opening quarter, when they came out in their opening drive of the game and put six on the board – just like that.

2:14 in the first quarter, Leone third down on Tafuna’s 15-yard line, and Iverson Ta’ase with the option keeper marches straight up the middle for the opening touchdown of the game.

The two point conversion was intercepted by Warriors #24 inside the end zone for a turnover.

The absence of Tafuna’s starting quarterback Tala Sufia was felt by the Warriors last Friday evening, as they could barely get things going on offense.

Pene Fa’avae, their starting wide receiver, took the helm for Tafuna’s offense for the first time this season.

Even though this was his first game under center, Fa’avae displayed some impressive quarterback skills, scoring on the ground game with two quarterback keepers.

2:27 in the second quarter, and Tafuna spots a desperate second and goal situation on Leone’s 1-yard line; from there, Fa’avae with the tuck and run, scored the opening touchdown for the Warriors. The two point conversion was denied by Api So’oalo and the Lions defense, and the teams were tied up at six a piece.

1:30 remaining in the opening half of play, and Leone strikes again. Lions second and long inside the red zone, and Nathan Harmon takes the rock straight up the middle on a counter play to score Leone’s second touchdown of the game, a 15-yard reception that extended Leone’s lead, 12-6.

7:28 into the second half of play, and Leone strikes again, This time, in the air, when Konelio Feagia’i threw a quick receiver screen pass out to the Iron Man, Raymond Paulo.

The play was good for a Leone touchdown after Paulo caught and evaded three defenders into the end zone with a 15-yard touchdown reception.

The two point conversion was a post route pass from Feagia’i to Antwan Legget and it gave the Lions a 20-6 lead over Tafuna.

2:31 remaining in the third quarter of play, and Fa’avae leads Tafuna up to Leone’s two-yard line, for a first down situation; from there, Fa’avae ran in his second quarterback keeper for a touchdown, inching Tafuna back to trail the Lions 12-20.

1:53 remaining in the third, and Leone opens up their passing game from midfield and score. Lions first down from their own 45-yard line and Konelio Feagia’i hooks up with Raymond Paulo on a wide receiver screen play, turning it upfield for a 55-yard touchdown reception - Paulo’s second touchdown of the game.

The two point conversion — an inside hand off to Iverson Ta’ase - was good and extended their lead 28-12.

59 seconds still in the third quarter, and Tafuna plays an unfortunate second and long situation inside Leone’s 10-yard line, where Fa’avae fumbled the snap and the ball was recovered by Eddie Siaumau who took it to the end zone for six, Leone’s first defensive touchdown of the game.

Following a two point attempt, Leone extended their lead 36-12.

Opening up the final quarter of play was Pene Fa’avae showing off his throwing abilities.

11:03 in the 4th quarter, Tafuna with the third and long from midfield, and Fa’avae bombs a long one to Herman Sufia who caught it on a seam route to the end zone for Sufia’s first touchdown of the game.

4:03 in the final quarter of play, and Tafuna was on the verge of a comeback.

Pene Fa’avae and Koison Ozu marched the chains downfield, and spotted a first and goal for the Warriors, where Fa’avae tucked and ran with the ball, jumped over the pile on and into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game.

The two point conversion to Ozu was stopped immediately by Danielson of Leone behind the line of scrimmage for a loss.

2:11 remaining in the game and Tafuna’s defensive unit pulls through, pinning Leone deep in their own territory, and causing a safety in the end zone, inching the Warriors back to trail the Lions 26-36.

The Warriors thought it was over. But Leone’s defense turned up the heat after delivering the kick off to the Warriors, when they stopped Tafuna in their final drive of the game.

Siaumau scored the Lions final touchdown of the match, his second touchdown of the game.

The two point conversion on the tuck and run by Ta’ase was good enough to seal the deal with a 44-26 victory.

JUNIOR VARSITY

LEONE 16, TAFUNA 6

The Lions offense, led by Oakland Salave’a, didn’t hesitate to get on the board in their opening drive of the game.

Leone's second and goal from Tafuna’s 10-yard line, and Salave’a rolls out to his far side to find Charlie Vai’au in the end zone for his first touchdown catch of the game.

The two point conversion by #22 was good and gave them an early 8-point lead.

2:15 remaining in the opening quarter of the game and Leone strikes again.

Lions first and five from Tafuna’s 25-yard line and Salave’a dumps a screen pass to Ron Fuala’au who caught and ran it straight up the middle for their second touchdown of the game.

The two point attempt by Joshua Taani secured a 16-point lead.

Tafuna’s offense, who didn’t field Francisco Mauigoa at all, brought in Francisco’s brother, Pa’apa’a Mauigoa — a starting wide receiver — to play quarterback during the match up against the Lions.

Pa’apa’a Mauigoa had a rough start from the opening  but slowly adjusted into the second quarter of play. With just 26 seconds remaining in the first half, Mauigoa fired a long one to #80 for their first touchdown of the game, a 25-yard reception that brought Tafuna back to trail the Lions 6-16 going into half time.

The second half of play was a defensive showdown between the two western teams, as both offenses couldn’t convert on downs. It was a scoreless second half as the Lions defense, led by Cyan Fiatoa and Joshua Taani, claimed a 16-6 victory over Tafuna.

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