AYFS officially kicks off 9th football season
The American Youth Football of Samoa (AYFS) League officially kicked off its 9th season at the Veterans Memorial Stadium last Saturday, with a triple header that entertained fans and supporters.
Opening up this year's action were the 49ers and the Bears, the reigning champions who claimed victory after a 38-12 win.
The second match-up was a tight battle between the Rams and the Packers.
The Rams won by a mere 2 points.
BEARS 38 – 49ERS 12
At the quarterback position this year for the Bears is Vaifanua Peko-Vai who led the way for the reigning champs, opening up with a mixture of run-and-pass plays with the help of Marcus Samia and Jared Lotulelei.
1:23 remaining in the opening quarter of the game and the Bears were already knocking on the door from the Niners 2-yard line, after a hard run by Samia. From there, Peko-Vai rolled out of the pocket with the play action pass to find (#48) in the end zone for the opening touchdown of the game.
The two point conversion was a quarterback keeper by Peko-Vai to put them in the lead with 8 points.
The Niners put up a good defensive fight throughout the remainder of the first half – and it wasn’t until the final minutes of the second quarter that the Bears were able to strike again.
1:26 remaining in the first half, and the Bears stick with their ground attack from mid-field. Bears first down from their own 44 yard line, and Peko-Vai sends Travis Lotulelei to the sidelines with a sweep play. He was able to break two tackles on his way to the end zone to score the Bears second touchdown of the game – 64 yard touchdown reception by Jared Lotulelei.
The two point conversion was an inside hand off to Marcus Samia to secure a 16-point lead. Not too long after that, the Niners shocked the Bears with a long run by Steven Sinoti with just 30 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Niners, who were pinned deep in their own territory, managed to get out of the danger zone when Steven Sinoti received the hand off from their own 10 yard line, and ran it all the way downfield for what could’ve been the first touchdown for the Niners.
Instead, Sinoti celebrated a bit too early before crossing the goal line, spotting the Niners a first down on the Bears’ 1 yard line.
With just 13 seconds remaining in the opening half, the Niners punched in their opening touchdown of the game after a quarterback keeper by Meafou – who brought the Niners back to life just before halftime, trailing the Bears 6-16.
The Niners kick off was received by Isaako Fa’atili of the Bears, who returned it all the way back to the end zone for another Bears touchdown with just 3 seconds remaining in the first half.
The two point conversion pass to (#10) was dropped in the end zone and the Bears led 22-6 heading into half time.
6:48 into the third quarter and the Niners find themselves in trouble, deep in their own territory.
49ers first down from their own 5 yard line, and they fumble the ball inside the end zone, a live ball that was recovered by Toalima Tatupu for the Bears 4th touchdown of the game – this time, coming by way of their defensive unit.
The two point conversion was a pass from Samia to Folasatele Galea’i who secured the pass inside the end zone to extend their lead 30-6.
2:09 remaining in the third, and the Bears continue to wreak havoc on the Niners. Peko-Vai, leading the Bears back into the red zone, managed to send Samia straight up the middle with a 5-yard touchdown run to extend their lead 36-6.
The two point conversion was a quarterback keep by Lotulelei who scrambled out of the pocket to find open receiver, then opted to tuck and run it in for two points.
The score was 38-6 heading into the final quarter.
The Niners offensive unit led by Meafou, never gave up and fought to the last seconds of the game.
5:17 remaining, and the Niners who were knocking on the door inside the red zone punched in their second touchdown of the game, after Meafou rolled out to find Sinoti in the end zone and connected for six.
The Niners came back to trail 12-38 but it wasn’t enough to claim victory.
RAMS 8 — PACKERS 6
This match was a close one from the start, as both defensive units came out strong, evident in a scoreless first quarter.
Even though the Rams won, it was the Packers who claimed first blood.
5:48 in the second quarter, and the Packers running game intensified with their power back Ricky Tuilefano.
Packers second down on the Rams 12-yard line, and Ricky storms to the sidelines to find his edge on his way to the end zone for the opening touchdown of the game.
The two point conversion to Ricky was stopped shy of the goal line by Sam Mikaele of the Rams.
The Packers were now leading by six points and they shut out the Rams throughout the remainder of the second and third quarter of play.
It wasn’t until the final quarter that the Rams were able to connect in the air for the tying touchdown of the game.
9:52 remaining and the Rams - in a third and goal situation from the Packers 8 yard line - saw their quarterback Tai’ese roll out of the pocket to fire a pass to Zachary Latu for their first touchdown of the game. The two point conversion was a hand off to Sam Mikaele who powered his way past the goal line against a host of Packers to extend their lead and win the match with a final score of 8-6.
(Samoa News notes that due to a lack of sponsorship, we will only be covering the first two games of these AYFS weekend battles).