PRE-SEASON HUDDLE: LEONE LIONS ROARING AND READY TO COMPETE
The mighty Leone Lions will be coming onto the the American Samoa High School Athletic Associations (ASHSAA) football field this year with some major changes to their team. Changes they are counting on to rack up more titles onto their 18-title championship record —indeed the LHS bragging rights are for the most Championship Titles in ASHSAA Football history.
The Leone Lion pride that was led by Head Coach Pati Pati for the past years, is now starting this 2012- 13 ASHSAA football season with a new Lion King — it’s Head Coach, Arona Samoa, who has been around the sport of football for quite some time.
Arona Samoa told Samoa News that Leone is ready to compete, come August 18th.
According to Samoa, the Lions started practicing two weeks before school ended.
“We started two weeks before school finished, and ever since former head coach Pati Pati stepped down before graduation, we did not have any spring practice or anything like all the other teams are doing right now, but for now we have about sixty kids on JV and Varsity right now and we’re coming a long way from the beginning to this time.”
He told Samoa News that there are a lot of kids coming into the team, and Samoa News witnessed two new players added to their team during practice — they were introduced into the Lion pride for the first time.
“We have a lot of kids coming in, we have a lot of our returning core players for our varsity team, and also we have a lot of transferred players from Marist, and also from Kanana Fou; and right now we are having a hard time trying to implement and getting all these kids together in such a short time… but with the help of God and our coaches that we have right now, I believe we can make it through the season.”
Head Coach Samoa told this reporter that “we still have more kids that are coming from off island, some of our kids that went to the Texas game that are still not back yet, so the number is about sixty to seventy kids we have right now for both junior varsity and varsity.”
Of his new coaching staff, Samoa said they are working hard to create a whole new Leone Lions squad for this year, using experienced coaches.
“The first thing I did when I took over this program, is I went out to look for some coaches that are experienced, and I know that have coached before. I have a bunch of coaches from the AYFS, we have coach Patrick and Shiloh, also Alatasi. A lot of them are coaching in the AYFS level so that’s the main thing I did… I went out and grabbed some of the coaches that have been coaches before… so it’s a big plus for me and I know this program will move on.”
Samoa noted that his “main concern and focus is at the JV level,” because “that will come up in the next three to four years.”
In past years, Samoa News has always asked former head coach Pati Pati who is the main team to beat? He has always responded, “Fagaitua is always the team to beat”.
This year, asked the same question, Samoa told Samoa News he is not focusing on a particular team to beat, instead, “we’ll come and compete. We’ll compete, at whatever level we can — Leone High School is always going to be there so we’re going to come out and compete.”
The new LHS football coach wanted to thank all of those who have supported the Lions throughout their preparations as they are looking forward to the upcoming season
“All the way from the Alataua to Leone the whole west side thank you for your support and as the head coach right now I need all the help that I can get to get this program rolling. All the Alumni and all the people from the west side, please come out and support the Lions, and this year, we’ll come out and do our best for this district. Thank You.”
Samoa News’ pre-season huddle coverage of the 2012- 13 ASHSAA football season is brought to you by Coca-Cola and Powerade, distributed exclusively by GHC Reid & Co. Ltd. ‘Oloa O Leala’, Your Family of Fine Beverages.