ASHSAA Football Week No. 5 – Warriors remain undefeated
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — This past weekend concluded the fifth week of the American Samoa High School Athletic Association’s football action at the Veterans Memorial Stadium – officially closing off round one of this year’s season with some explosive match ups in the Varsity Division leaving the Tafuna Warriors as the only undefeated team in both Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions.
Congresswoman Aumua Amata proudly sponsors this coverage of the 2018- 19 ASHSAA High School Football season.
TAFUNA WARRIORS 20 – FAGA’ITUA VIKINGS 14
The battle between these two undefeated teams had to conclude with one of them taking a fall, and unfortunately for the pride of the Eastern Star, it was the Big Red Machine who fell just shy of a victory last Saturday against the Warriors in a very close match up in their first meeting of the season.
Although it was the Warriors who claimed victory in this match – It was the Faga’itua Vikings who scored the first six points of the game on a defensive touchdown return early in the opening quarter of the match. Tafuna’s first offensive possession, a fourth and long obvious punting situation, turned sour for the Warriors when Advent Migi and a host of Vikings broke through Tafuna’s blockers and stopped the punt that was picked up by Zion Esekia, and returned to the end zone for a 15-yard defensive touchdown for the Vikings as they led the match 6 - 0 early in this one.
It wasn’t until late in the opening quarter that the Warrior Nation finally answered back with a first and goal at the Vikings 3 yard line after Faga’itua was penalized with a 15-yard pass interference penalty – Francisco Mauigoa sent Ben Tuimaseve straight up the middle for Tafuna’s first touchdown of the match. Their two-point attempt was Mauigoa scrambling towards the sidelines and tucking pass the goal line to bring the Warriors back to take the lead by two points 8 - 6.
This match was a defensive battle between both teams that both offenses were turned away inside the red zone at some point, and turnovers due to fumbles by both teams, an interception by the Vikings and the match came down to who made more mistakes.
The match finally came down to who made more mistakes, as the Warriors regretted their decision to touch a live ball during a Viking punt on fourth down – The punt that was sent over to the Warriors saw one of the Tafuna players coming up to the live ball, touching it, then leaving as the Viking now swarmed to recover the live fumble inside Tafuna territory for another shot to score.
It’s 1:12 remaining in the first half, and Faga’itua’s first offensive play after the punt recovery was a long pass from Migi to Fiso who hauled it in inside the end zone to score the Vikings second touchdown of the game, bringing the score 8 - 14.
It was a heavily contested match between both teams that it wasn’t until late in the third quarter that the Warriors were finally able to open up – Warriors third and long from their own 32 yard line and Mauigoa charged up a long pass to Pulenu’u Fono, who secured that pass and nearly broke for a touchdown, but the touchdown saving tackle by Fiso spotted Tafuna a huge first down at the Vikings 5 yard line. From there, Mauigoa sent Panapa Filoiali’i straight up the middle for Tafuna’s second touchdown of the game to tie things up at 14 a piece.
Their two point conversion saw Zion Esekia bringing down Mauigoa in the backfield to deny their PAT as they went into the final quarter of play with a tied ball game.
It’s 8:27 in the fourth quarter, and the Warriors who broke loose from the Vikings 15 yard line, after Mauigoa sent Koison Ozu to the sidelines with a pitch play to the far side, Ozu broke two tackles from there and muscled his way pass defenders to take this one in for Tafuna’s third touchdown of the game, extending their lead 20 - 14.
Their two point attempt saw Mauigoa brought down immediately in the backfield by Advent Migi to deny their PAT.
The Vikings sidelines were disappointed after seeing two touchdowns by Advent Migi called back due to penalties late in the ball game. Faga’itua’s second down from the Warriors 15 yard line, and Migi broke through center field with the ball and crossed the goal line for a Vikings touchdown – But was called back to due a holding inside the trenches that would only cost the Vikings 10 yards backwards from the spot of the foul.
Faga’itua’s very next play saw Migi looking for an open receiver in the backfield, when he didn’t Migi again scrambled with the ball, this time from the 25 yard line, Migi weaved his way through defenders, breaking tackles and broke loose to the open field to scoring his second touchdown in a row – That would again be called back, this time, an illegal block in the back penalty that would frustrate the Vikings.
Finally when the Warriors had possession, Mauigoa and his offense went into victory formation and knee’d this one out to take home another victory for the Warrior Nation with a 20 - 14 victory.
LEONE LIONS 34 – NU’UULI WILDCATS 14
The Leone Lions and the Nu’uuli Wildcats each went into this one without a key player – Leone Lions quarterback MJ Danielson, who was ejected during their last showdown against the Warriors causing a one game suspension; and for the Wildcats, they were without Joseph Mauga, their star running back, who is representing American Samoa in the Youth Olympic Games being held in Argentina.
The Wildcats were the ones who drew first blood — this was the first time Nu’uuli scored first in any of their match ups this season. Nu’uuli’s first down at the Lions 10-yard line and Jerry Isaako fired a quick slant pass to Talaga inside the end zone for the first six points of the match.
It didn’t take long for the Lions to answer – With Irvinson Ta’ase at center, the Lions had the advantage of a mobile quarterback, as they moved the chains downfield and inside Wildcats territory. Leone’s first down from Nu’uuli’s 30-yard line and Ta’ase fired a quick pass to Antwan Legget on a fade route to scoring the Lions first touchdown of the match. Their PAT was a quarterback keeper by Ta’ase and Leone takes the lead by two points early in the first quarter.
Late in the opening quarter of the match, and Fa’alologo Faimalo scored the Lions second touchdown of the match after receiving a counter hand off from Ta’ase, extending their lead to 14 – 6. Wildcats denied them their PAT.
It was 8:27 remaining in the second quarter and the Lions who were playing a second and ten from midfield, decided to go to Antwan Legget with a jet sweep to the middle that Legget turned up for six – A 45 yard run for Legget to scoring the Lions third touchdown of the game.
Their two point attempt was good after Faimalo crossed the plain and punched in the 2 point conversion for the Lions to extend their lead 22 - 6.
Midway through the opening half of play and the Wildcats were finally able to answer back with a 3 yard sweep play to Faletua who punched in Nu’uuli’s second touchdown of the match after muscling his way through defenders on that 3 yard run. Their two point conversion was a quick pass to Vincent Tulouna was good enough for two as Nu’uuli came back to trail the Lions 22 - 14.
In the second half, Lions Ta’ase scores his first TD of the match, Leone’s 4th of the game; and Lions’ Faimalo scores Leone’s fifth one, extending their lead 34 - 14.
It’s with 1:12 remaining in the ball game and Nu’uuli was on the verge of scoring their third touchdown of the game – Wildcats third and goal from the Lions 10-yard line — when a fight broke out at centerfield between both teams offensive lines, escalating into a huge brawl that would include players on the field at the time.
The coaching staff from both sidelines entered the field and broke up the fight, pulling their players out of the brawl and sending them to the sidelines – Meanwhile, head official Vaovasa ‘Vicious’ Siu signaled that the incident would conclude the ball game with the Lions on top 34 - 14.
(See tomorrows Samoa News issue for the Junior Varsity & JPS story and photos also sponsored and brought to you by Congresswoman Aumua Amata)