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AYFS Red All-Stars rally from behind to win over the Blue All-Stars

 The Red All-Star team’s offensive unit setting up to snap off against the Blue All-Star team’s vicious  first half defense. [photo: TG]Steven Sinoti of the Blue All-Star team loses the football before he is tackled by a Red team defender during the opening half of the All-Star game last Saturday morning. The Red team won 14-8. [photo: TG]AYFS President Victor Avalos awarding Sue Luamanu of the Blue All-Star team the Defensive Player of the Game trophy. Luamanu is from the AYFS Panthers team from Tafuna. [photo: TG]

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — During the closing of the 9th American Youth Football of Samoa (AYFS) season last Saturday morning, the final double header kicked off with the Red and Blue All-Star battle that concluded in favor of the Red All-Star team, led by Head Coach Kirifi Ofagalilo, who led the AYFS Packers to No.3 in ranking this year. Leading the Blue All-Star team was Head Coach Loso I’aulualo and Travis Shalhout of the AYFS Panthers.

The Blue All-Star team featured players from the AYFS Panthers and 49ers – the Red All-Star team was made up of players from the AYFS Steelers and Packers.

During the closing ceremony, the All-Star Most Valuable Player (MVP) was awarded to the athletes who delivered the goods.

Defensive Player of the Game was awarded to Sue Luamanu (#34) of the Blue All-Star team, and he is from the AYFS Panthers team, while the Offensive Player of the Game was awarded to Red All-Star team’s Paptea Timo from the AYFS Packers.

Red All-Star Team 14 – Blue All-Star Team 8

The Blue All-Star team came out swinging, bringing an unbeatable defense onto the field that would shut out the Red team throughout the opening quarter of play. The Red All-Star’s defense showed a lot of containment as well, assuring a play strategy that paid off during the second half of play.

The Red team's defensive game plan slacked off just a bit in the second quarter, as the Blue team made them pay in the first half.

Their plan was no match for the unstoppable ground game set up by I’aulualo and the boys in blue.

7:28 in the second quarter, and the Blue team, who were playing a third and goal situation on the Red team’s 2 yard line, saw Pilimase Meafou sending Steven Sinoti straight up the middle for the opening touchdown of the game. The two point attempt was a tuck and run by Meafou to secure an 8 point lead.

As the Blue team was celebrating their first touchdown of the game, they were silenced by the Red’s special team during a kick off return play – the kick off after the touchdown was received by Joseph Nanai of the Red team.

They went into a quick huddle with defenders coming downfield, but as they broke out of the huddle, the majority of the Red team scrambled to the far side of the field, and it was Paptea Timo who broke out to the opposite side of the field to find the sidelines, and he was gone with the wind to return the kick off all the way back to the end zone for an 85-yard return for a touchdown, scoring the Red All-Star team's first touchdown of the game late in the second quarter.

The two point attempt was a sweep play out to Ricky Tusitala Sipa, who was stopped immediately in the backfield by Sue Luamanu and a host of Blue defenders.

The Red team now trailed the Blue team by two points 6-8.

Coming on to the field in the second half, the Red All-Star team - who utilized a ground game the majority of the first half – switched off to their air-attack, as Offensive Coordinator Shawn Togia managed to find a weakness in the Blue team’s defensive coverage in the backfield, and took advantage with two good play calls that brought the Red team back to life to take the lead.

2:48 remaining in the third quarter, and the Red team who had just gained 39 yards on a slant pass play by Alfred Maiava to Joseph Gibson Collins, managed to trick the Blue team with two more running plays before they hit the same passing play again to score their second touchdown of the game.

Red team’s third down possession from the Blue team’s 25 yard line, and Maiava rolls out to look for his Hi-Lo receivers on the slant route, as he opted to fire another perfect pass to Collins again who secured his second catch of the game; this time, he took it all the way to the end zone for the Red team's second touchdown of the game.

The Red team now led 12-8.

After that touchdown, the Red team decided to call a time-out, as Offensive Coordinator Togia fixed up one of the hardest two point attempts that allowed the Red team to extend their lead by two points. At the sound of the snap, it was a reverse hand off to Maiava who was lined up at the slot receiver position.

He took the ball behind the line of scrimmage as if he was going to go for it, but it was a strategy that only lured the defense towards him, leaving a wide open Joseph Nanai in the end zone for a perfect two point play that gave the Red team a 14-8 lead — to win the ball game.

The Red All-Star team’s conservative defensive strategy paid off in the second half, as they changed it up to an aggressive look throughout the second half to deny any attempts by the Blue team towards the end zone.