Bears and Rams to battle for the 2018 AYFS Championship title
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — This past weekend at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, the American Youth Football of Samoa (AYFS) held its 2018 league semifinals - a double header that concluded in favor of the defending league champs, the AYFS Bears who defeated the Steelers in a dominating 20-6 victory to seal their spot in the championship game this Saturday; and the AYFS Rams who defeated the Packers in an astounding 22-14 win.
Before everyone could enjoy the match ups, complaints from the players, referees and spectators were heard loud and clear by Samoa News as they couldn’t bear the industrial smoke that hovered over the Stadium throughout the whole day of football action – A smoke that most complaints rumored was coming from the Paramount Builders site next to the stadium, emitting a strong burning tar odor which had most players and officials coughing their heads off.
Even though this had somewhat of an affect on everyone’s mood, it wan't enough to stop the games from proceeding as players, coaches, and officials of AYFS toughed it out to continue with the scheduled match ups, with the hopes that EPA or someone could do something about it.
AYFS Bears 20 – AYFS Steelers 6
The opening match up of the day started with an aggressive defensive start for the Bears, as they were the ones who provided the defending champions with the first six points of the match
1:48 in the opening quarter of play, and the Steelers offense were playing a third down possession from their own 25 yard line.
A play that went sour for the Steelers when an inside hand off to Coriander Sofeni was fumbled after he was hit hard by Xavier Aviu at the line of scrimmage. The live ball was immediately picked up by Prodieus Lutu-Fuga and he stormed out to the end zone to score the opening touchdown for the Bears early in the ball game.
The two point conversion was a pitch play out to Marcus Samia who broke two tackles on his way to crossing the goal line to give the Bears an 8 point lead.
Bears Quarterback Vaifanua Peko-Vai had two huge carries that helped the Bears in their second end zone appearance of the first half.
7:24 in the second quarter of play and Peko-Vai who couldn’t find an open receiver, managed to tuck and run with the ball, gaining numerous yards on two good carries which helped his offense with a threatening down inside the red zone.
From the Steelers 5 yard line, Peko-Vai was able to pitch it out to Marcus Samia for a 5 yard touchdown reception.
The Steelers offense couldn’t bear the harsh defensive strategy by the Bears. They couldn’t even get things going into the second half of play.
The Bears' offensive unit on the other hand were still unveiling their passing game, a strategy that played well for them in opportunities for their running game, after Marcus Samia had two huge carries to bring the Bears back to the red zone in the final quarter of the match.
6:50 remaining in the ball game, and the Bears were knocking at the door again from within the red zone. A first and goal for the Bears and Peko-Vai sends Ieti Ga’opoa straight up the middle for their third touchdown of the match, extending their lead by 20 points.
The two point play was a field goal conversion by Peko-Vai which was far right of the goal posts. With just 10 second remaining in the ball game, the Steelers fought their way back into the red zone after some good ball work adjustments between Coriander Sofeni and Joseph Nanai. Coming in from a time out, Offensive Coordinator Shawn Togia engineered just the right play to claim their first six points of the match after Joseph Nanai pump faked to his receiver and decided to tuck and run with the ball to the far side of the field, crossing the goal line and scoring their first touchdown of the match.
The two point conversion was a reverse pass to Nanai that was denied by the Bears' vicious defense, as they claimed victory again and remaining the only undefeated team in the league with a 20 - 6 victory.
AYFS Rams 22 – AYFS Packers 14
The Packers defensive unit gave the Rams a run for their money as both teams had a hard time getting off the ball in the opening quarter of the match. The Rams who made some adjustments midway in the first quarter managed to spot the Packers inside the end zone for a safety after Wylan Faga who carried the rock for the Packers was forced back into the end zone by three Ram defenders and spotted a safety that gave the Rams the early two point lead.
Not too long after receiving the safety kick off from the Packers, the Rams immediately went to the ground game with Sam Mikaele, spotting them another first down opportunity on the Packers 35 yard line.
From there, the Rams brought in their ‘Boom Bullet’ Sacrie Latu who got the hand off from quarterback Taiese Saofaigaalii and stormed straight through the middle, breaking tackles and speeding out to the end zone for the Rams first touchdown of the game.
The two point attempt was an inside hand off to Mikaele who rammed his way past the goal line and sealed their 10 point lead in the opening quarter of the match.
It was a tough defensive hold from both teams, but it wasn’t until the third quarter that the Rams caught the Packers slipping again when their ‘Boom Bullet’ was allowed another chance for a carry.
8:22 into the third quarter, and the Rams who were playing a third down possession from their own 20 yard line, managed to send Latu straight up the middle and out to the open field for an 80 yard run for a Rams touchdown, Latu’s second touchdown carry of the day.
The two point conversion hand off to Mikaele was denied by Wylan Faga and a host of Packers defenders just shy of the goal line.
Just when the Rams were fired up with a 16 point lead, the Packers decided to water out the flames and silenced the Rams sideline with an astounding carry by Faga.
7:22 still in the third quarter and the Packers who were playing a third and long possession from midfield, managed to go to the ground game on third down after two incomplete passes from Alfred Maiava, they decided to send Faga straight up the middle with the rock, as Faga broke two tackles on his way to scoring the Packers first touchdown of the game.
The two point conversion was a quarterback keeper by Maiava which was good enough to bring the Packers to trail the Rams 8-16.
3:33 still in the third quarter, the Packers decide to stick to their running game again, which was the only thing that seemed to work for them. Packers second down from their own 38 yard line and they managed to go with Paptea Timo, a sweep play to Timo as he side stepped his way towards the sidelines and out to the open field for the Packers second touchdown of the game. The two point attempt was denied by the Rams as the Packers came back to trail by two points 14-16.
Just when the Packers started to get their favorable rhythm in place, the Rams bursted out with a huge offensive play, with just 7:22 remaining in the ball game. Rams first down from the Packers 20 yard line, and Saofaigaalii gave the hand off to Mikaele who broke two tackles on his way to the end zone to score the final touchdown of the game, securing their 22-14 victory and a spot in the championship game against the Bears this Saturday.