Sharks send Wildcats home with losses in both divisions

tony@samoanews.com

            The Samoana Sharks, led by head coach Pati Pati, secured their first victory in the varsity division this season, following a  21-12 victory over the Wildcats, in a game that wasn't easy for Samoana to win, as Nu’uuli put up quite the fight throughout the match.

            On the other hand, Samoana’s JV squad is looking unstoppable and more powerful going into the second round of competition. Their only loss is from a disqualification during the season opener against Leone when the Sharks failed to provide the required Physical Testing documents from the Department of Health — a procedure that all teams must follow.

            In addition to JV Samoana’s threatening air attack, there is the intensifying rhythm of their defensive unit, as the current boys in blue were all part of the AYFS Bears football team that won an undefeated championship title two years ago.

            Today, that same defense has regrouped but this time, at the high school level, and they are wreaking havoc on the gridiron, with Masaichi Aviu and McMoore leading the way for Samoana’s Big D. They also have Paul Fano, a former star player of the AYFS Chargers.

            Coverage of ASHSAA high school football is sponsored by Congresswoman Aumua Amata.

            JUNIOR VARSITY

Samoana 32, Nu’uuli 8

            Although their defense played a huge factor in their win against Nu’uuli last Friday evening, the real talk is about Jr. Tanielu's pair of 80-plus yard quarterback keeps for touchdowns.

            At just 8:25 into the opening quarter of the game, Samoana crossed the goal line with the first touchdown of the game; a third down reception for the Sharks inside Wildcats territory, as Nu’uuli sent the blitz.

            Tanielu made them pay when he fired a bullet through the middle to the numbers of John Ugaitafa for a 10-yard touchdown reception. The two-point conversion in the hands of Paul Fano was good enough to get them an early eight-point lead.

            Not too long after that, after Nu’uuli pinned Samoana deep in their own territory on a long punt, Jr. Tanielu turned his boosters on in a third and long situation, and turned up an 84-yard touchdown reception on a quarterback keep. The extra point conversion was an inside hand-off to Fano again to extend the Sharks lead to 16 points.

            9:15 into the second quarter of play, Samoana’s second down situation from their own 20-yard line, Tanielu — not able to find an open receiver — kept the ball and stormed towards the sidelines, bounced back towards midfield evading defenders and was gone with another Samoana touchdown: an 80-yard reception, his second quarterback keep for six.

            The two-point conversion in the hands of Fano again was good with Fano scoring his third extra point conversion in a row.

            It wasn’t until the second half when the Wildcats finally figured out a way to get around the Sharks' bruising defensive unit, as they continuously played the option game, giving them an opportunity inside Samoana territory, where the Wildcats played a desperate third and goal situation, with Daniel Maea sneaking the ball in behind his offensive linemen for their first touchdown of the game.

            The two-point conversion was a reverse hand off to (#81) and brought them back to trail the Sharks 8-24.

            Late in the final quarter of the game, as the Wildcats were desperately holding on, Tanielu and his offense were already in rhythm, and couldn’t be stopped. Samoana's third down on Nu’uuli’s 15-yard line and Tanielu scrambled for his life after not finding an open receiver.

            On his way past the line of scrimmage Tanielu fumbled the ball, luckily he was able to pick it up while stumbling towards the end zone to score his third touchdown of the game.

            The two-point conversion in the hands of Fano again resulted in a 32-8 victory for the Sharks, their 3rd win of the season.

            VARSITY DIVISION

Nu’uuli, 12 – Samoana, 21

            The Sharks were stunned in the opening quarter of the game, when Ziggy Faletoi and Nu’uuli’s offensive unit came out with an explosive running game, a strategy that put them in the lead – for the first time this season.

            1:22 remaining in the opening quarter and Faletoi sends Joseph Mauga up the middle with a counter hand-off play that Mauga turned up for six; a 32-yard touchdown reception that put Nu’uuli in the lead.

            The extra point conversion hand-off to Jerry Isaako was plugged up immediately by Samoana’s Solomona Seiuli behind the line of scrimmage.

            Nu’uuli’s middle linebacker, Branson Pualau was back in action after an injury against the Warriors last week.

            Pualau was able to lead Nu’uuli’s defense in shutting out the Sharks throughout the first half of the game, as they led by six points throughout the opening half of play.

            It wasn’t until the third quarter that Samoana found Nu’uuli’s weakness in the backfield. An air attack was needed to evade the Wildcats' unstoppable defensive pressure.

            6:09 into the third and Anthony Feala turns to fire a long one to Moses Michael Samia for Samoana’s first touchdown of the game.

            The field goal conversion by Elliot Lelei was good enough to bring them up to take the lead by a point.        

            Just when Samoana thought they had things rolling, Mauga and the Wildcats offense turned up the heat.

            1:33 remaining in the third quarter and Faletoi sends Joseph Mauga up the middle with the delay hand-off that Mauga turned up for six; a 65-yard reception for Mauga’s second touchdown of the game which took Nu’uuli back up 12-7.

            It wasn’t until the eighth minute of the final quarter of play, that Samoana finally recuperated and started to get their option game intact. With David Mikaele and Louis Malala Jr. plowing through defenders in the running game; and the pass game kept up for the Sharks.

            Samoana's second down from Nu’uuli’s 45-yard line, and Feala looked far to fire another long bomber to Samia to spot Samoana a threatening first down situation on Nu’uuli’s 5-yard line.

            From there, Feala opted to give the hand off to Mikaele who ran over defenders on his way to crossing the goal line for his first touchdown of the game, as they came back to take the lead 14- 12 after a field goal conversion by Elliot Lelei.

            Nearing the end of the match, Samoana was hot and firing all cylinders without hesitation.

            2:11 remaining in the ball game, and Anthony Feala finds Zephaniah Pati on the post route to the end zone for Pati’s first touchdown catch of the game, a 25-yard reception that extended Samoana’s lead to 20-12.

            The field goal conversion by Elliot Lelei sealed the 21-12 victory, with Lelei kicking his fourth successful field goal of the match.

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