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Vikings prevail in a stunning comeback victory over Leone

Yes, it’s Pinktober every Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, as coaches and players come out with their pink uniforms in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pictured is the Faga’itua Vikings coaching staff with their pinktober uniforms. [photo: TG]Ball carrier for the Vikings moving the chains downfield during a Junior Varsity game against the Lions last Saturday morning, where the Lions won 26-14. [photo: TG]Ron Fuala’au of Leone slipping away from a tackle by Tau Lopesi, as he looks downfield for more open gaps for a huge Leone gain. Fuala’au scored two touchdowns in their 26-14 win against the Vikings. [photo: TG]Ron Fuala’au of the Lions immediately stopped in the backfield by Jake Umu of the Vikings during the second half of their junior varsity match up last Saturday morning. Fuala’au helped the Lions to a 26-14 win, their first victory of the season. [photo: TG]Pitonu’u Ah Sue of Faga’itua storming down the sidelines, trying to evade a tackle from a Leone defender during the opening half of a varsity match up last Saturday afternoon. Ah Sue helped the Vikings in a 32-26 comeback victory.  [photo: TG]
Meanwhile, Lions JV collects first win of the season

The 7th week of the regular season for the American Samoa High School Athletics Association's 2017-18 football season, last weekend, featured the mighty Lions taking on the Big Red Machine, the Faga’itua Vikings, who made a stunning comeback and won 32-26, their second victory over the Lions this season.

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

While they lost in the varsity division, Leone didn’t go home empty handed, as their JV unit led by Oakland Salave’a and Cyan Fiatoa, led the Lions to their first victory of the season, defeating the Vikings 26-14 in the final quarter of play.The talk of the town that day was Vikings quarterback, Vito Kitiona, who sat out during the whole first half of the game, came in during the second half, and carried the Vikings to victory — literally pulling them out of the grave in a 32- 26 comeback win.


Faga’itua 32 - Leone 26

The Lions were disappointed in themselves after watching a huge lead go to waste — all in the second half of play — when Vikings starting quarterback Vito Kitiona, finally took to the field after sitting out the entire first half due to disciplinary issues. He was benched by Head coach Sua’ese Pooch Ta’ase.With Kitiona out during the opening half, Ta’ase and the Vikings opted to go with Advent Migi at quarterback, as they tried to run down the Lions defense with their option game. At the same time, the Lions defensive unit led by Api So’oalo and Ali’itoa Langkilde were able to plug up the open windows in the Vikings running game.The Lions offensive unit led by Iverson Ta’ase spotted a threatening third down situation from their own 30-yard line.

Ta’ase found Antwan Legget on the post route to the end zone for the opening touchdown of the game — a long passing reception for the Lions put them in the lead with six points.

Suddenly, the Vikings were on fire with their option game. Passes out to Jeffery Fulu left the running game open for the Vikings, as Pitonu’u Ah Sue and Migi led the Vikings into Lion territory — playing a threatening second and goal situation from Leone’s 5-yard line where Migi tucked and ran the ball in for six, bringing the Vikes to tie up the ball game at six a piece.Midway through the first half of play – 5:56 remaining in the second quarter and the Lions Ta’ase crosses the goal line with Leone’s second touchdown of the game: a 10-yard inside hand off to Ta’ase that put Leone in the lead with six points. The two point conversion was a quick fade pass out to Legget had the Lions up 14-6 heading into halftime.

Opening up the second half of play was Leone’s Langkilde, who caught the long pass from Feagia’i for the opening touchdown of the second half.

8:12 into the third quarter, and the Lions extended their lead by two possessions.

Vito Kitiona was now on full display in the second half, making up for his absence during the first half.

He led the Vikings back into Lions territory and — with the tuck and run —and put the Vikings on the board for the second time.

Kitiona ran in a 10-yard quarterback keeper for his first touchdown of the game. The two-point conversion, a pass out to Aroni Taua’a was good and brought them to within 6.

Next play sent the kick over to the Lions for their second offensive possession of the second half, Feagia’i turned to fire a long one out to Legget for Leone’s fourth touchdown of the game: a 76-yard touchdown reception by Legget that extended Leone’s lead to 26-14. The two-point conversion pass out to Ben Tikeri was swatted by Georgia Mageo.

The kick off to the Vikings was returned by Aroni Taua’a for 60 yards, bringing the Vikings past midfield and into Lions territory for another offensive drive – Kitiona leading the Vikings into Leone’s red zone, managing to tuck and run it in again on a quarterback keep for six, as Kitiona brought the Vikings back to life, to trail the Lions by one possession.

The two-point conversion, a counter trey with Kitiona again on the tuck and run, brought the Vikings back to trail the Lions by four points.

1:22 remaining in the third quarter of play, and the Vikings were back on their rhythmic No-Huddle offense with Kitiona at quarterback.

Vikings second and long situation on Leone’s 15 yard line, and Kitiona with his third tuck and run play scored his third touchdown of the game - all in the third quarter of play — bringing the Vikings to lead for the first time in the game, 30-26.

7:16 remaining in the ball game, and the Lions were continuously shooting themselves in the foot with penalties, giving another opportunity to the Vikings for another threatening drive inside Leone territory.

 Kitiona, leading the Vikings from Leone’s 13-yard line, sent Migi up the middle with a counter hand off for Migi’s second touchdown of the game — extending their lead 36-26.

The two-point conversion by TJ Aulava was enough to put this one away for good, as the Vikings came back to win 38-26.


Leone 26 - Faga’itua 14Head Coach Oakland Salave’a and his Lions didn’t hesitate to go to the air for the opening play of the game, with a daring play call to try and spread Faga’itua’s defense, while exploring their options in the running game with Ron Fuala’au and Oakie Salave’a at quarterback.

During their first offensive drive, Salave’a led his offensive unit all the way into Vikings territory with a dangerous option game that had the Vikes guessing into their own red zone.

1:23 in the opening quarter, and Salave’a sends Ron Fuala’au straight up the middle for the opening touchdown of the game.

The two-point conversion quarterback keeper by Salave’a put the Lions up early by eight.

Opening up the second quarter of play was Salave’a again, on the a play action pass, rolling out of the pocket to put the ball in the numbers of Fuala’au for his second touchdown of the game, with 8:52 remaining in the first half.

3:16 remaining in the second quarter, and the Vikings spotted a threatening third and goal situation inside the Lions red zone, where Angel Iosua plowed his way up the middle of Leone’s defense and scored the Vikings first touchdown of the game. Jacob Umu with the two-point conversion brought the Vikings back to trail the Lions 8-14.

Midway into the second half of play – 6:17 in the third quarter, and Salave’a played out a second and long situation on the Lions 15-yard line. A play action pass from Salave’a to Josiah Ta’ani confirmed another Lions touchdown after Ta’ani came down with the ball inside the end zone for six.

The two-point conversion to Fuala’au was clogged up in the backfield by Umu of the Vikings – his third time stopping Fuala’au in the backfield with solo tackles.3:30 remaining in the final quarter of play, and the Vikings desperate offensive possession to get out to midfield, turned sour on them when a shot gun snap by the Vikings center went over past the kicker and into the end zone – and recovered by Leone’s defensive unit, led by Cyan Fiatoa and (#58) for a defensive touchdown, adding six more points to the scoreboard for Leone and extending their lead 26-8.

With just 30 seconds remaining in the ball game, Umu caught a 15-yard pass for another Faga’itua touchdown, which wasn't enough as the Lions won 26-14.