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Warrior Nation clinches victory over the Lions in both divisions

ASHSAA ATC Florence Wasko tending to an injured Leone Lion, during the second quarter of a Junior Varsity game against the Warriors last Saturday morning. Tafuna won 34-22. [photo: TG]Oakland Salave’a (#4) of the Lions bouncing to the outside to score his first touchdown of the game on a quarterback keep, during the opening half of their JV match-up against the Warriors. Leone lost by 12 points. [photo: TG]Koison Ozu (#1) of Tafuna dancing through midfield, and looking towards the goal line as he runs an 88-yard reception all the way to the end zone for the opening touchdown during a JV game against the Lions. Ozu led the Warriors to a 34-22 victory.  [photo: TG]
Tafuna Varsity finishes 1st round undefeated with 4-0 record

            The American Samoa High School Athletics Association (ASHSAA) hosted the fourth week of high school football action this past weekend at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, where head coach Kolose Ili and his mighty Tafuna Warriors closed off their first round competition as the only undefeated team in the varsity division.

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

            The main event of Week Four was between the Tafuna Warriors and the Leone Lions – their first meet of the season.

            Saturday's games concluded with Tafuna's varsity squad winning 34-16, their 4th victory of the season, while Leone suffered its third loss, with one game remaining for the Lions to regroup themselves in the first round.

            In the Junior Varsity Division, Francisco Mauigoa and the Warriors offense ran away with a 12-point victory, in a long battle that saw Oakland Salave’a and his Lions offense, not letting down throughout the match, but holding on as Leone brought Salave’a in to play quarterback.

            JUNIOR VARSITY: Tafuna 34, Leone 22

            The opening kick-off of the game from Leone was bobbled and dropped by the Warriors, spotting them their first play of the game deep in their own territory, from their own 12-yard line. Tafuna’s first play of the game, a counter play to Koison Ozu, clinched the opening touchdown, an 88-yard run by Ozu to open up the ball game and put Tafuna in the lead.

            3:32 into the opening quarter, Mauigoa marches the Warriors downfield where they played another fortunate first down opportunity, this time, in Leone territory. Mauigoa sent Koison Ozu straight up the middle with a 10-yard inside hand off for Ozu’s second touchdown of the game, extending their lead.

            Leone held tight and tried their best to hold off the Warriors, and they were successful until the third quarter.

            6:33 Warriors first down possession from their own 40-yard line, and Francisco Mauigoa looks far downfield to find Pa’apa’a Mauigoa in the end zone for Mauigoa’s first touchdown of the game.

            Suddenly, the Lions marched the chains downfield, with Oakland Salave’a at the helm.

Leone spotted a fortunate second down possession inside Tafuna’s red zone, where Salave’a sent his running back (#5) up the middle for Leone’s second touchdown of the game.

            Their two-point conversion was good enough for them to bounce back and trail the Warriors 8-28.

            7:02 remaining in the ball game, and Leone comes back firing with Salave’a continuously optioning with the run and pass, a third down situation on Tafuna’s 5-yard line, where Salave’a crossed the plain for his second touchdown of the game.

            With just 3:02 remaining in the ball game, Mauigoa and the Warriors wreaked havoc as they continued to build on their running game off of their passing game, which led to Mauigoa’s 5-yard quarterback keeper for another Tafuna touchdown, extending their lead to 34-14.

             Just when Tafuna thought it was a done deal, Salave’a pumped up his offense for a desperate run towards the end zone.

            Four seconds remaining in the ball game, Leone’s first down on Tafuna’s 5-yard line, and Salave’a scrambles to the sidelines with the play action pass, scoring his second touchdown of the game. Their two point conversion in the hands of Legget was good, but wasn't good  enough to bring them to victory — as the Warriors took a win, 34-22.

            VARSITY DIVISION: Warriors 34, Lions 16

            Leone’s defensive unit, led by Api So’oalo and Niles Tuamoheloa, brought the head to Tala Sufia and the Warriors defensive unit – after So’oalo intercepted one of Sufia’s passes in the opening quarter of the game, denying them a goal.

            It wasn’t until the 5th minute  of the opening quarter that the Warriors finally solved the riddle of getting past the Lions defensive unit.

            Warriors second down from Leone’s 15-yard line, and Sufia marches into the end zone on a quarterback keep, for the opening touchdown of the game.

            Following the Lions possession after the kick off, they sent a deep punt over to Tafuna,  locking them deep inside their own territory, as the Lions prepared to bring the heat. Tafuna failed to get out of a terrible situation, leading to a punt on fourth down.

            Tafuna’s punting situation went sour, when the snap by the center was too high, that it went over the punter and rolled out of the end zone, resulting in a safety, bringing Leone back to trail by three points.

            11:10 into the second quarter of play, a long reception for Leone in the hands of Ali’itoa Langkilde spotted Leone a first down on Tafuna’s 10-yard line. From there, Iverson Ta’ase sent Ben Tikeri up the middle for their first touchdown of the game.

            6:15 remaining in the opening half, and Tafuna spots a fortunate opportunity on Leone’s 15-yard line, with Sufia sending Fetu Gaoa on the outside with a pitch play that Gaoa turned up for six.

            Early in the second half, 9:35 into the third quarter, Tafuna again seemed unstoppable, as they continuously punished the Lions with their option game, with Sufia always taking the ball when there are no open receivers, always leaving space for the Warriors to advance.

            Tafuna’s first down inside Leone territory, and Sufia walks in his second quarterback keep for a touchdown. Their two point conversion on a quarterback sneak by Sufia was good enough to extend their lead to 20-8.

            41 seconds remaining in the third quarter and Sufia sends Fetu Gaoa up the middle with the 5-yard run for another Tafuna touchdown, an opportunity that came at the hands of Pulenu’u Fono after he caught the long pass by Sufia from midfield.

            The two point conversion was an option quarterback keep by Sufia which extended Tafuna's lead to 28-8.

            7:52 in the final quarter of play and Leone’s Ta’ase and the Lions squad bounces back with Leone’s first down possession on Tafuna’s 15-yard line.

            Iverson Ta’ase finds Konelio Feagia’i on the post route for Leone’s second touchdown of the game.

            The two point conversion was a quick slant pass out to Antwan Legget which brought the Lions within 12.

            Just when the Lions started to have control, the Warriors put the pedal to the metal and kept on rolling, scoring again with 4:32 remaining in the ball game.

            Tafuna’s third down reception from Leone’s 25-yard line, and Tala Sufia finds Pene Fa’avae on the slant route towards the end zone for the closing touchdown of the game, as Tafuna closes the weekend with a 34-16 victory

            The following are the official scores and team records as of last Saturday:


            Tafuna 34 (4-0)

            Leone 16 (0-3)

            Samoana 21 (1-2)

            Nuuuli Vo-Tech 12 (0-3)


            Tafuna 34

            Leone 22

            Samoana 30

            Nuuuli Vo-Tech 8