Here’s the story I wrote for today’s paper on the inaugural Polynesian All-Star Bowl, to be played Saturday at 1 p.m. at Rodriguez High.
Island pride will be at stake Saturday when a gathering of high school football talent from Northern California participates in the inaugural Polynesian All-Star Bowl.
The game, set for Rodriguez High in Fairfield at 1 p.m., will feature the Bay Area vs. the Valley in a showdown of top talent with ties to the Polynesian islands.
“It’s like a Polynesian Super Bowl,” said Sioeli Pulu-Katoa, a fullback/linebacker from Valley Christian-San Jose.
The game is the first of its kind in California, modeled after the Hawaii/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl.
Leading the Bay Area team, which is coached by Fremont-Oakland’s Isamu Falevai, is the Oakland Athletic League MVP and first-team All-East Bay defensive end Sione Tupouata. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Tupouata, also of Fremont, is headed to Utah next season.
But Tupouata isn’t the only star for the Bay Area. The backfield features two of the top rushers from San Mateo County in Jared Puamau of Mills and San Mateo’s David Rango, both of whom ran for more than 1,350 yards last season.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” Puamau said.
The Valley roster is highlighted by Eureka’s Soma Vainuku, a USC-bound fullback who rushed for 2,202 yards last season.
Football has become deeply rooted in the Polynesian culture, featuring such NFL stars as Troy Polamalu and Junior Seau.
“It’s a big thing in my family,” Pulu-Katoa said. “I have a whole lot of relatives who have been there, played at the next level.”
Sequoia’s Vincenzo Makasini, a 6-foot-5, 400-pound lineman, originally didn’t like football but was pushed into it by his family. By his junior year of high school, he enjoyed himself.
“I like being forced to do stuff,” Makasini said.
It wouldn’t be a Polynesian event without food. The teams are planning a big dinner either Friday night or Saturday after the game.
“Every Polynesian occasion always revolves around food,” Falevai joked.
at Rodriguez High, Fairfield
Bay Area roster
QB/S Joe Latu (Mt. Eden), RB/S Ben Pomele (Milpitas), FB/DT Mailau Puamau (Fremont-Oakland), RB/LB Ivan Nisa (Fremont-Oakland), WR/CB Antwan Striplin (Mt. Eden), RB/CB David Rango (San Mateo), FB/OLB Maloni Hausia (Mt. Eden), RB/LB Sifa Vea (Milpitas), RB/LB Taukei Taimani (San Mateo), WR/CB Andrew Tokomata (Castlemont), FB/LB Bo Pita (Aragon), RB/LB Aoese Noa (San Lorenzo), RB/LB Apera’amo Amira (Encinal), FB/OLB Sioele Pulu-Katoa (Valley Christian-San Jose), RB/S Jared Puamau (Mills), TE/DE Pila Puafisi (Oakland), RB/DE Sione Tupouata (Fremont-Oakland), TE/DE Iosia Iosia (Aragon), OL/DL Sinilau Tauteoli (Fremont-Oakland), OL/DL Amerika Mane (Milpitas), FB/LB Nolan Lealao (James Logan), OL/DT William Fukofuka (San Lorenzo), OL/DL Seth Magalei (Heritage), FB/LB Alfred Tafuna (San Lorenzo), OL/DL Carrington Reys (Heritage), OL/DL Vincenzo Makasini (Sequoia), OL/DL Semisi Mataele (Menlo-Atherton), OL/DT Alepate Faletau (Menlo), OL/DT Kapono Mataituli (Marshall-S.F.), OL/DT Taniela Musika (Milpitas).
QB/S Myles King (Vailoatai-American Samoa), RB/LB Soma Vainuku (Eureka), FB Jamon Archie (Burbank-Sacramento), WR/DB DeAngelo Thurman (Will C. Wood-Vacaville), TE/LB Folo’i Vae (Edison-Stockton), FB/LB Faga Tuamasaga (Vailoatai-American Somoa), RB/DB Andre Loafea-Carter (Cordelia), WR/DB Keanu Henry (Vailoatai/Fagasa-American Samoa), RB/LB Samson Tofelogo (Fairfield), DB Steve Jones (Laguna Creek-Elk Grove), QB/S Konner Bent (Cordelia), WR/KR Deondre Batson (Laguna Creek), WR/DB Ray Ledoux (Vailoatai-American Samoa), DL Victor Amerson (Burbank-Sacramento), WR/KR Jordan Morrow (Cordelia), RB/DB Brandon Justin (Will C. Wood-Vacaville), WR/DB Alex Hubbard (Fairfield), FB/LB Hercules Tofelogo (Fairfield), WR/DB Damon Treat (Big Island-Hawaii), OL/DL Sione Sina (Monterey Trail-Elk Grove), FB/LB Ryan Corpuz (Will C. Wood-Vacaville), OL/DL Ben Fanene (Vallejo), OL/DL Patisela Ale (Galileo-S.F.), RB/LB Kalamani Fili (Monterey Trail-Elk Grove), TE/DE Daniel Sungavaka (Hogan-Vallejo), DE Lyman Faoliu (Vallejo), OL/LB Donavan Robinson (Cordelia), LB Freddie Rincon (Will C. Wood-Vacaville), OL/DT Iosua Oakley (Franklin-Elk Grove), OL/DL Sione Fanaika (Florin-Sacramento), OL/DL Ace Delos Reyes (Florin-Sacramento), OL/DL Felix Isom (Burbank-Sacramento), OL Lelefu Vui (Burbank-Sacramento), OL/LB Mick Hobart (Franklin-Elk Grove), WR/DB Mike Ha (Florin-Sacramento).