Monday, March 8, 2010

1st Northern California Polynesian Bowl 2010

If the apparent success of the original is any indication, there will likely be a sequel.

The inaugural Polynesian Bowl, pitting all-star teams of graduating seniors from the Bay Area (south of the Carquinez Bridge) and the North Valley (Solano County, North Coast and Sacramento Valley) at Rodriguez High's Coach Ed Hopkins Memorial Stadium was an unqualified success.

Raising money for (PAIA) Polynesian Athletes in Action, the game attracted fans and family members from all across Northern California, packing the home side bleachers in the stadium and lining the street with cars.

On the field, the Bay Area team won a spirited game 16-6, putting it out of reach with a third-quarter touchdown.

A handful of Fairfield players with Polynesian backgrounds as well as some of their friends who were invited to the game were on the field, and all said it was a great time playing against family and friends from all over.

"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, who 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.

Vanden High running back Damon Treat, whose grandparents hail from the Big Island of Hawaii, played for the North Valley team and said the game was a blast.

“It was a lot of fun,” Treat said. “There's a lot of family out here just playing hard and doing what we love to do.”

Treat also said it was a good chance to play in front of a home crowd once more before he heads off to Minnesota's St. Cloud State in the fall.

Also on offense for the North valley team was Rodriguez quarterback Myles King.

“It was a fun game, I think they should definitely keep it going each year,” King said, adding that the competition was tougher than any he had faced.

“The Bay Area, I respect them at a whole different level now,” he said. “It was intense, those are the biggest dudes I've ever played against in my life.”

King wasn't the only one in awe of the visitors on Saturday as his teammate Konner Bent wasn't even sure he wanted to play when he was initially invited because of the enormity of the opposing players.

“But I figured I'm going to play in college, and in college the dudes are going to be big, so it was good experience,” Bent said.

On the turf, Bent said there was some contentious moments, but that it's all just part of the game.

“There was some trash talking on the field, but there's always going to be trash talking in football,” bent said. “We're all friends now, and it was a lot of fun.”

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).

Valley roster:
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).

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