Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sidney Malauulu scoring big in Seoul Korea

Sidney Malauulu of Seoul American High School scored 16 points and 11 rebounds to take the win against Gyeonggi Suwon International in a game earlier this year. Sidney is unknown prospect in football and basketball.  He is only in his sophomore year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

ANIMATED: San Francisco 49ers NT Isaac Sopoaga Will Blow Your Mind

by Bill Hanstock • Nov 14, 2011 8:00 AM PST

The San Francisco 49ers picked up another big victory on Sunday over the New York Giants, but some startling new information has come to light during the pre-game warmups. I'm no scientist, but I think we've uncovered photographic evidence that the Niners just may -- just may -- be creating some sort of superhuman contingent.


What you're looking at in the above .gif is San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga. He is 6'2" and weighs 330 pounds. A couple of weeks ago, this fellow grabbed a crucial pass on a game-clinching drive. Now that I'm looking at this new evidence that is in no way sped up or altered, I can only make one, obvious conclusion: the 49ers are involved in genetic tampering.

Let the record further show that Sopoaga, a former rugby player, occasionally shows off his strong arm during pre-game warm-ups by firing passes around the field to his teammates.

Now, I'm not sure whether we're talking about rays of the gamma or cosmic variety. I have no clue as to whether the San Francisco team geneticists are using radiation, or mystical crystals, or possibly Terrigen Mists. Perhaps it's just good old-fashioned super soldier serum. But whatever they're tampering with over there, it's clearly working. The 49ers, against all odds, hold an 8-1 record and their massive nose tackle is darting around the field like Usain Bolt.

Keep it up, you beautiful mad scientists. Whatever you're doing in the basements of Candlestick Park, it's working.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Roy Helu: Can He Keep the Starting Job for the Washington Redskins?

I don't think anyone would argue that it is hard holding down a job in this economy. The current 9.1 percent national unemployment rate speaks for itself.

But the NFL is a different story when it comes to joblessness. Unless you play for Mike Shanahan, that is.

In fact, I bet any player donning a Washington Redskins jersey right now might think their chances of keeping a job on Main Street are better than doing so for Shanahan (just ask Ryan Torain, Rex Grossman or Anthony Armstrong).

So this begs an important question: Now that Roy Helu has been awarded Washington's starting running back job, will he keep it?

Now I'm no economist, but Helu's ability to keep the starting job is one that I think is fairly predictable, as the indicators pointing to his potential success are apparent. Those important indicators are his year-to-date performance, his competition in the backfield and that ever-escaping Mike Shanahan "Stamp of Approval."

In terms of Helu's performance so far this year, I don't think there is any question that he is deserving of the starting gig. After the game on Sunday, Helu is now the 12th-most targeted running back in the NFL this season and has caught the 12th-most passes.

To add to that, he is sporting a respectable 4.6 yards per rush in his rookie year, and if you only count games where he's had eight or more carries, his average jumps to 5.4 (which would be good for a tie for fourth amongst starting NFL running backs at this point). Helu's blitz pickup skills are also rapidly improving, which makes him a pretty good all-around back—good enough to start in the NFL, as he showed on Sunday.

As far as competition goes, there isn't much. Ryan Torain has averaged an embarrassing 1.6 yards per rush in his last four games, and found himself in Mike Shanahan's doghouse against the 49ers.

Recent pickup Tashard Choice isn't much better, already disappointing Dallas so much this year that he was waived midseason. Add to that the fact that Choice is nursing a hamstring injury, and Helu should have a fairly easy time looking like the best back to go with week in and week out.

Mike Shanahan's stamp of approval is probably the most important piece of this puzzle, however, especially in the minds of fantasy owners. This is where it becomes tricky, because Shanny is known for being extremely unpredictable—something fantasy owners hate.

Well, if Shanahan's words after Helu's 149-total-yard performance were any indication, I'd say the rookie back could be a fantasy steal for the rest of the season. The age-old coach praised Helu, saying "he's got the speed to make some big plays" and "he's a pretty good all-around back."

Shanahan also mentioned that Torain will now only see the field when Helu is "tired." Given the load Helu carried the whole game Sunday without looking worse for the wear, I'd say Shanahan has full confidence in the young back to play through every game going forward.

Now Shanahan's sentiment could always change, but given Helu's talent level and hunger to win the starting role for good, I think he's easily worth a shot.

So if you've been holding onto Helu, you might have just hit the fantasy jackpot. Especially if you play in a PPR league, where Helu's value is immense (14 catches against the 49ers). If he's still available on the waiver wire, make him your top target this week.

And while Washington's run schedule is not very easy the next three weeks (MIA, DAL and SEA), it looks like a fantasy owner's dream during the playoff run from Week 13 through Week 16. During that time, the Redskins face the Jets, Patriots, Giants and Vikings—all which rank in the bottom half in the NFL in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs (standard leagues).

That means Helu could very well be the difference in your fantasy team going all the way this year. So grab him fast. And while the rest of your league says "goodbye," you will say "Helu" to a fantasy championship.

The NFL's All-Hair Team: The 22 Wackiest Hairstyles in the League

Safety Troy Polamalu

No, that is not a picture of Polamalu's epic Head and Shoulders commercial. Instead, it is him siting on the sideline at a game earlier this season.

By now we all understand that hair is alive, this is why it grow, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Troy's hair continues to grow and will soon own enough territory to gain independence from the United States.

If you have been reading throughout this article and were waiting for an epic Troy Polamalu slide, you can forget about it. Everything that needs to be said or thought is in the picture.

The NFL's All-Hair Team: The 22 Wackiest Hairstyles in the League

LB Ray Maualuga

Now, someone is having a bad hair day here. It looks as if Ray Ray's locks came alive and attempted to blind him. There are so many puns that I could use here, but I will just stick with the obvious one.

Hair's "Age of Aquarius" ladies and gentlemen.

The NFL's All-Hair Team: The 22 Wackiest Hairstyles in the League

DL Paul Soliai

Many people had never heard of Soliai when he came out of nowhere last season to become one of the best nose tackles in the NFL, a performance that earned him a franchise tag tender and huge annual contract.

I would have to conclude that Miami fans now know this huge example of a human being well enough to know that he isn't going to eat your children when walking past the small yellow school bus on a November afternoon.

They can relax.

The NFL's All-Hair Team: The 22 Wackiest Hairstyles in the League

DL Isaac Sopoaga

"Soap," as he is called in San Francisco, is someone that I wouldn't want to see walking down the street late at night in a fit of rage. The do-rag here also lends some credence to that intimidating physique that anchors the league's No. 1 rush defense.

Sopoaga is another player on this list from American Samoa, which leads me to believe they represent the demographics of the male citizens there.

The NFL's All-Hair Team: The 22 Wackiest Hairstyles in the League

DL Domato Peko

If this were a Brillo hair pageant we would have a winner. Peko's style reminds me of Phil Spector meets Emmett Brown from Back to the Future.

The NFL's All-Hair Team: The 22 Wackiest Hairstyles in the League

OL Mike Iupati

It it just me or does Mike Iupati look like the son of former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Jesse Sapolu? If you need a refresher, check this out. The similarities don't end with looks, they are both from America Samoa and have incredible mean streaks in them.

49ers fans can just hope that Iupati's career ends up as good, if not better, than Sapolu's.

The NFL's All-Hair Team: The 22 Wackiest Hairstyles in the League

OL Chris Kemoeatu

Anyone remember Manumana, the long snapper on the great football movie Necessary Roughness? If you don't, check out this clip of him walking in on a young Kathy Ireland.

I bring this up because Kemoeatu is a spitting image of the actor that snapped balls to Scott Bakula, saw Ireland naked and viewed Sinbad's amazing failure at acting.

Still, I don't think he would have been anywhere as nice to the long-legged beauty as the real Manumana was.

Louisville's Peyton Siva knows his place

Calling Peyton Siva the most important player on a University of Louisville men’s basketball team that also has Kyle Kuric and Gorgui Dieng could make for talk-radio and message-board arguments.

What can’t be debated is that Siva presents a luxury coach Rick Pitino hadn’t previously had during his tenure at U of L. Reece Gaines, Taquan Dean, Brandon Jenkins, Andre McGee and Edgar Sosa all had different strengths, but none could be called a pure point guard.

“The thing that we bring to the table is something unique,” Siva said.

“Mine is distributing the ball and moving it around so hopefully everybody contributes and everybody will play a big role this year.”

Siva’s 5.2-assist average last season was the fifth highest in school history. Only Phil Bond (1975-76 and ’76-77) and LaBradford Smith (1988-89 and ’89-90) have produced higher numbers. Siva’s 182 assists were the fourth-highest season total.

McGee, now on Pitino’s staff as a program assistant, predicts Siva’s assist numbers will rise this season.

“He’s starting to understand and realize what makes him look good,” McGee said. “He’s starting to take that role as (Boston Celtics guard Rajon) Rondo kind of has: knowing that he’s the engine behind everybody getting off.”

That Siva grew into the role last season was a byproduct of inheriting the starting job from Sosa. Siva, who also averaged 9.9 points and 3.1 rebounds, endured the difficult process of figuring out how Pitino wanted his offense run and learning to implement it.

Senior Chris Smith witnessed Siva’s struggles as a freshman. The same plays Siva was used to making in high school with superior athleticism no longer were available in college.

“He was turning the ball over in practice like crazy,” Smith said.

“Coach said he set the record.”

Siva’s speed allowed him to penetrate with ease, but once he got past the initial defender he’d be stuck in the lane with nowhere to go with the ball. It led to a lot of ill-advised passes and shots.

McGee said Siva’s early problems were typical of point guards coming into Pitino’s system. As a freshman his 46 turnovers nearly matched his 56 assists. That’s part of what prevented Siva, who was Washington’s 2009 Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All American, from beating out Sosa for the starting job.

“That’s what he most had issues with. He’s never been in a predicament where he had to sit there and watch or play behind anyone his whole career playing basketball,” said Daryll Hennings, Siva’s AAU coach.

“He’d never been through that, so that was kind of a learning process for him that was a good thing.”

When Siva first played on Hennings’ Seattle Rotary Select team, he developed a reputation for not knowing how to channel his competitive rage. It often led him to cry from anger on the court and mouth off to officials.

He took the rigors of his first year at U of L as a challenge to get better.

“My freshman year was hard,” Siva said.

“I felt like, why would I even be here at Louisville? At the end of that year I knew I really had to clamp down and learn the game of basketball if I wanted to play.”

The biggest adjustment was learning to control his speed. He used to know only one level, which is why he ended up committing so many turnovers and getting into foul trouble.

“He’s so fast at times it can hurt him being out of control,” McGee said. “That’s one thing especially from back then to now he’s really changed a lot. He’s not out of control; he uses gears. Nobody in the country has the foot speed that can keep up with him.”

No other series typified Siva’s improvement than the Cardinals’ three games against eventual national champion Connecticut last season.


That’s why Pitino has told some recruits that Siva could skip his senior season and become a first-round NBA draft pick.

“We think he’s one of the premier point guards in the country,” Pitino said.

“He had a lot of turnovers his freshman year. Now he’s playing fast, but he’s not turning it over.”

Pitino said whichever team he places Siva on in practice doesn’t lose. Siva proved that in the Cardinals’ two public intrasquad scrimmages.

Siva’s development has been obvious to his teammates. Smith said the best is yet to come.

“This summer playing with Siva was like, wow, we have a true point guard and a true leader now,” he said.

Roy Helu: 5 Interesting Facts About Washington Redskins RB

By Hal Nichols (Contributor) on November 6, 2011

Rookie running back Roy Helu Jr. is a virtual unknown outside of the middle of the country, where he made his impact playing for the University of Nebraska. Today, he looks poised to become the latest semi-anonymous running back to burst onto the scene behind Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Roy Helu Jr.

Helu’s family is from Tonga, a tiny nation of islands in the South Pacific of just over 100,000 people. Tonga lies just to the southwest of American Samoa, the hotbed of NFL talent to which the likes of Troy Polamalu and Junior Seau trace their lineage.

In college, Helu logged five yards per carry or more in each of his three final seasons at Nebraska, and better than six yards per carry as a sophomore and as a senior. This is especially impressive considering Helu was primarily used between the tackles. He showcased the ability to run over larger defenders and run away from the faster, smaller ones.

Helu also showed impressive versatility at Nebraska, running from all imaginable formations, including the pistol, and executing both conventional running plays as well as zone read and option plays. All of that experience in different looks and schemes should be an asset in the NFL, as he should have little trouble picking up new schemes.

At the combine, Helu was one of the most impressive performers at his position, logging a 4.42 forty yard dash at 220 pounds. That combination of size and speed make Helu an ideal back for Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme, which rewards running backs who can find the hole and then explode through it. Helu isn’t quite six feet tall either, so his compact size is built to run with power.

Helu is perfect for Shanahan’s running scheme. Helu’s combine report from reads,

“Does a good job running behind his blockers and finding running creases. Has more straight-lined speed than most big backs. Can get the edge, stick his foot in the dirt and accelerate upfield.”

Almost word for word, that’s the textbook description of a successful running back in Shanahan’s system.

Roy Helu Jr. should be in for some nice outings in the second half of this season. If history serves as any indication, under Shanahan’s coaching, Helu likely won’t be an unknown by year’s end.

High-school scrapper and late-blooming pro Wayne Hunter begins to put it all together

By Greg Hanlon

5:52 pm Nov. 7, 2011

Each time the Jets or Giants play a football game, Capital will write about a home-team member who took part in it. This post is about Wayne Hunter, who played offensive tackle in the Jets’ 27-11 win on Nov. 6 over the Buffalo Bills.

Football people often talk about how the benefits of the running game can’t always be captured through conventional statistics. Such was the case yesterday, when the Jets averaged an unimpressive 3.6 yards on their 35 designed running plays against the Buffalo Bills, yet largely have the running game to thank for their overall impressive offensive performance.

Consider that quarterback Mark Sanchez posted his best completion percentage of the year yesterday, hitting on 20 of his 28 passes. According to the ESPN Stats & Information Group, Sanchez’s numbers were heavily bolstered by plays involving a faked running play, on which Sanchez hit on 11 of his 12 passes for 129 yards and his only touchdown.

The Jets lined up a fullback nearly 60 percent of the time yesterday, compared to a season average of 32 percent before yesterday, according to ESPN. Also, the Jets' lopsided advantage in time of possession—they had the ball for nearly 38 minutes—was largely attributable to a running game that kept their offense “on schedule” and kept Buffalo’s explosive offense off the field.

Thus, despite the Jets’ pedestrian rushing totals, reports of the triumphant return of “ground and pound”—the offensive philosophy that emphasizes a punishing, bread-and-butter running game over passing pyrotechnics, reflecting the swaggering machismo of Rex Ryan’s team—are well-founded.

If you’ve been following the Jets this year, you probably know the storyline: Wanting to expand the role of quarterback Mark Sanchez and having acquired Plaxico Burress to round out a talented group of receivers, the Jets changed their offensive approach at the beginning of the year and started passing more. It didn’t work, and now they’re back to doing what they do best.

“I think I was kind of set up and enamored with those three-wides and, when we looked at it, we said that might suit our personnel better,” Ryan told reporters during the Jets bye week before the Buffalo game.

“But what’s really best for the Jets is the ability to run the football, maybe play more regular personnel [groupings] and two-tight end personnel groupings,” he said.

Along with the change in the type of formations they’re using has been a change in their blocking schemes, according to Damien Woody, the former Jets standout offensive lineman who now works as an analyst for ESPN. (Woody was considered one of the Jets best run-blockers, but he was cut for salary-cap reasons and decided to retire rather than come back at a reduced price.)

Woody told me that from 2009 to 2010, the Jets running game had evolved include more zone-blocking schemes, rather than man-blocking. In man-blocking, each lineman is responsible for blocking an individual player. In zone-blocking, the line moves as a unit as if on a moving chain, and each lineman is responsible for blocking any defender who attempts to breach that chain.

That trend continued in the early part of this year, but with poor results.

“Sometimes, you incorporate different schemes early on in the year and things don’t mesh as well," he told me. "It came to the point where they were running a lot of zone-blocking schemes when you’re moving more east-west than north-south.

“But now, when I saw the San Diego game, it was more of a man-blocking scheme, more just firing off the ball and going mano-a-mano, or combo blocks. It’s a matter of scouting yourself and seeing, ‘Here’s what we do best, let’s focus on it, and let’s get back to it.’”

STILL, SCHEMES DON'T MATTER MUCH if the players aren't playing well. Which brings us to Wayne Hunter, the Jets’ 30-year-old right tackle, who is a starter in the league for the first time in his eight-year NFL career.

Hunter’s season got off to a disastrous start in Week 1 against Dallas. Rob Ryan, the Cowboys defensive coordinator and Rex’s Lebowski-ish twin brother, intentionally isolated superstar linebacker DeMarcus Ware on Hunter. Hunter didn’t handle it well, allowing one sack and six quarterback pressures while being publicly pitied on national television by NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth.

“I think it was a good challenge,” Hunter told reporters afterward. “It’s all upside from here.”

But things got worse before they got better. Hunter followed that up with two more poor games. According to Pro Football Focus, which grades every player after every game, Hunter was nearly off-the-charts-bad in those first three games. It was clear: The Jets offense didn’t resemble the physical unit of the previous two seasons, and the new right tackle seemed to be a big reason why.

But quietly, Hunter shook off his poor start. According to Pro Football Focus, each of the four games he played going into Sunday since those ghastly first three were above average. He even had his redemption in a nationally televised game when he stonewalled the Dolphins' Pro Bowler Cameron Wake in one-on-one protection, earning praise from the television analysts.

The Jets running game began to round into form too, showing signs of life against New England and Miami before producing 162 rushing yards on Oct. 23 against San Diego. That game, plus yesterday’s 126-yard output (in net yards, including Mark Sanchez scrambles and sacks), represented the only time the Jets rushed for more yards than the league average of 115.

Yesterday, Hunter allowed an early sack to Buffalo’s Alex Carrington. On the play, it looked like Hunter was late getting off the snap because he was confused about the count. Later in the game, Hunter committed a false-start penalty, also because he didn’t know the snap count.

Those were the plays visible to the casual viewer. If you watched Hunter carefully, though, you would have seen that he executed his job an overwhelmingly high percentage of the time and played outstandingly, both in run-blocking and pass-protection. He was part of a Jets effort that controlled the line of scrimmage so thoroughly that it’s surprising the Jets didn’t blow the game open much earlier than they did.

IF HUNTER IS RE-WRITING THE STORY OF HIS SEASON, THE SAME applies to his career, which began about as dismally as possible. Hunter was a third-round draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2003, but didn’t make a smooth adjustment to the pro game and played in just two games in three years.

All the headlines he made were off the field. During his time in Seattle, he was arrested twice, once for domestic violence and once for a bar fight. The Seahawks released him and Hunter was picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he didn’t do much with his second chance. He failed to make the team in training camp of 2006, and then he missed all of 2007 with a knee injury.

It seemed like a bitter end to football life that Hunter was drawn into by his circumstances, when Kelly Sur, head coach at Radford High School in Hawaii, heard about the lanky freshman with a reputation for fisticuffs. The kid had spent much of his childhood in a single-family home the projects in the rough Kalihi section of Honolulu. His mother, a New Zealand native of Samoan heritage, had worked multiple jobs to move her family to a better neighborhood. But Hunter brought the quick-to-violence mentality of Kalihi to his new school.

“He wasn’t a troublemaker, but he wouldn’t back down,” Sur remembered of Hunter, who, like so many NFL players, considered himself a basketball player in his youth.

“I approached him and said, ‘You’re a quiet guy, but I know you’re not afraid to rough it up. Why don’t you come out for football? You can rough up anyone out here and not get into trouble.’”

Hunter excelled on the field and in the classroom. He started his college career at UC-Berkeley, then transferred to Hawaii.

But it was all set for a disappointing ending before the Jets took a flyer on him before the 2008 season. They saw his athleticism and potential for growth, even at an advanced age. When the Jets cut Woody and Woody subsequently retired, they handed the job to Hunter.

“I’m proud of his progress,” Woody told me. “Wayne was a high draft pick but things didn’t work out. We came to the Jets the same year, and Wayne kinda resurrected his career. And now look at him: He’s starting. Wayne’s a late bloomer. He always had those athletic skills, and now he’s putting it all together.”

Monday, October 31, 2011

Te'o named Butkus semifinalist October, 25, 2011

By Matt Fortuna
For the second straight year, Manti Te'o is a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given each season to the nation's top collegiate linebacker.

Te'o won the inaugural high school version of the award in 2008, while at Punahou High School in Laie, Hawaii.

The junior leads Notre Dame this season with 69 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.

Te'o is one of 12 semifinalists for the collegiate award. Finalists will be announced Nov. 22, with the winner being announced by Dec. 7.

Polynesian All-American Bowl

All-Star game lineup for 2012

U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Start: 2001

2012 Game date, site: Jan. 7, Alamodome, San Antonio

Underclassmen combine: Yes

Television: NBC

Unique feature: As the oldest of the games, it has the most alumni in the NFL and the best TV location.

Under Armour All-American Game

Start: 2008

2012 Game date, site: To be determined. Last year's game was Jan. 5 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Underclassmen combine: Yes

Television: ESPN

Unique feature: Televised skills challenge on ESPN2 and televised practice sessions on ESPNU and ESPN2

Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl

Start: 2012

2012 Game date, site: Jan. 3, Chase Field, Phoenix

Underclassmen combine: Yes

Television: Negotiating with CBS Sports Network

Unique feature: Selection show will air on CBS

USA Football vs. The World

Start: 2010

2012 Game site: Feb. 1 (National Signing Day). Site to be determined. Last year's game was Feb. 2 at Westlake High, Austin, Texas

Underclassmen combine: No, but Team Trials were held Memorial Day weekend in Marietta, Ga.

Television: Fox College Sports Central carried live, Feb. 11 on NFL Network

Unique feature: Not an all-star game, it pits top U.S. players 19 and under vs. a World Team

Offense-Defense Bowl

Start: 2007

2012 Game site: To be determined. Last year's game was Jan. 31 at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Underclassmen combine: Yes.

Television: Comcast Sports

Unique feature: Has a youth all-star game during the week prior to the game.

Polynesian All-American Bowl

Start: 2011

2012 Game site: To be determind. Last year's game was Jan. 15 at Cathedral High, Los Angeles

Underclassmen combine: None

Television: None

Unique feature: Game is for players of Pacific Islands descent

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Louisville: Peyton Siva

Louisville has plenty of talent, both returning and coming in, but what it doesn’t have (now that Preston Knowles has graduated) is an obvious go-to guy. Junior point guard Peyton Siva has a chance to be that player.

The 5’11” Siva averaged 10.1 points a game in the Cards’ balanced offense, and he also dished out an impressive 5.3 assists a night (a category in which Louisville finished third in the nation as a team with 17.5).

With a year of starting experience under his belt, Siva could be 'scary' good this season

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nationwide Tour: Qualifying starts Monday morning Tony Finau, Lehi, Utah

Nationwide Tour: Qualifying starts Monday morning
September 25, 2011 11:17 PM

Qualifying for the 2011 Nationwide Tour's WNB Classic gets underway at 8:15 a.m. Monday at Green Tree Country Club and Ranchland Hilla Golf Club, with 14 spots available for this year's tournament, which begins Thursday at Midland Country Club.

Each qualifying site will have seven spots up for grabs.

Russell Henley, who earlier this year won the Nationwide Tour's Stadion Classic as an amateur, will attempt to qualify at Green Tree in the afternoon after making his professional debut last week at the Soboba Classic. He finished 31st at the Soboba Classic.

Louisville's Peyton Siva is featured

Louisville's Peyton Siva is featured on one of the covers for Athlon's college basketball preview issue, which hits stores on Sept. 24. The publication predicts Louisville will finish third in the Big East, and advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Aug. 2, 2011

2011 MEAC Volleyball Preseason Team Release

NORFOLK, Va. -- Maline Vaitai has been selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year, announced by the league on Monday. In addition, the Hawks were picked to finish first in the MEAC Northern Division.

Vaitai (Salt Lake City, Utah) earned MEAC Rookie of the Year last season after being first in the conference in kills (3.45) and points (4.04) per set plus was third in the league and 51st in Division I in aces (0.37) per game. Overall the 2010 First Team All-MEAC outside hitter notched 407 kills, 44 aces and 42 total blocks.

Along with Vaitai, senior outside hitter Zoe Bowens (Long Beach, Calif.) was named to the 2011 MEAC Volleyball Preseason Team. Last year, Bowens led all of Division I in aces (0.67) per set, finishing with 79 on the season. She added 350 kills, 184 digs and 24 total blocks.

Rounding out the rest of the preseason team is libero Sonja Banicevic of Delaware State and middle hitter Desire Waller, middle blocker Shabree Roberson and setter Bria Brimmer of South Carolina State.

The four-time MEAC Northern Division champion Hawks were picked to win the regular season title with 21 out of 26 first-place votes and 309 total points. This is the second straight year UMES was chosen to win the Northern Division. Delaware State was picked to finish second while Howard was predicted to take third. In the MEAC Southern Division, Florida A&M was chosen to take first with 17 first-place votes, with reigning conference champion South Carolina State getting second.

The preseason honors were voted on by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors.

UMES will begin their season on August 26th with the Tiny Laster Invitational in Hampton, Virginia.

Saitaua Iosia MEAC's Top Rookie Second Straight Week

 Saitaua Iosia

Long Beach, Calif.
High School:
Long Beach Poly H.S.

High School/Club: Played volleyball at Long Beach Polytechnic High School ... led team to #3 ranking in the nation, #1 in California in 2010 ... named player of the year in 2010 ... helped Jackrabbits to Moore League Championship, CIF Championship and state finals ... president of Pacific Islander Club 2010-11 ... competed with Long Beach Mizuno Club in Southern California, reaching fifth place in JO championship.

Personal: Born Nov. 19, 1993 in Long Beach, Calif. ... daughter of Pasefika and Agnes Iosia ... has two sisters, Vaoanne and Fiapa'ipa'i, and two brothers, Matauaina and Pasefika Jr. ... major is math ... pregame routine includes listening to music ... personal best sports moment is getting 22 kills and five straight aces in high school regional final game ... most influential people are her mom and dad for standing behind her in everything ... plans to live successfully off what she will learn from UMES upon graduation ... personal best non-athletic accomplishment is graduating from high school ... favorite saying is "God first and all else will fall in place." ... hobbies include cultural dancing and cooking ... favorite book is Twilight by Stephanie Meyer ... favorite movies are "Mulan," "The Blind Side," "Johnny Lingo" and "Facing the Giants" ... personal athletic goal this season is to get better and never give up ... personal athletic goal is to be a consistent player all around.
NORFOLK, Va.- For the second time in a row, University of Maryland Eastern Shore freshman outside hitter Saitaua Iosia (Long Beach, Calif.) was chosen as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week for the period ending Sept. 11.

Iosia had double-doubles in every match UMES played in the Bryant Invitational, leading her to be named to the All-Tournament Team. She set a team season high 23 kills along with 10 digs in the road victory over Bryant.

On Saturday, Iosia had 13 kills, 17 digs and a pair of aces against Holy Cross followed by 14 kills, with just three hitting errors for an attack percentage of .344, and 10 digs in the win against Harvard. UMES went 2-1 during the weekend, tying Harvard, whom the Hawks defeated 3-0 on Saturday, as the team with the best record in the Bryant Invitational.

Iosia was named MEAC Rookie of the Week last period after being named to the USF Invitational All-Tournament Team. She has led the Hawks in kills each of her first seven matches as a Hawk and has gotten five double-doubles to start the season.

The Hawks will return to Rhode Island on Friday, September 16th to compete in the Brown University Invitational, starting with a rematch against Bryant at

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two-way Sopoaga?

One of the most intriguing players on the 49ers roster has to be nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga. The presence he carries easily dwarfs his 6-foot-2, 330 pound frame. He is the enforcer among his defensive teammates, though no one outside of the team will ever see. He combines the ideals of faith, family and team in nearly every response to a reporter's question. He proudly wears an 'ula, a traditional Samoan necklace, to celebrate his culture. He is the only one who plays music aloud in the locker room. And the stories about his unusual strength are reaching Paul Bunyan status, or whatever the equivalent of Paul Bunyan is in Samoan circles.

During Camp Alex at San Jose State over the summer, I was chatting with the Spartans director of strength and conditioning, Chris Holder, on the sideline while the players ran drills on the field. Holder oversaw the weight room when the players came in to lift during the lockout and would help them stretch and warm up for the day's practice. During our conversation, I asked him if anything stood out to him during the weeks he had worked with the 49ers players. It took him less than three seconds to respond "Isaac Sopoaga". Holder said he had never seen a stronger player. "Ice", as his teammates call him, can push, pull or carry mind boggling amounts of weight and do so deftly, Holder explained. He had never seen anything like it, and he is not the first in his line of work to tell me this.

As I saw fullback Moran Norris limp around the locker room on his injured leg this week, my mind started wandering as I thought about the 49ers running game. I remembered that Sopoaga, had lined up as a fullback last season during the game against the Raiders. He blocked for Frank Gore and Gore easily got the first down. Sopoaga was standing at his locker so I went over and asked him, when the 49ers are in short yardage or goal line situations, are there any plans to use him in the same or similar capacity this season? Sopoaga smiled and said, there might be. He said he is always watching when the offense is in those situations in case he is called upon. He hopes to be. Sopoaga has never played on an offensive line, but has played a lot of rugby. I can hold three or four men at a time in a scrum, Sopoaga said, I have no problem moving one or two 300 pound guys out of the way.

While we talked, I had to ask him how far he can throw a football. Last October while the team was in London for the game against the Broncos, I watched Sopoaga on the field of Wembley Stadium during early warm ups effortlessly throw the ball, 40, 50 yards again and again. Just having a catch with fellow lineman Will Tukuafu. Alex Smith was injured the week before and was out. Troy Smith was going to make his first start for the 49ers, and some of my colleagues and I laughingly wondered if Sopoaga was the third quarterback. The idea may not have been so far fetched.

I can throw 78 yards flat footed, Sopoaga told me. He did so in San Diego during the preseason. Add another several yards - at least - if he steps into it. And how Sopoaga came to throw so far is almost as amazing as the fact he can throw so far. As a kid growing up in Pago Pago, Sopoaga couldn't climb coconut trees to pick the fruit because they were often so slippery. Instead, he would find a one or two pound rock and heave it at the coconuts, up to 70 feet at the coconuts he said, to knock them down. His aim and arm strength improved over time to the point that he can get five or six coconuts to fall in a five minute period. Sopoaga doesn't know what his accuracy would be like in a game, but believes that if he can hit a coconut from 70 feet out with a small rock, he should be able to connect with a larger human target.

I have no idea if Jim Harbaugh has any plan to use Sopoaga's unusual skills to benefit the offense, and even if I asked, he wouldn't say. But if he did, wouldn't that be another story to tell.

Luau builds Bandon brotherhood -Bandon football coach Silia Polamalu


Bandon football coach Silia Polamalu, left, and his brother, Tafea, join several players in uncovering a pig Saturday evening after it was cooked for about 16 hours in a pit outside the Harbor Lights gymnasium. World Photo by John Gunther.

BANDON -- In sports, a football team is like a family. In Polynesian culture, a community is the same way.

Bandon football coach Silia Polamalu wanted to share his Samoan heritage with his team, and saw a luau as the perfect way to do that -- and bring in some money for the football program at the same time.

So late Friday night, the Bandon football players joined Polamalu and some of his family members in digging a pit and preparing a fire to cook a pig in the traditional Samoan way. And Saturday evening they excavated the pig and shared it with more than 200 community members in the first of what Polamalu hopes will be many Bandon luaus.

The dinner guests feasted on the 220-pound pig, provided by the family of player Michael Arriola, and also on side dishes prepared by the other football families. Then they were entertained by a Polynesian dance group from Medford, which performed dances from several islands, ranging from the Cook Islands and New Zealand to Samoa and Hawaii.

Polamalu was thrilled with the turnout for his first luau in his new community.

'I think $30 is a pretty good deal for a meal and a show like this," he said.

But raising funds was only part of the goal for the event.

'I think it's great," said senior Tyler Jacobo, one of the emotional leaders for the Tigers. 'We're making a profit and having fun with the community."

More important, he said, was all the football players getting together Friday night, preparing the cooking pit, then taking turns tending the fire and watching the pig -- he estimated most of the group only got about one hour of sleep.

'From having the team stay the whole night, it's a huge bonding experience," Jacobo said. 'It's about us growing as a team and becoming a brotherhood. That's really important."

In less than a week, the Tigers begin fall football practice, but already more than 20 players have regularly been showing up for voluntary summer workouts -- more than double the amount who took part last year.

The football players learned the traditions first-hand from Polamalu and his family and then their coach shared them with the community, starting with his young daughters, Sialafua and Taeleese joining him in blowing on conch shells to get the attention of the audience.

'The conch shell is something in the islands that would mark the beginning of a ceremony -- to announce to the people that something exciting is going on," he said.

That excitement started with excavating the pig as the dinner guests watched.

Polamalu got the idea for having the luau in part from his brother Joe, the head football coach at Douglas High School, who has been doing the same thing there for several years.

'I think the people enjoy it," Joe Polamalu said. 'It's a good gathering from the locals."

Silia and Joe grew up in the Roseburg area along with brother Tafea and cousin Troy -- the most famous football player in the clan -- learning the tradition from their dad, Salu.

Salu, Joe and Tafea Polamalu all were in Bandon for the weekend to help Silia with his first luau.

'Polynesian culture is very communal," Silia said. 'Family is big and tight. When one of us is doing this, we all help out."

Salu Polamalu said his is proud to see his sons continuing the tradition he learned as a boy in Samoa.

'I'm very excited for him to show the kids," he said. 'This is something they will never forget."

Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or at

Copyright 2011 The World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Uu breaking through Class 2012 Basketball

 Small forward
Carmichael, California
Class:2012 (High School)

Steve Hu, Norcal Preps
Before getting into the basketball details, one needs to understand the interesting background of Parker Uu from Jesuit High. First, the name - it is pronounced as it is spelled, "you-you." Uu is half Samoan and half Dutch. He says of his cultural background breakthrough, "Opposing players seem to underestimate me on the court until they feel the natural strength that I've inherited from my father. Not very many Samoans play basketball these days besides my brother and me. I don't know any other Samoans who play Division I basketball. I hope to represent my Samoan background and play Division I basketball and hopefully go beyond that." In addition, U'u competes in swimming and was the fifth best swimmer in the country as a 10 year old. As for the basketball, Uu has the physical attributes and skills to play at the next level. As a sophomore, this Marauder averaged 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists that helped them to a 22-7 record with a second round California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) playoff loss to Oakmont 82-70. In the loss, he accounted for a fourth of the team scoring with 18 points. At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Uu is the No. 11 player in the 2012 boys basketball rankings. This Marauder can run 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, can bench press 220 pounds, and has a vertical of 30 inches. With his physical attributes, Uu can play both a finesse and power game. He says, "I like to use my body to create separation and use my strength on defense and rebounding. Aside from taking advantage of my frame, I can also be very finesse. Much of my game is smooth. I feel like I have a good feel for the game and strong basketball IQ." Uu compares his game with former Santa Clara star Steve Nash and says, "I feel that Nash is the ultimate team player. I love the way he makes his teammates better. Much like Steve Nash, I feel like I am very unselfish and always willing to do whatever it takes for my team to win. Nash is also a phenomenal shooter, which is one of the strong points in my game." Uu's older brother, Drake, plays for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and also helped the younger Uu to mature and to understand the nuances of the game. During the summer, Uu plays with his club team, Team 94, which is coached by former Golden State Warrior Phil Handy. Team 94 features Mackenzie Moore (College Park HS), John Green (Castlemont HS), and Will Davis (Sacramento HS). Uu says about playing with Team 94, "I really enjoyed the experience of playing at a higher level since I was the youngest on the team at 15 years old, while everyone else was 17, 18, or 19. I learned a lot from the experiences and I enjoyed traveling with the team to South Carolina, Texas, Las Vegas, and Arizona." Coach Handy says, "Parker was a big time contributor to the success of Team 94 this spring and summer. He played at a high level on both ends of the floor and really captured the interest of a lot of D1 coaches with his ability to shoot the ball from deep. If he continues to work on his game and maintain his level of confidence, he will have a great group of schools to select from for scholarship offers." Uu indeed performed at a high level during the spring and summer as he made the top performers list for the Compton Magic Memorial Day Tournament, Dinos' Full Court Press Frosh/Soph all-star team, Duel in the Desert Top 100, and was one of the top performers at this year's NorCal Clash. At the NorCal Clash in San Pablo, Uu displayed his ability to move without the ball and being able to position himself for open three point looks. During his down time, this Marauder works on his perimeter shooting, ball handling, speed, and quickness. He practices plyometrics in order to improve his vertical jumping. Coach Handy says, "Parker has a very high basketball IQ and very versatile on both ends of the floor. He is one of the best shooters on the west coast in his class. Plays with a good motor and works hard. Has a good passion for the game and wants to improve." Uu, who has been playing organized basketball for six years, hopes his efforts will lead the Marauders to a great season and a deeper run in the playoffs. His ultimate goal is to win a state championship. Individually, he wants to be the leader of the team and do whatever it takes to win games this season. He strives to be the best shooter on the west coast, a dominant scorer, and continuing to be a team player. Jesuit Coach Greg Harcos says, "Ultimately, I see Parker as a two guard but with our lack of size he is going to be asked to do a lot of things such as posting up. He could be very hard to guard if he develops all facets of his game and has more weapons than just his smooth stroke." Uu will team with point guard Akachi Okugo to make an effective duo for Jesuit. Coach Harcos says, "Akachi and Parker are two of our best players and they have a large influence on the others. So, I expect them to lead by example and their play." Conversely, Uu says about Coach Harcos, "He has treated every workout to be important and there are consequences for missing them. He has really helped my defense by pushing me in practice and by forcing me to become a better player. It has shaped me to become a better player on the court as well as representing the Jesuit Marauders." Going into his junior year, Cal, Cal Poly SLO, Columbia, Hartford, Denver, Penn, Princeton, Seattle, Stanford, St. Mary's, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and West Virginia have contacted him. He has made unofficial visits to Cal, Cal Poly SLO, and Stanford. Coach Handy says, "Mid-Major D1 prospect. He has a D1 body without having lifted weights. He will be great in the Big West, WCC, Ivy League, Mountain West, and some Pac-10 schools." Uu wants to attend a strong program with great coaching and good teammates. He prefers a good weather climate. Academically, he has a 3.50 GPA and has not taken the SATs yet. He is undecided on his college major but his favorite subjects are History, Math, and Science. Master P, what his teammates call him, has a deep spiritual faith. As a freshman, Uu transferred from Rio Americano HS to Jesuit and the transition was difficult as he had to leave most of his middle school friends and had to transfer from a public to a private school. He is grateful for his family, friends, and school environment that made the transition smoother. As a freshman at Rio Americano HS, he sprained his ankle and had to deal with the frustration. Uu persevered and overcame the injury so as not to miss any game time. He matured through this adversity. "U" "2" should look out for this Marauder to break through for Jesuit and for his NCAA prospects the next two years.

Leotas add size, strength to Knights’ defensive line

Posted On: Wednesday, Sep. 21 2011 11:13 PM

By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald

They don't have the traditional long locks of hair — their mother doesn't allow it. They aren't allowed to sport the culturally-significant tattoos — that's their father's rule.

But for brothers Nathaniel and Nigel Leota, junior and sophomore defensive linemen at Harker Heights, their Samoan heritage is a big part of everything they do — on and off the football field.

"We take a lot of pride (in being Samoan) because we want to represent Samoans in football," Nate, 17, said.

"Show that we can do it, that we can make it," his 16-year-old brother Nigel added.

Born and raised in San Bernadino, Calif., the pair grew up around a close-knit, largely Samoan community, where mostly everybody they saw on a daily basis were of Samoan decent.

It wasn't until their mother moved the family to Killeen in 2008 to be closer to other family members that the nearly 300-pound brothers got their first real taste of a multi-cultural environment, and of course, the foundation of American culture (at least in Texas) — high school football.

Originally attending the private school Killeen Adventist Junior Academy until last year, the only athletics they participated in took place in the backyard.

Then their father decided it was time his growing boys got a real education in football.

"It was really my dad's decision, he wanted us to play football so he moved us to a public school," Nate said. "My mom wanted us to go back to a church school, but my dad was like, 'No, you're going to play football.'"

Learning curve

Having never played organized football until a year ago, it took a little while for the brothers to get a hang of things.

"At first, when I started, I didn't know a thing," Nigel said. "I didn't know what to do, I didn't know when to do it, so I was just playing my game."

That game was based around using their sheer size — about 5-foot-11 and between 275- and 285-pounds — to just power through opposing offensive linemen on junior varsity last season. But over time, and plenty of practice, the pair matured dramatically.

"They're just so big — and they've got a really good punch," Knights defensive coordinator Keith Muehlstein said. "Of course, it took a little bit to adjust to the game, and get the technique right, but they're two big Samoans — two guys we didn't have before."

In fact, the Heights coaches felt so comfortable with the Leotas' ability to hold their own along the defensive line, they decided to move their most talented defender last season — 6-foot-5, 315-pound Darius James — to offense.

The defense hasn't lost a beat as Heights (2-1) enters District 12-5A play this weekend with the top overall defense, allowing just 258 yards per game, including a district-best 306 rushing yards.

Their Samoan heritage has shone through at times on the field, often leading to some inside humor for the brothers.

"When we're on the line we talk to each other," Nate said. "Sometimes we'll speak Samoan to each other, like 'alo i'alu' — that means, 'go over there, go over here' — and sometimes people look confused like, 'What's he talking about?'"

Cultural heritage

According to a "60 Minutes" report last year, there are more than 30 players of Samoan descent in the NFL and over 200 playing Division I college ball, most of which hail from American Samoa — an island of just 65,000 people.

In the same report, it states that Samoan males are 40 percent more likely to make it to the NFL than any other nationality.

"Back there, every Samoan boy wants to play football and they want to go to the NFL — that's their dream," Nate said.

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, most known for his long, curly hair that has earned him a sponsorship deal with Head & Shoulders, is one of the most popular Samoans currently in the NFL.

Others include Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and a trio of Cincinnati Bengals such as linebacker Rey Maualuga, offensive lineman Jonathan Fanene and defensive lineman Domata Peko.

Shoemaker's own NFL star Roy Miller, currently in his third year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is half-Samoan on his mother's side.

"Whenever we watch them on TV, it's like, 'I want to be there,'" Nate said.

"Seeing our culture in the NFL looks good for us because that's our sport back home (American Samoa)," Nigel said.

Although the brothers are — for the most part — American-ized, the strong communal ties of the Samoan culture still permeate throughout their lives.

Even if the only really traditionally Samoan things the Leotas say they partake in are weekend family cookouts and wearing a "ie lava lava" — a sarong skirt worn traditionally by Samoan men and women around the house.

"It's chill clothing, like how people wear basketball shorts, it's like a skirt but it's called the 'ie lava lava," Nigel said.

But when it comes to iconic Samoan symbols like the long, flowing curls or the tribal tattoos, there's little chance for that — at least until they've moved out of the house.

"I know for sure, if we come home with any type of tattoo — tribal or anything — my dad will do something," Nate joked.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

STOCK UP Roy Helu out of Nebraska

Roy Helu: Tim Hightower did have a good game rushing, but when it came to the second half, the Cardinals managed to shut him down, leaving the Redskins to air it out. Thankfully, the rookie out of Nebraska had other things in mind when he got reps – and that was to move the chains down field. Helu had 10 rushes the entire game, but managed to rack up 74 yards. Not only was he lethal with the ball in his hand, but he was lethal catching it too, bringing in a 33 yard reception. If Hightower struggles against the Cowboys, don’t be surprised if Helu takes over for him.

All Polynesian Girls Fastpitch Softball Players


All Polynesian Girls Fastpitch Softball Players are encouraged to sign up for the upcoming Softball Camp. We are looking to organize the camp during the Christmas break or during Spring break. Many have signed up on .

Camp is for 8U to 18U girls. We have girls signing up from across California. Looking forward to the 1st Annual Polynesian All American Softball Camp to be held in Cerritos, California.

Fill out the information online and we'll keep you posted.

God bless.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Skyline Juniors Volleyball Coach Texas Moli Etimani

Coaching Philosophy:
“I want to have a positive influence on players who want to learn the game of volleyball.”

About Moli:
Moli brings to Skyline Juniors many years of playing and coaching experience. He played high school volleyball, basketball and football in American Samoa when he was younger. He also played for the Air Force and made the All Armed Forces teams. He then played for the University of Hawaii in 1984-85. He played in numerous adult USAV open and AVP tournaments in California until he moved to Texas with his job. Moli has had the opportunity to play with many elite athletes over his playing career. He has been an assistant coach with Skyline for two years and a head coach for two years. In his 2004-2005 season he assisted his 15 National team to be the first Skyline National team to qualify at a National Qualifier Event and a 5th place finish at J. O. Nationals. In 2006 he was the Head Coach for the 14 National team where he led his team to a J.O. National appearance. In 2007, he was the head coach for 15 National where he led his team to two, 3rd place finishes at Junior Olympic Qualifiers, just missing qualifying his team by a few points in each match. We are excited to move Moli into a Head RoShamBo position as he continues to prove his success as an excellent trainer of the game; not to mention he is a ball of energy and brings much enthusiasm to the court.

At 6-8, Jets' Pitoitua makes big return

At 6-8, Jets' Pitoitua makes big return

September 20, 2011 7:47 PM By RODERICK BOONE

Marcus Dixon almost feels sorry for anyone lining up opposite fellow Jets reserve defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua.

"He is a beast," Dixon said. "That guy manhandles everybody in front of him."

Pitoitua is gargantuan, not cut in the prototypical mold of a defensive lineman. He seems to hover into the stratosphere because of his 6-8, 315-pound frame.

The third-year pro out of Washington State is slowly and quietly becoming one of the Jets' rising young players, despite being someone who doesn't fill a stat sheet. Pitoitua, who has fully recovered from a torn left Achilles tendon, has only one tackle in the season's first two games. But his effectiveness can't be measured by numbers.

"His ability to hustle for a tall guy, he plays everything at 6-foot-8," defensive tackle Sione Pouha said. "He's strong, he's fast, he's quick, he's nimble and he's also smart. And to have that on the defensive line, I think he's very valuable for us."

The Jets were planning on Pitoitua being a major part of their defensive line rotation last season. Rex Ryan was excited about the potential contributions of Pitoitua, who signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2008 and spent that season on the practice squad before playing in eight games in 2009.

However, in 2010, Pitoitua tore his Achilles in the second preseason game, forcing the Jets to place him on season-ending injured reserve.

"It was really tough," Pitoitua said. "With any injury, it's tough physically and emotionally. You really want to be out there and be a part of the team. There's nothing you can do as far as being on the field and helping the guys out."

Once the lockout was implemented last March, Pitoitua was caught in a tight spot during the rehab -- which was supposed to take 12 to 14 months -- because he couldn't have any contact with Jets trainer John Melody. So with Melody keeping tabs through a third party, Pitoitua instead worked out with personal trainer Gerry Guerrero in Manhattan. Guerrero apparently did a good job because people were raving about the shape the 26-year-old native of Samoa was in.

Still, it took some time until Pitoitua was comfortable again, a moment that finally arrived when the Jets met the Giants in Week 3 of the preseason.

"Just the feeling, I don't know what it is," said Pitoitua, who recently signed a one-year extension that keeps him under contract through next year. "But once I got to it, I'm like, 'This is where I left off at.' I'm like, 'Man, this is what it is.' Bam! Felt like I never left."

Pitoitua is giving the Jets another quality reserve to rotate in and keep guys fresh, something they hope helps their late-game pass rush and run defense.

"It's huge," defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said. "He's come back and has picked up exactly where he left off. He's that guy. He's high-motor, super strong. He's a guy that, for as big as he is, sometimes you have to worry about his pad level, but he's so strong that he can still pop up a little bit and still be effective. He's a Jet and he plays like that. He's passionate, he's relentless.

"The phrase we use, he plays like his hair's on fire. He doesn't say a word. You can just tell he loves football, and that clearly makes him one of us."

Runnin' Bulldogs Sign Mauola Malaga and Kapono Asuega

Runnin' Bulldogs Sign 17 More Student-Athletes To Football National Letters Of Intent Courtesy: Gardner-Webb Release: March 23, 2011

   BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb University announced Wednesday that 17 student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to play football for the Runnin’ Bulldogs and new head coach Ron Dickerson, Jr., bringing the total class to 19.

“This has been a selective process for our coaching staff, and will continue. We wanted to add young men who are capable of helping us win championships and were successful in doing so,” said Dickerson. “We were able to find great fits for our school and football program. Hats off to our staff for the countless hours spent in helping build our roster.”

Gardner-Webb added one January enrollee in linebacker Bradley Taylor (6-1, 220) of Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy, and signed a pair of junior college standouts in nose guard Kapono Asuega (6-0, 280) of two-time junior college champion Mount San Antonio (Calif.) College and offensive lineman Aaron Huck (6-4, 310) of San Jose City (Calif.) College.

Asuega, who played alongside Big South Conference Freshman of the Year Preston Pemasa at Orange Lutheran (Calif.) High, was rated the nation’s No. 70 defensive tackle prospect, and the fifth-best defensive line prospect in California as a high school senior in 2008.

Huck played one season at San Jose City College after spending two seasons at the University of Nevada. Both Huck and Asuega have two seasons of college eligibility remaining.

Huck is one of five offensive linemen to sign with Gardner-Webb, adding necessary talent and depth to that position group. The rest of the offensive line class includes: Rory Gilmartin (6-8, 300) of Downey (Calif.) High; Mauola Malaga (6-3, 285) of Tafuna High in American Samoa, Matt McAlvin (6-5, 295) of Greenbrier (Ga.) High and Ashanti McPhee (6-4, 302) of West Orange (Fla.) High.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs signed players from six different states and American Samoa. The group of six players from Florida marks the most signed by Gardner-Webb from the Sunshine State since moving to Division I in 2000.

Monday, September 19, 2011

NMMI women netters start season at No. 9 nationally

Posted by Karen Boehler on February 16, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Photo courtesy NMMI Sports Press — The Bronco women's tennis team is ranked ninth nationally to start the spring season. Team members are, top row: Litia Godinet and Adalyn Hazelman. Second row: Jazmine Burt, Coach Zeljka Vidic and Karla Martinez. Bottom row: Samantha Dunn and Alyssa Hawkins.

Karen Boehler
CCSR writer/editor

If the Lady Bronco tennis team lives up to the rankings they have going into the spring season, they’re going to be a team to watch out for.

NMMI finished the fall season ranked ninth nationally, with five of the six Broncos individually ranked.

“We did good this fall,” said coach Zeljka Vidic. “We just have to keep it up. The girls are working hard.”

Leading the way for NMMI will be Karla Martinez, a sophomore from Gomez Palacio, who finished last year ranked No. 4 in doubles and starts the spring season No. 6 in singles.

“She’s our veteran,” Vidic said. “She already has experience so we hope for some good matches.”

The remaining five are all freshmen, but are already moving up the ranking ladder.

Litia Godinet, American Samoa, is No. 29, and will fill the No. 2 slot for the Broncos.

“She’s been doing well,” the coach said. “She’s a good player.”

NMMI No. 3 Adalyn Hazelman, Fiji, is No. 60 nationally, and should be a familiar name as her brother, Daneric, played for NMMI the past two years.

No. 4 Alyssa Hawkins, is 94th, and rounding out the squad are Goddard grad Samantha Dunn and Jazmine Burt, a newcomer this spring.

Martinez/Godinet are ranked No. 9 in doubles with Hazelman/Dunn are No. 28.

NMMI will get a chance to see if they can move up that ladder a bit when they open the spring season Friday and Saturday at the Collin County Tennis Bash.

The Broncos will open play Friday vs. Tyler, the No. 1-ranked team in the country.

“So it’s going to be an exciting match. Our players are playing good, training hard and we have a good group of girls. We’ll just have to see how it goes,” Vidic said. “It’s good. It’s good competition for the first match. They’re a tough team but we’ll do our best.”

The Broncos will also face host Collin County Friday, and Lee College Saturday.

NMMI also has matches against Hardin Simmons University, Temple College, Seminole State, Abilene Christian University, University of the Southwest, Our Lady of the Lake, North Central Texas and Temple College, as well as the National Dual Match Invitational Tournament and Southwest Junior College Championships.

And it’s all a lead up to the NJCAA National Championships, May 5-10 in Tucson.

“Nine in the nation? That’s the best we’ve had for women’s tennis,” Vidic said. “So we just have to keep working hard, hopefully play hard. Take care of our bodies so we don’t get injured and hope for the best. I’m excited about the upcoming season. It’s a good group.”

Jets DE Ropati Pitoitua Signed One-Year Extension

New York Jets defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract extension earlier this month, a league source confirmed on Sunday.

Pitoitua's $480,000 base salary this season was not changed, but the 6-foot-8, 315-pound defensive end received a $150,000 signing bonus and is scheduled to earn $950,000 in bases salary and a $200,000 workout bonus in 2012.

Pitoitua spent his rookie season on the Jets practice squad, had three tackles in eight games in 2009 and spent 2010 on injured reserve after tearing his Achilles during a preseason game.

The former undrafted free agent out of Washington State was scheduled to be a restricted free agent in 2012.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

2012 Class Across America Polynesians from JUCO to high school level sign in now and become noticed....

2012 Class Across America Polynesians from JUCO to high school who may have offers but are still undecided and some with no offers at the moment. Please visit for assistance in the recruiting process. Class of 2013 is also welcome to sign up.
Caleb Saulo - 6-2/218/- Kent, WA

Liti Molisi - 5-10/175/- Salt Lake CIty, UT

Alamoti Vaenuku - 5-11/215/- Ephraim, UT

Joe Te'o - 5-11/200/- Concord, CA

Stephon Vaifale - 5-10/185/- Kent, WA

Feao Vunipola - 6-0/220/- Pittsburg, CA

Jordan Kapeli - 5-10/268/5.27 Henderson, NV

Soni Kinikini - 6-0/235/- Ephraim, UT

Austin Ka'ahanui - 6-3/210/4.65 Portland, OR

Noah Makainai - 5-11/160/4.6 Kaneohe, HI

Sione Kauhi - 6-6/245/- Wilsonville, OR

Mia Valoaga - 6-6/210/- Oxnard, CA

Mike Milovale 5.4 6-4/310/- Salinas, CA

Nua Poteki 5.4 6-5/310/- Sandy, UT NR Utah

Kimi Maka - 6-5/340/- Coalinga, CA

Tino Tuilata - 6-5/310/- Walnut, CA

Tavita Taito 5.6 6-1/298/- Antioch, CA

Edmund Faimalo - 6-3/270/5.1 Redlands, CA

Fehoko Fanaiki - 6-6/340/5.5 San Mateo, CA

Viliami Koloamatangi - 6-3/275/- Mesa, AZ

Fine Latu - 6-3/265/- Monterey, CA

Gus Lavaka - 6-4/300/- Kearns, UT

P.J. Taeao - 6-1/334/6.01 Las Vegas, NV

Brendon Tago - 6-2/315/- Lancaster, CA

Frank Tanuvasa - 6-8/380/- Palm Desert, CA

Semesi Tupou - 6-5/400/- Norwalk, CA

Will Vaitai - 6-2/285/5.6 Haltom City, TX

Kevin Vaitai - 6-2/250/5 Haltom City, TX

Bill Vavau - 6-4/330/- Ephraim, UT

Seth Magalei - 6-2/315/- Hayward, CA

Bubba Siliga - 6-0/290/5.2 Redlands, CA

John Tuuta - 6-3/310/- Fork Union, VA

Kimo Seau 5.3 6-1/209/5.09 Las Vegas, NV

Maile Fainu - 6-4/240/- Sacramento, CA

Siosifa Fotu - 6-3/235/- San Leandro, CA NR

Tyler Matavao - 5-10/220/- Hurricane, UT NR

Mafi Seanoa - 6-1/230/- Compton, CA NR

Peter Tafea - 6-2/223/4.99 Beaverton, OR

Ngata Tuihalamaka - 6-1/230/- Corona, CA

Deansol Vaeao - 6-3/240/- Long Beach, CA

DeForest Buckner 5.8 6-7/230/5.04 Honolulu, HI

Moana Ofahengaue 5.7 6-4/205/4.7 Lehi, UT

Iosea Iosea 5.7 6-6/270/4.7 San Francisco, CA

Koliniasi Leota 5.6 6-5/275/- Walnut, CA

Samson Kafovalu 5.5 6-3/253/- Riverside, CA

Moses Folauhola 5.4 6-0/250/- West Valley City, UT

Alauna Finau - 6-2/250/- Norwalk, CA

Pepa Fonokalafi - 6-1/300/5 Tucson, AZ

Langi Haupeakui - 6-1/275/- San Mateo, CA

Benson Laumatia - 6-1/255/- Ephraim, UT

Jaryl Mamea - 6-0/275/- Hayward, CA

Tyler Marona - 6-5/230/- Altadena, CA

Gus Tavita - 6-0/250/- Menifee, CA

Maua Vole - 6-1/260/4.75 Mission Viejo, CA

Visesio Salt 5.8 6-3/340/- Walnut, CA

Vaha Vainuku 5.6 6-3/295/- Salt Lake City, UT

A.J. Fanene - 6-3/270/- Riverside, CA

Fred Lavulo - 6-2/310/- Norwalk, CA

Aaron Leauma - 5-11/260/- San Marcos, CA

Lawrence Lehauli - 6-1/280/- Norwalk, CA

Sia Leni - 6-1/260/- Carson, CA

Tomasi Molesi - 6-2/275/4.8 Yuma, AZ

A.J. Pataialii - 6-2/325/- Ephraim, UT

Uso Olive - 6-1/293/5 Federal Way, WA

Tony Tanumai - 5-11/255/- Independence, MO

Pasi Toki - 6-0/290/- Hayward, CA

Calvin Tonga - 6-4/320/5 Yuma, AZ

Lino Tuifalasai - 6-5/340/- Walnut, CA

Allen Vaiao - 6-0/298/5.46 Las Vegas, NV

John Vave - 6-3/254/- Kailua, HI

Siaosi Feinga - 6-1/245/- Mesa, AZ

Victor Iosefa - 5-10/200/- Apple Valley, CA

Johnathan Iulio - 5-8/215/- Sacramento, CA

John Mahe - 6-1/235/- Ephraim, UT

Anthony Segi - 5-11/260/- Seattle, WA

Masi Tuitama - 6-1/225/- Ventura, CA

Sonny Tupua - 6-0/220/- Florence, OR

Jared Afalava 5.7 6-3/215/- South Jordan, UT

Elijah Sala 5.3 6-3/225/4.5 Wilmington, CA

T.J. Alofipo - 6-2/240/- Yuma, AZ

Sosaia Maafu - 5-10/200/- Phoenix, AZ

Tyson Otuafi - 5-11/200/- Reno, NV

Jesse Tauiliili - 6-0/220/- Glendora, CA

Samson Toalei - 5-11/220/- Victorville, CA

Jared Tuilagi - 6-1/200/4.76 Henderson, NV

Micah Pono Choy - 5-11/175/- Honolulu, HI

Freddie Tagaloa 5.8 6-8/300/- Richmond, CA

Caleb Saulo Kent Lake Falcon Football Bio

His full name is Caleb Siaki Saulo but most of his friends call him 'C'. As a young child playing football in his Junior Football days Caleb says, “I’d never have thought I’d be playing Quarterback and Linebacker this very day.”  Caleb’s been involved with the Kentlake football program for two years and says “So far I’ve enjoyed every second of it, besides conditioning.  His plans after highschool are to continue taking his football dream to the next level, eventually becoming a college football coach.  His backup plan is to become involved with Law enforcement.  After graduation Caleb plans to attend college, and earn a Criminal Justice degree.  Caleb adds, “When I get older I plan on having a family of my own! This might sound crazy but I want eleven kids, hopefully all boys, it would be like having my own little football squad.”

Saturday, September 17, 2011

AIGA Foundation Sports Combines And Athletic Camps

Serving The Athletic Community Since 1997
A message to all members of AIGA Foundation Sports Combines And Athletic Camps
Football: Class of 2012 and 2013 looking to provide your information to potential collegiate recruiters and submit to local and abroad polynesian all star games complete the information requested on the 2012 Polynesian Prospects Icon on the AIGA Foundation main page. Your completed, 7 item email should be sent to . Thanks and Good luck.
Visit AIGA Foundation Sports Combines And Athletic Camps at:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Xavier University Hires Christabell Hamilton As women’s Volleyball Coach

Official Release  |  June 14, 2011  |

Christabell Hamilton

NEW ORLEANS — Christabell Hamilton is the new head coach of women’s volleyball at Xavier University of Louisiana.

Hamilton, who has coaching experience at the college, high school and club levels, worked her first day at Xavier on Tuesday.

We are confident that Christabell will do an outstanding job,” XU Athletics Director Dennis Cousin said. “She impressed our search committee with her knowledge, her enthusiasm, her confidence and her personality. She’s a great fit for Xavier.”

Hamilton, 29, coached five seasons (2005-09) at Tarleton State University, an NCAA Division II member in Stephenville, Texas. She was a graduate assistant in the 2005 and 2006 seasons and was promoted to full-time assistant after receiving her master’s degree there. She helped the TexAnns go 22-10 in 2008 — the program’s first winning record in 16 seasons — and reach the semifinals of the Lone Star Conference Tournament for the second time in three years. Tarleton’s 2008 team placed second in the LSC regular season.

She moved to New Orleans in August after her husband, Ronnie, was hired as a men’s basketball assistant coach at Tulane University. She was
 a middle-school volleyball coach at Metairie Park Country Day School, then a varsity girls volleyball assistant coach at Louise S. McGehee School, where she helped the Hawks reach the semifinals of Louisiana’s Division IV state playoffs in 2010. She was coaching the girls 17s at Krewe Volleyball Club when Xavier offered her its position.

“I want all my kids to graduate from Xavier, first and foremost,” Hamilton said. “I want them to succeed in volleyball and get recognition on the conference, NAIA and national levels. And most importantly, I want them to be great people — to represent our community, Xavier, as well as their families in a positive light.”

Hamilton was a three-time All-LSC selection — she was known then as Christabell Mariner — at NCAA Division II member Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. She played middle blocker and outside hitter for the Zias from 1999-2002, set school records for kills in a season (575 in 2001) and career (1,695) and was inducted into the ENMU Hall of Honor in 2009. She received her bachelor’s degree from ENMU in 2005.

Hamilton is a native of Pago Pago, America Samoa, and was a standout volleyball player at Tafuna High School, where she had a 4.0 grade-point average and was valedictorian of the Class of 1999. Her uncle, Jesse Sapolu, was a San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman from 1983-97, a two-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of four Super Bowl champions.

“Samoans are known as happy people,” Hamilton said. “We are very family oriented, always put God first and respect others.”

Because of her hiring at Xavier, Hamilton was forced to resign as a player on the American Samoan national team which will compete in the Pacific Games in Nouméa, New Caledonia, in August.

Hamilton replaces Al’lisa Hale, who coached the Gold Nuggets for one season. Xavier was 11-26 in 2010 and placed third in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. The Gold Nuggets will begin the 2011 regular season in late August.

What They’re Saying About Christabell Hamilton

Mike Maguire, Eastern New Mexico Women’s Volleyball Coach: “You couldn’t have gotten a better coach. Christabell is an extremely fine young lady. She played here four years, broke a lot of records and was as humble as can be. She did a great job when she coached at Tarleton State. I know she’ll do a great job at Xavier. She’s fun-loving and hard-working. You guys are extremely lucky to get her.”

Mary Schindler, Tarleton State Women’s Volleyball Coach: “I am so excited for Christabell. This is going to be a great job for her — to build a program and establish something. She can recruit very well. She has a great personality, and she got along great with our players at Tarleton. She wants to win and she’s driven to win, but she wants to do it the right way. She wants her kids to graduate and do the right things.”

Val Whitfield-Dunn, Louise S. McGehee Girls Volleyball Coach: “There are no negatives about Christabell. She is very lively and upbeat. She has an excellent personality. She’s hilarious. She’s a people person. We are extremely disappointed that she left McGehee, but she is fulfilling one of her dreams, which is to be a head coach. She will do extraordinary and fabulous things for Xavier University and your volleyball program.”

Playoffs hope rest on the knees of Tyson Alualu

Considering the last topic for any Jaguars discussion was on December 29th 2010, discussing the hopes that Trent Edwards may carry this young team in to the playoffs, I though it best to revisit that theme.

This is a young team. That is not ready for the playoffs. One simple reason, the passing game just isn't there yet. It's getting there. Tools like Mike Thomas, Marcedes Lewis, Deji Karim and MJD are waiting for this offense to take the next step. But that next step is at least one to two years away, pending the meteoric rise of Blaine Gabbert and the X receiver I expect will be Jaguars first pick next year.

But let's talk about what is there. It's that defense that no one respects, yet. And by all means there is no need to respect them yet. They were embarrassing last year, I just never understood how receivers got so open so often. And when they got tackled they never stopped. How can you be that bad? Every game? Nuts. But all the right sort of acquisitions were made this off-season. Landri, Coleman and Lowery played one real game and boy they looked the part. Such solid tackling that was so lacking last year. The media attributed Chris Johnson's 3 rushing yards in the first half to his extended lockout, I attribute it to a defense that made constant penetration behind the lines and completely closed the edges every time. It was perfect and it felt great seeing a good Jaguars D since the Gregg William days. The famously underrated Daryl Smith is now flanked by the wonderful run stuffing Posluszny and a man I've seen very often, Clint Session. The line is epic top to bottom. Have you seen Alualu out there? The guy has a motor and lift off the line that's elite. He's improving exponentially game after game, doing his best to emulate Mathis-esque spin moves. He's going to make a name for himself and his team. Knighton is a tank to say the least. Matt Roth and Aaron Kampman are proven veteran bookends that will not only bring productivity in sacks, but mentorship to the rookie tackles in the depth chart behind them. What about that Jeremy Mincey kid, I know Kampman is not 100% yet, but even if he was I doubt Kampman would start in front of Mincey after the productivity he has shown.

I'm feeling good about this defense. Jaguars have this uncanny ability to dissolve and crumble at the same time, in away games. Let's see what Week 2 in the Meadowlands has to offer. I'm hopeful, very hopeful, that Mark Sanchez is in for a stuffing. Still. Jaguars won't win. That offense just isn't there yet.

Manti Te'o Leads Notre Dame Defense Into Battle

By Paul M. Banks, today at 3:24 pm

Expectations are always high for both Manti Te’o and Notre Dame.

Te’o, an inside linebacker who graduated from the same high school as President Barack Obama, is one of those all-worldly college football recruits that earn the highest ratings possible from every recruiting service imaginable. Both ESPNU and the Sporting News rated him the top defensive player, and 2nd best player, in the nation. His recruiting process was highly publicized, and his final two choices were the ND and USC.

Alas, neither the Fighting Irish nor the Trojans, two of the game’s most storied teams, will contend for a national title this year, or likely even next year. The Irish came into 2011 ranked #16 in the nation, with many experts believing they’d be a BCS contender.

However, two heartbreaking losses to start the season puts them at 0-2 and in an especially precarious position as they take on the #15 Michigan State Spartans on Saturday.

“Whenever you lose that’s tough in itself. Te’o said after the Michigan game, a contest in which the whole nation watched the Irish blow a 24-7 4th quarter lead and lose a very emotional game 35-31.

Te’o is not only the defense’s best player, but also their emotional leader, so there’s a lot of responsibility on him to bring the unit back so the team can respond.

“It’s not whether will we or can we, we have to,” he said.

Although the defense, pass defense especially, did not look good in week two, the unit looked pretty good in week one versus South Florida.

“I mean I think defensively we did okay. There were times where we could have made some more plays, but you know it’s a team , we’re going to win or lose as a team. So we’ve just got to come back in and get better,” Te’o said after the USF loss.

When he was a freshman, the 6-2, 245lb LB posted the third-most tackles ever by an Irish rookie; and ranked fourth on ND with 63 stops in 2009. His 2010 season was even better as he had 133 total tackles (most for an Irish defender since 1983), 9.5 for a loss, a fumble recovery and three pass breakups.

His defensive coordinator Bob Diaco described him thusly:

“He’s definitely in the top cut of maturity. He’s just a mature person with a big heart. Always in service, in service to the student body, his teammates, his coaches, helping out his buddies. So when you factor that with his tangible skill set on the field, that’s really a special blend.”

Given the current depth chart, this is a do-or-die type of season in South Bend. Seven of the eleven starters on defense are seniors. And that doesn’t include Te’o, who could jump early for the NFL Draft, given that many NFL scouts have him projected as a first round pick. On offense, the Irish will graduate every starter but one on the line, and their biggest overall playmaker on the entire team in wide Michael Floyd.

The chance to turn things around starts Saturday, at home versus a #15 Spartans team that’s been victorious in five of their last six visits to Notre Dame Stadium. Te’o remains positive:

“We have to stay together, if we stay together everything will be fine, and we control our own destiny.”

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2012 Commit list 9/15/2011

Jordan Pulu LB Federal Way, WA Federal Way 6'1" 235 Washington State Commit

Taylor Taliulu DB Aiea, HI Aiea 5'11" 171 Washington State Commit 

Pio Vatuvei DE Patterson, CA Patterson 6'2" 265 USC Commit

Isaiah Folasa OL Corona, CA Santiago 6'2" 340 UCLA Commit

Steven Lakalaka RB Honolulu, HI Punahou 5'10" 200 UCLA Commit

Hiva Lutui OL Euless, TX Trinity 6'3" 284 UCLA Commit

Psalm Wooching RB Kailua Kona, HI Kealakehe 6'3" 210 UCLA Commit

Salamo Fiso LB Long Beach, CA Poly 6'0" 200 Arizona State Commit

Kimball Niumatalolo LB Pasadena, Pasadena City C.C. 6'0" 235 Arizona State Commit

Niu Sale OL Wilmington, Los Angeles Harbor C.C. 6'4" 320 Arizona State Commit

Isaac Seumalo OL Corvallis, OR Corvallis 6'3" 280 Oregon State Commit

Ben Moa DE San Diego, CA Kearny 6'4" 225 San Diego State Commit

Moses Folauhola DE West Valley City, UTHunter 6'0" 250 UTAH Commit

Nua Poteki OL Sandy, UT Brighton 6'5" 310 UTAH Commit

Kiha Sai OL Honolulu, HIKamehameha School 6'4" 300 UTAH Commit

Sione Tupouata DE Ephraim, UTSnow College 6'4" 255 UTAH Commit

Kalei Auelua DE Honolulu, HI St. Louis 6'3" 240 Washington Commit

Ma'ne Manaea DB Lakewood, WA Lakes 5'11" 185 Colorado Commit

Will Latu OL Santa Clarita, CA College of the Canyons 6'5" 315 Auburn Commit

Jherremya Leuta-Douyere DE Anaheim, CA Servite 6'1" 225 BYU Commit

Butch Pauu LB Anaheim, CA Servite 6'1" 215 BYU Commit

Polo Manukainiu DE Euless, TX Trinity 6'6" 256 Oklahoma Commit

Luke Kaumatule DE Honolulu, HI Punahou 6'7" 268 Stanford Commit

Kimo Tipoti OL Hurst, TX L. D. Bell 6'3" 330 Texas AM Commit

Halapoulivaati Vaitai OL Haltom City, TX Haltom 6'6" 256 Texas Tech Commit

Sione Houma    5.5  6-0/211/4.53  Salt Lake City, UT  5  Michigan Commit