Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Samoa Bowl VIII football ends with a good showing by Australia

 Tuesday January 4, 2011
By T. Gasu

American Samoa’s most threatening runner during Saturday’s International All Star Game, Moli Pereira out of Fagaitua High School, storming down the field as he tries to get away from Australia’s hardest hitter on the field, Aaron Saunders. [photo: T. Gasu]

The last game of this year’s Samoa Bowl VIII events was the International All Star Game between the Gridiron Australia All Stars and our local American Samoa International All Stars — and despite a shutout game being handed to the boys from the Land Down Under — they showed their meddle with a decent defensive showing.
Last year’s International All Star Game, concluded with a big blow out of 49 - 6 in favor of our local All Star team, under the management of former Head Coach Pepine Lauvao.
This year, Head Coach Pooch Ta’ase settled the match to a shut-out, as his International All Star defensive players are all the top, and ranked as “the best”, selected players on island.
The weather was a major factor in the first game of Saturday evening between Hawaii and American Samoa, and continued to cause havoc during the International All Star Game.
In the beginning of this year’s Samoa Bowl International All Star Game, Australia won the coin toss and requested to send off the opening kick off of the game. With Australia’s Thomas Bean delivering the opening kick off, Samoa’s Shane Taupau returned that kick and spotted American Samoa’s first down possession on their own 35-yard line, after being taken down hard by Aussie’s Ricky Young.
Leading American Samoa’s offensive unit for the first time was Ricardo Gonzales, a Junior out of Fagaitua High School, who started off their series with some good gaining running plays to Mulitalo, Sagapolutele, and Pereira.
American Samoa’s Moli Pereira was seen that day, as one of the most threatening factors for our local All Star team, as he showed a lot of willingness to move the chain, by using his strength and skills, to out run, and juke out Aussie defenders, for big moves.
Then with 06:07, American Samoa’s first down possession on Australia’s 7-yard line, it was a quick inside hand off to Pereira, who danced his way through the middle, and spotted a gap for the first touchdown of the game, bringing American Samoa to lead 6 - 0. Their field goal conversion by Sitagata was no good.
Then, after American Samoa sent the kick off for Australia to return, it was Richard Truong that came speeding behind his blockers, and was brought down hard by two defenders with a crushing hit, which spotted Australia’s first down possession on their own 35-yard line.
Aussie’s offensive unit, which was lead by Jordan Seeto from Queensland, started off their offensive possession with a shot gun formation, which lead to some minor set backs for them. Most of their conversions were lucky to be incomplete passes rather than picks, and their running plays were fortunate to be downs rather than fumbles, due to the wet slippery football. Their fourth down conversion turned into a punting situation, which brough American Samoa back on the hunt.
Then with 3:45 remaining in the first quarter, Gonzales brings American Samoa all the way into Australia’s 15-yard line for a first down possession. A play that was a success for American Samoa again, when Gonzales ptiched the ball out to Raymond Mulitalo, who patiently waited for his gap to open up, and targeted the hole for the second touchdown of the game. Their two point conversion was a counter hand off to Mulitalo again, who rammed his way through the middle, and spots himself half way into the end zone for two points, as he extended their lead to 14 - 0.
Early in the second quarter, Australia’s defense came short on coverage again, when American Samoa had a first down possession on the Aussie’s 2-yard line. A fake counter play by Gonzales, lead to a quarterback lead which he executed well, to add six more points on the board for our local All Star team. Their field goal conversion by Faafouina Sitagata was good, as he lead the team to 21 - 0.
Later on in the quarter, American Samoa’s second down on Australia’s 42-yard line, a counter inside hand off to Chasen Sagapolutele of NVTHS, who ran over Australia’s hardest hitters on the field, and took off blasting towards the end zone for another American Samoa touchdown. Their field goal conversion by Sitagata was good, as he brought American Samoa to lead 35 - 0.
In the second half, Australia’s defense brought the heat, as they managed to shut out American Samoa throughout the whole second half, with middle linebacker Aaron Saunders, leading the Aussies defense.
American Samoa’s defense was also a fright to the Aussies, as the local boys were looking to lay out some injuries on that day, which occurred consistently throughout the game.
The fourth quarter seconds ran down to zero, and the score remained at 35 - 0.
It’s been two years since Australia became a part of the Samoa Bowl events, and American Samoa has claimed the International championship each time. However, Australia’s performances have improved each time, and with this year’s Samoa Bowl performance, the experience alone should lead us to expect an even better team next year.
Samoa News spoke to Australia’s Head Coach Peter Tos after the game, he said, “well, we are a bit better than last year as far as the score goes, but it was pretty accurate because we got a young team this time, younger than last year’s team and they’ll probably be back again, but the experience was great for them.”

American Samoa’s Head Coach Ta’ase told Samoa News that Australia brought a talented team this year, “my hat off to head coach Peter Tos and the Australia team for their hard work and effort to make it back this year. They definitely brought back a tougher challenge than last year, and I would like to thank them for bringing a good game this year. Happy New Year.”

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