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 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Defensive Line MVP; Uso Olive; Federal Way; '12

This was a tough one. But at the end of the day Uso Olive took home bragging rights. At 300 pounds of muscle Olive has all you would want in a DT or Nose Guard.

The lion-hearted Senior roared through the 1-1 competition and really only ran into resistance against Cody Fulleton when he switched to the offensiver side of the ball.

Both Cody and Uso were finalist contenders alongs with Hobie Sisk and Sawyer Whalen.

O'live is gaining much interest and is expected to have an offer anytime now. Same for the others mentioned here.

Outstanding Linebacker; Caleb Saulo; Kentlake; 2012

The 6'2", and 218 pounder from Kentlake impresses us everywhere he goes. As a linebacker he is a perfect combination of size and speed.

Add to that agressiveness and a mean streak and you have the makings for one explosive athlete.

Caleb did not disappoint and was solid in many reps he competed in during the 1-1 phase of the camp. He also faired very well in pass coverage in the 7 on 7.

He holds offers from Army, Airforce, and Portland State and is closing in on others.

Some of these schools want caleb as a QB where he looks good but it is hard to resist seeing him on defense as a star linebacker.

A great camp for him at the 5 Star Event.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ice in the Middle

By Taylor Price

Not playing last week in New Orleans crushed Isaac Sopoaga. But even though he was sidelined with a minor injury, the 6-foot-2, 320-pounder was part of the team in spirit.

With the consent of coach Jim Harbaugh, Sopoaga went out with his teammates before the game and led them through his signature dance, “The Haka,” which he learned while growing up in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

Standing in a sea of teammates, Sopoaga’s energy and passion could be seen from the Superdome’s rafters. But somehow, the player affectionately known as “Ice” in the 49ers locker room managed to cool himself down after his motivational tactic.

“My heart, my soul, was with our guys,” said the eight-year pro, who will play nose tackle for the 49ers this season after playing defensive end for the last three. “I thank Coach Harbaugh for letting me do that. It made me feel like part of the team on the field.”

The game’s outcome didn’t go the 49ers way, but you can assume there will be an even livelier performance from the 49ers on Saturday if Sopoaga makes his preseason debut against the Oakland Raiders.

Sopoaga has been working through an injury that has limited him in camp and has recently returned to practice, impressing his new coaching staff in limited action.

“He’s really picked it up here in the past couple days and he looks to be healthy,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “He seems to be ready to go.”

Sopoaga also seems to be enjoying his new assignment on the defensive line. After all, it’s a familiar position. Sopoaga played his first four NFL seasons as an interior defensive lineman and has played the last three seasons as a five-technique in the team’s 3-4 defensive scheme.

But with Aubrayo Franklin signing a one-year deal with New Orleans late in the offseason, Sopoaga was asked to move back inside.

He did it graciously, without questioning it.

“I’m loving it,” Sopoaga said of the position change. “It’s my job. Taking two to three guys on – that’s nothing new. That was the same thing when I was playing end. I was double- and triple-teamed by tackles and tight ends, too.

“Whatever comes my way, I’ll be well prepared for it.”

The 49ers like what they’ve seen from Sopoaga so far, however, his absence has opened the door for third-year defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois to gain valuable experience. Jean Francois, who lined up as the starting nose last Friday, has maximized those opportunities.

Fangio praised his defensive line group for setting the tone for the defense and said his defensive linemen have four players capable of starting. The 49ers will only line up three starters which figure to be Sopoaga flanked by Justin Smith and Ray McDonald.

And that makes Jean Francois the line’s equivalent of an NBA team’s sixth-man.

“In my mind we have four starters out there,” Fangio said. “It doesn’t really matter which three run out there for the first play. They’re a good, hard-working prideful group.”

Much of that description stems from Sopoaga, an easy-going, hard-worker in his own right, who brings his hard hat to work every day.

“Ice doesn’t really say much,” explained Jean Francois, “but when he does, you know what he means.”

So when Sopoaga’s teammates saw their emotional leader lining up to lead his dance in pregame warm-ups, most of them knew what it was about.

“We know he’s not doing it just for fun,” Jean Francois said. “He’s doing it because he’s really into it and so are we.”

Whether Sopoaga of Jean Francois lines up with the starters on Saturday, the 49ers defense will look to build off a strong start to the preseason. They forced three, three-and-outs to start last week’s game and hope to follow suit at Candlestick Park in a 5:00 p.m. kick-off.

Notes and Quotes

Perhaps the most intriguing note of the day involved the practice participation of rookies Colin Jones and Bruce Miller. Both practiced at the other sides of the ball. Jones, a safety drafted out of TCU, lined up at wide receiver. Miller, a college defensive end selected to play fullback, lined up at outside linebacker during scout team periods. Jones, however, participated in team periods and even had a few passes thrown his way. Fangio said the moves were for evaluation purposes.

Fangio spoke of playing time for his starters. The coordinator hinted that it might pick up against the Raiders. “We had some guys last week that played nine or 10 snaps, we had some guys that were in the 15-range, we had other guys that were in the 20-range, we had other guys that were 30, 40 or above,” Fangio said. “So as those 10s go up a little bit, the 30s and 40s come down a little bit. We haven’t discussed that yet; we’ll sit down either tonight or tomorrow to kind of get a guideline for that.”

After stretching his lead in the quarterback competition on Tuesday, Alex Smith followed up his strong week of practice with another solid day in team periods. He fired two, 50-plus yard touchdown throws, caught by Ted Ginn Jr. and Braylon Edwards respectively.

Second-year cornerback Phillip Adams intercepted Colin Kaepernick for a pick-six, during a team period on a pass thrown behind its intended receiver.

Safety Dashon Goldson also came up with a turnover, intercepting new quarterback Josh McCown for his first takeaway of training camp.

Fanene makes impact off field

Bengals defensive end Jonathan Fanene, famously recognized for the story on his family and native home of Samoa, stopped by Sojourner Recovery Services to sign over 50 items for the charity.

Fanene is serving as an Ambassador for Sojourner Recovery Services based in Hamilton to draw attention to the need for programs offering treatment and recovery services. Besides serving as a famous face for the non-profit, Fanene signed the items so that they could be used as incentives for Sojourner’s adolescent programs and to help raise money through auctions and raffles of the autographed memorabilia.

“It is really important to give back. No one ever gets ahead without giving a hand up to someone,” Fanene said. “Giving back to the community is something our culture stresses and I want to do what I can in this community as Samoans.”

Fanene will serve as an Ambassador throughout the NFL season and will be making several appearances on behalf of Sojourner Recovery Services.

“Jonathan’s determination to give back in a ‘non-photo op way’ is refreshing,” said John Keuffer, Director of Development for Sojourner. “He’s a great asset to the community on and off the field.”

Sojourner Recovery Services was founded in 1985 and is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Sojourner was established initially to help young addicted single mothers get treatment while also maintaining custody of their children. Sojourner’s mission is to provide quality, comprehensive services for primary substance abuse and/or related mental health issues in a caring and compassionate manner.

For more information on Sojourner Recovery Services, please visit

Man in the middle


Domata Peko

If coordinator Mike Zimmer lends the Bengals defense fire and unflappable cornerback Leon Hall offers ice, then defensive tackle Domata Peko gives it an island breeze.

His relentless play and bottomless generosity have been soothing to veterans and youngsters alike in this season of transition in Bengaldom. At just 26 and already heading into his sixth season, Peko looks poised for a big year now that his knee feels like it did before he injured it down the stretch in 2009.

“Last year was the first time back from injury and it was kind of unsettling,” says Peko, preparing for Thursday’s 7 p.m. preseason finale against the Colts (11:35 p.m. – Cincinnati’s Local 12) at Paul Brown Stadium.

“But now I feel like I never had an injury. I don’t know if I was just feeling my way or what, but now I feel like it's back to normal.”

Even before Peko did a number on estimable Panthers center Ryan Kalil in last Thursday’s game, his value to the Bengals was incalculable. He led the lockout workouts at Ignition Sports in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio, of about 30 players and while left tackle Andrew Whitworth led the offense Peko channeled his best Zimmer complete with scripts and clipboard during the two weeks the players were on the field in June.

“He’s been a team leader; obviously he didn’t disappoint anyone in this offseason,” says head coach Marvin Lewis.

The lockout not only brought out the best in Peko, but he thinks it was the best thing for his knee. Peko underwent arthroscopic knee surgery for a ligament problem after the 11th game of the ’09 season and he was back in a month for the wild card game against the Jets.

“I was there in March up at Ignition and I think that was the key,” Peko says. “All that hard work I did in the offseason got my legs back.”

Peko‘s revived knee has held up against the best early. As he worked against Jets Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold 10 days ago, the Bengals first defense held the elite Jets running game to 16 rushing yards on 11 carries. Then against Kalil, Peko led the line’s consistent penetration against flustered rookie quarterback Cam Newton while the Bengals held the dangerous Panthers backfield of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to 15 yards on eight carries in the first half after Williams’ 18-yard run on his first carry.

But it is Peko's work collapsing the pocket against the pass that has Lewis excited with Peko now rotating between both tackle spots, the nose and three technique.

“He’s doing well at both,” Lewis says. “You know he’s going to play very good in the run game. I think the thing he’s doing is making a big transition in the pass game and really becoming a very effective inside rusher so far this preseason.”

A fourth-round pick in 2006, the 6-3, 320-pound Peko doesn’t have the strength of a Ndamukong Suh or the quickness of a Tommie Harris or the size of a Shaun Rogers. But he shoehorns it all into a solid package with attitude as he looks to take it up a notch past the second alternate Pro Bowl berth he earned in ’09.

Defensive lineman Frostee Rucker knows Peko's formula: “Just his tenacity to stop the run. You can see how hard he works. He works his tail off. That’s how he does it; with hard work.”

Peko says Zimmer has been stressing hand placement on pass moves in this back-to-basics season, but he’s also made a statement against the run. And, as usual, Peko is making sure he shares the wealth. He says Rey Maualuga’s move to middle linebacker has boosted the run game.

“It has come down to everyone putting our foot down,” Peko says. “Coach Zimmer has been talking about being real stout against the run. This year we’ve taken it to heart, especially with Rey moving to middle linebacker. A lot of holes are being filled.”

Peko notices. He also noticed before the Bengals played the Panthers that Kalil, as he understands it, is the highest paid center in the league.

“He’s not one of the biggest in the league, but he’s a good one,” Peko says. “You want to do it against the best. So we’ve had Mangold, Kalil and now we get (Colts center) Jeff Saturday this week.”

Maybe not, since the Colts famously never play any of their starters in their last preseason game, which has been against the Bengals the last eight years.

But starter or backup, the door of Peko’s Northern Kentucky home is always open. During the lockout he made sure he made things easier for the young players with food and lodging.

“Been there many times. You can watch film, play video games, or just hang out with his family," says Rucker, who arrived in that same 2006 draft. “He’s a great guy to have on the team. A leader. A captain. I know it was a good thing for me that I came in with him. He had a family. His little one is a big boy now (first grade). Same age as me and I saw how you’re supposed to do it.”

Peko was down Tuesday. He was missing backup defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, dealt to Seattle on Monday for cornerback Kelly Jennings.

“He’s like another one of my brothers,” Peko says. “I feel like I brought him up and taught him everything I know. A really good dude. You hate to see a guy like that go. You hope you did enough for him and that it’s going to help him wherever he goes.”

But he perked up when told Jennings has a good-guy rep like McDonald.

“We’re ready to go up front,” Peko says. “We’ve been together for a few years. We’re trying to pick up where we left off last year. We’ve got some chemistry and we know how to play off each other.”

Feel the breeze.

Gym rat reunion


Rey Maualuga

In Sunday's preseason game (7 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12), the Bengals want to flex their muscles against the big bad Jets, the most physical of the physical offer the trenches' most interesting matchup.

Off what his coaches say is a solid debut at middle linebacker, the Bengals' Rey Maualuga hopes to literally take it to the second level. That's where he'll be pounding heads with one of his workout partners from this offseason, second-year Jets fullback John Conner, the Cincinnati prep product out of Lakota West High School the Jets hope keeps their running game one of the more bruising in the league.

"He brings it," Maualuga says. "We knew eventually we'd meet in some game along the way. There was no trash talking, or 'You better watch out.' We're just going to line up and work. He's going to try and block me and I'm going to try and get away from him and get the ball."

These two blue-collar guys won't put on a very glitzy show off Broadway Sunday night. It's going to be a lot like the no-nonsense workouts at Ignition Sports in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio, which turned out to be a haven for about 30 NFL players locked out during the spring. But there were many days Ignition director Clif Marshall remembers Conner being the only guy in there with 13 and 14 other Bengals.

"They're two grinders. They bring the same approach. Hard working. Very humble," Marshall says. "It's going to be something to watch them meet in the hole on that first series."

The 5-11, 240-pound Conner often found himself paired with the 6-2, 263-pound Maualuga in their lifting sessions, and Conner had the best seat in the house for Maualuga's monster spring in which he strapped on about an extra eight pounds while setting personal bests in the bench press and dead lift.

"He's a real physical guy, great linebacker. We grew pretty close," Conner says. "It wasn't really that weird. We all got along up there. They're all great guys and we're all competitors. We competed and made everybody better."

Maualuga thinks the extra time in the weight room derived from the lockout yielded some benefits. His goal was to get a little bigger while not losing his lateral quickness.

"I never took into consideration how much work it took to actually get there," he says. "I figured this is my one chance to get better in certain areas and those are the areas I got better, so it sort of helped me."

Maualuga knows all about Conner's story. When no offers came out of high school, how he walked on at the University of Kentucky and earned a scholarship before the Jets took him in the fifth round.

"Cinderella story, but none of that came easy for him," Maualuga says. "Nothing is ever handed to you and he's living proof of it."

But even though Maualuga has taken two years to get to this point after his star-studded college career, he's not looking for any glass slippers. He's simply trying to build off last week's outing in which he got everyone lined with virtually no mental mistakes on a night the Bengals allowed just two yards per rush.

"Everyone doubts where we're at and where we're going so all we can control is what we can control and prove them wrong," Maualuga says. "I feel comfortable. Very comfortable. We're looking to play fundamentally sound football and go from there."

Conner drew close to his personal bests at Ignition, but he believes no matter the numbers, he got faster and stronger. Now he's on his own after being mentored that rookie season.

"Tony Richardson was a big help to me. I learned so much from him and now I'm just trying to get better," Conner says of the long-time NFL fullback.

Maualuga also lost his mentor, but he has been keeping in touch with Dhani Jones via the cell phone. And Jones does a dead-on imitation of Maualuga's unique chatter.

"Ooh-aay, I'm watching you on film so I can be in the right spot."

There's no question that Jones is the biggest fan of Maualuga and linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald. While he works out waiting for a call from another team, Jones says he understands why the Bengals have turned to Maualuga.

"I hear Rey's huge. Two-sixty. That's big and fast. That's dangerous," Jones says. "Rey will do a great job. The MIKE (middle linebacker) is where he should be playing. He just has to stay focused on playing middle linebacker and being able to stay healthy and keep working in the classroom. ... Fitzy is one of the best ... when Rey is on, nobody can stop him."

Maualuga's workout partner is going to give it a shot.

"I know we'll be grinding out there," Conner says.

2011 List of Active, Practice Squad and Injured Reserve Polynesians in the NFL

Total of 22 Samoans, 8 Tongans and 2 Hawaiians as of the start of the 2011 Regular Season: This could always change as the season progresses, especially at mid-season when transactions may occur.

1)      Alama-Francis, Ikaika  LB 6-5 290 26 5  Hawaii (Samoan)
2)      Mauga, Josh  LB 6-1 245 24 2  Nevada (Samoan)
3)      Pitoitua, Ropati  DE 6-8 315 26 3  Washington State (Samoan)
4)      Tevaseu, Martin  DT 6-2 325 23 1  Nevada-Las Vegas (Practice Squad)(Samoan)
5)      Fanene, Jonathan  DE/DT 6-4 292 29 7  Utah (Samoan)
6)      Maualuga, Rey  LB 6-2 260 24 3  Southern California (Samoan)
7)      Peko, Domata  DT 6-3 322 26 6  Michigan State (Samoan)
8)      Maiava, Kaluka  LB 6-0 229 24 3  USC (Samoan)
9)      Polamalu, Troy  SS 5-10 207 30 9  USC (Samoan)
10)  Alualu, Tyson  DT 6-3 304 24 2 California (Samoan)
11)  Satele, Samson  C 6-3 300 26 5  Hawaii (Samoan)
12)  Te'o-Nesheim, Daniel  DE 6-3 263 24 2  Washington (Practice Squad) (Samoan)
13)  Toeaina, Matt  DT 6-2 308 Oregon (Samoan)
14)  Fua, Sione  DT 6-1 310 23 R  Stanford (Samoan)
15)  Lutui, Deuce  G 6-4 338 28 6  USC (Tongan)
16)  Ah You, C.J.  DE 6-4 270 29 3  Oklahoma (Samoan)
17)  Iupati, Mike  G 6-5 331 24 2  Idaho (Samoan)
18)  Sopoaga, Isaac  DT 6-2 330 30 8  Hawaii (Samoan)
19)  Fanaika, Paul  G 6-5 327 25 3  Arizona State (Practice Squad) (Samoan)
20)  Taua, Vai  RB 5-10 211 22 R  Nevada (Practice Squad) (Samoan)
21)  Paul Soliai  DT 6-4 355 27 5  Utah (Samoan)
      22) Wayne Hunter     T    6-5    318   Hawaii (Samoan)

1)      Moala, Fili  DT 6-4 303 26 3  USC (Tongan)
2)      Ngata, Haloti NT 6-4 350 27 6 Oregon (Tongan)
3)      Kemoeatu, Chris  G 6-3 344 28 7  Utah (Tongan)
4)      Moeaki, Tony  TE 6-3 252 24 2  Iowa (Injured Reserve) Tongan
5)      Tukuafu, Will  DT 6-3 293 27 1  Oregon (Tongan)
6)      Pouha, Sione  DT 6-3 325 32 7  Utah (Tongan)
7)      Tonga, Manase  FB 5-11 245 27 1  BYU (Practice Squad) (Tongan)
8)      Paea, Stephen DT 6-1 300 Oregon St.(Tongan)
      9)  Roy Helu

      1)  Pilares, Kealoha  WR 5-10 201 23 R  Hawaii (Hawaiian)
      2)  Hoomanawanui, Michael  TE 6-4 264 23 R  Illinois (Hawaiian)