High School Beat

Hawaii coaches plan
Samoa Bowl I on
New Year’s Day

High school football players of Samoan ancestry have a chance to receive a memorable Christmas present.

They'll have to wait until Dec. 26, though.

That's when a flight will take them to Pago Pago, American Samoa, for a week-long cultural visit that will center on a New Year's Day football game.

The traveling team will be made up mostly of Hawaii players, but mainland athletes are welcome to join.

Samoan players interested in joining the team can visit Players will be picked on a first-come, first-paid basis.

"We plan on bringing 30 kids and taking them back to see their roots, face-to-face," said Radford coach Fred Salanoa, who is one of the trip's organizers. "We want to pioneer this event, get good outcomes and bring the word back to Hawaii. Hopefully, next year our biggest problem will be figuring out how to take as many as 40 or 50 players."

Hawaii competes against an American Samoa all-star team in the Jan. 1 game.

Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai, who is busy preparing his Red Raiders for the Division I state tournament championship game Friday against Saint Louis, is the chairman of what is being billed as Samoa Bowl I.

The last two summers, Livai, who is Tongan, organized the Tongan Bowl in which players from Hawaii compete against players from the mainland in a game preceding that nation's rugby championship.

"Siuaki tells me they get a tremendous crowd of around 13,000 there," Salanoa said.

Pac-Five coach Joe Onosai, Pearl City coach Onosai Tanuvasa, Kahuku assistant Molia Salanoa and Livai will coach the Hawaii team, while Kalaheo coach Tony Tuioti is another probable coach.

At least 10 players have already showed interest in making the trip, but Salanoa expects that number to grow since the organizing group isn't planning on doing official advertisements until after Friday's state tournament Division I and II championship games.

"We know money ($790 per player) is a factor, because it's so close to Christmas," Salanoa said. "But once they see it's for a good benefit and that it's for the kids, I'm sure parents and the communities will find some how, some way to get the kids to jump on that plane."

Raiders start: The two-time defending champion Iolani basketball team opened Monday with a preseason victory over McKinley.

"We got some rust out," coach Mark Mugiishi said.

The Raiders return two-time Star-Bulletin all-state player of the year Derrick Low, who signed to play with Washington State next year.

Iolani visits Maui for the Saint Anthony Classic starting Thursday and then goes to the Big Island for the St. Joseph's Tournament next week.

The Raiders host the Iolani Classic later this month.

"We're trying to take advantage of our depth," Mugiishi said. "We don't have much height, but we have a lot of very athletic, fast guys, so we'll try to crank up the tempo."

Mugiishi added that the staff is on the lookout for moments when the team gets out of sync due to the faster pace.

The front court is one obvious question mark now that Bobby Nash has graduated and is playing for the University of Hawaii.

"We should be able to replace his points with a combination of guys," Mugiishi said. "But we'll miss his presence, his rebounding and his shot-blocking."

The coach called Todd Blankenship, who helped the Raiders to the state volleyball championship, one of the keys at forward.

"So far, our attitude is good, and everything is going pretty good," Mugiishi said. "And Derrick has a really good idea of what needs to get done. (Against McKinley), he took probably only four shots and the rest of the time he was trying to get everyone involved in the offense."

The state's basketball teams play in various tournaments and preseason games this month in preparation for season openers in early January.


Athlete of the Week

B.J. Batts is one reason Saint Louis will be playing for the state football championship.

>> B.J. Batts, Saint Louis football: Scored three TDs, including one on a 92-yard kickoff return, in a 48-6 victory over Baldwin in the state Division I semifinals.

Honor Roll


>> Makana Nicodemus, Kahuku: The defensive lineman made eight tackles, including five for loss, in a 35-7 state Division Isemifinal victory over Farrington.
>> Max Fairclough, Kahuku: Had nine tackles in the victory over the Governors.
>> Waika Carvalho, Kahuku: Completed 10 of 17 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown in the win over Farrington.
>> Spencer Hafoka, Kahuku: Caught six passes for 133 yards as the Red Raiders moved to the state D-I final.
>> Matt Bell, Farrington: Scored the Govs' only TD in the loss to Kahuku.
>> Kali Kuia, Aiea: Completed 18 of 24 passes for 186 yards in Na Alii's 24-14 victory over Lahainaluna in the state Division II semifinals.
>> Brandon Puckett, Aiea: Kicked a 49-yard field goal and added three extra points in the victory over the Lunas.
>> Alden DeMello, Aiea: Caught six passes for 63 yards in the win over Lahainaluna.
>> Nahe Akoi, Lahainaluna: Caught five passes for 82 yards in the loss to Na Alii.
>> Ryan Ancog, Lahainaluna: Had TD receptions of 20 and 19 yards in the Lunas' loss to Aiea.
>> Lonomana Mikaele, Damien: Intercepted a pass to seal the Monarchs' state Division II semifinal victory over Waimea.
>> Fehi Sevelo, Damien: Had 15 tackles in the win over Waimea.
>> Kealii Perbera, Saint Louis: Completed 17 of 27 passes for 290 yards in the win over Baldwin.
>> Shaun Kauleinamoku, Saint Louis: Caught eight passes for 73 yards in the win over the Bears.
>> Johnny Gentry, Saint Louis: Scored on TD passes of 2 and 17 yards against Baldwin.

Now you know

In the 26-year history of the Prep Bowl from 1973 to 1998, there was only one tie. Waianae and Iolani were co-champions in 1980 due to their 7-7 deadlock.

Back in the day

Kamehameha routed Radford 46-6 to win its third straight Prep Bowl. The Warriors haven't won a Prep Bowl or state championship since, but they lost in the 1978 and 1979 Prep Bowls to Waianae and Kaiser.

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