Polynesian Bowl built for success

by Billy Hull on January 19, 2017

Punahou's Miki Suguturaga (left), Kahuku coach Vavae Tata (center) and Maui's Feleti Afemui are part of Ronnie Stanley's team in the Polynesian Bowl. Photo by Craig Kojima/Star-Advertiser.

Punahou’s Miki Suguturaga (left), Kahuku coach Vavae Tata (center) and Maui’s Feleti Afemui are part of Ronnie Stanley’s team in the Polynesian Bowl. Photo by Craig Kojima/Star-Advertiser.

Before the Polynesian Bowl holds its first high school football all-star game on Saturday, it announced its first batch of high school juniors committed to play next year.

The list includes two five-star recruits in linebacker Palaie Gaoteote from Bishop Gorman (Nev.), a Mililani transfer, and quarterback Jacob Sirmon from Bothell, Wash. Gaoteote is the No. 11 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 by Scout.com and Sirmon is No. 16 in the ESPN300 for juniors.

Kahuku’s Samson Reed and Waianae’s Kana’i Mauga were invited from Hawaii. ‘Iolani receiver Justin Genovia has already been promised a spot as well.

It was clear from Thursday’s press conference that the people behind the Polynesian Bowl want to make it the top high school football all-star game in the land, and the six players ranked in Scout.com’s Top 100 for 2018 who have committed already show they’re quite serious about it.

As four-time Super Bowl winner Jesse Sapolu, the Chairman and Co-Founder of the Polynesian Bowl said, “our vision is clear — to build the Polynesian Bowl into the Pro Bowl of high school all-star games.”

For a first-time bowl game, it surely has its stars. Although Alabama QB and Saint Louis alum Tua Tagovailoa might not play, there are plenty of players worth watching.

The top college football program on the West Coast are well represented with Washington (six commits), Oregon (three commits) and Southern California (three commits). Michigan has five commits in the game, including QB Dylan McCaffrey, and still roughly half the field is undecided on their future.

Hawaii has a total of 37 players in the game representing three different islands. Maui’s Feleti Afemui and Baldwin’s Mango Finau represent the Valley Isle while Kapaa’s Morris Unutoa holds it down for the island of Kauai.

Unutoa, who is 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds, has been a favorite amongst the coaches. He’s already been on four of his five official visits and will head to Utah next week before making his final decision right around National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

Utah’s campus will be crowded with high school football seniors next weekend as Kamehameha’s Andrew Aleki and Kahuku’s Aliki Vimahi will also trip to the Utes that weekend.

Unutoa (11 offers), Vimahi (12) and Aleki (eight) are three of the seven best uncommitted Hawaii high school seniors in the game. Leilehua’s Charles Watson will choose between Oregon State and BYU and make his announcement during the game, as will Saint Louis linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia, who was recently offered by Oregon.

Other players to watch as signing day nears includes the top two uncommitted players from Hawaii in terms of offers. Punahou defensive end Miki Suguturaga (6-5, 260) and Kapolei defensive lineman Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa (6-4, 260) will both choose from a list of 14 different schools.

2017 Polynesian Bowl rosters

TEAM MARIOTA

NO.NAMEPOS.HT.WT.HIGH SCHOOLCOLLEGE
1Hunter BryantTE6'3"245Eastside Catholic (Wash.)Washington
2Connor NevilleQB6'3190Wilsonville (Ore.)Washington State
4Alakai YuenQB6'3"195MoanaluaUndeclared
4Challen FaamatauRB5'10"203FarringtonUndeclared
5Jaylon ReddCB/KR5'9"170Rancho Cucamanga (Calif.)Oregon
5Kurt TaylorRB5'9"205Grayson (Ga.)Michigan
8Keith TaylorCB6'3"185Servite (Calif.)Washington
9Alex FanielQB6'6"237Glen Allen (Va.)Ole Miss
9Isaiah Pola-MaoWR/DB6'41/2"204Mountain Pointe (Ariz.)Undeclared
10Kekaula KanihoDB5'11"175KahukuBoise State
13Tua TagovailoaQB6'2215Saint LouisAlabama
14Nicholas KapuleQB6'2"190PunahouUndeclared
15Jaymin SaronoWR5'10"185KapoleiUndeclared
16Evan MinamiP5'4"122'IolaniUndeclared
17Nico CollinsWR6'5"207Clay-Chalkville (Ala.)Undeclared
18Mark WebbWR6'2"197Archbishop Wood (Pa.)Georgia
19Ryan RamonesWR5'11"150MoanaluaUndeclared
20Stokes Nihipali-BotelhoPK/DB/WR5'10155KahukuUndeclared
21Brandon McKinneyS6'1"190Lutheran (Calif.)Washington
22Jalen SaoleS6'1"175Saint LouisUndeclared
24Maurice BellWR6'0"175Murrieta Valley (Calif.)Colorado
25Sione LundFB6'1"237Brighton (Utah)Stanford
27Ronson YoungWR5'11"195Saint LouisUndeclared
28Sioeli NaupotoLB5'11''230KahukuUndeclared
42Andrew AlekiLB6'2"230KamehamehaUndeclared
44Leonard LeeS5'11"185KapoleiUndeclared
49Tevita TuifuaDE6'3"220Bingham (Utah)Undeclared
50Popo AumavaeDT6'4"315St. Mary's (Calif.)Oregon
51Marlon TuipulotuDT6'2"290Central (Ore.)Washington
52Lorenzo FauateaDE6'4"265Hunter (Utah)Oregon State
54Mata HolaLB6'2"235Sandy (Utah)Undeclared
55Sampson NiuLB6'1''215Madison (Calif.)Oregon
57Anthony PandyLB6'2"270Nathaniel Narbonne (Calif.)Undeclared
62Brett NeilonC6'3"285Santa Margarita CatholicUSC
65Onesimus Lutu-ClarkeOT6'5"300WaianaeUndeclared
67Michael MinihanOG6'3"275Saint LouisGeorgia Tech
68Mo UnutoaOL6'5"280KapaaUndeclared
69Eli KatinaC6'2"285Centennial (Tenn.)Undeclared
70Poutasi Poutasi OG6'4"295Desert Pines (Nev.)Undeclared
75Henry BainivaluOT6'6"295Skyline (Wash.)Washington
77Juliano FalanikoLB6'4"200Leone (Samoa)USC
78Liki SeuOG6'4"315Orange Lutheran (Calif.)Undeclared
79Jordan LoloheaDE6'4"235East (Utah)Undeclared
80Jack-Eli TufonoTE6'41/2"265PunahouIdaho State
91Aliki VimahiTE/DE6'4"250KahukuUndeclared
94Nakoa PauoleDT6'2"221KamehamehaUndeclared
97Myron Tagovailoa-AmosaDT6'4"270KapoleiUndeclared

TEAM STANLEY

NO.NAMEPOS.HT.WT.HIGH SCHOOLCOLLEGE
1Terrell BynumWR6'1"183St. John Bosco (Calif.)Washington
1Greg JohnsonCB5'11"190Augustus Hawkins (Calif.)Undeclared
3Chaz Ah YouS6'2"195Timpview (Calif.)Undeclared
3Cyrus Habibi-LakioRB/DB6'1"210St. Francis (Calif.)Undeclared
4Armando HerreraQB6'1"190East Valley (Calif.)Undeclared
4Corey Malone-HatchenDE6'3"240Saint Joseph (Mich.)Michigan
5Joshua RossLB6'2"225St. Mary's (Mich.)Michigan
5Connor WedingtonRB/DB6'0"187Sumner (Wash.)Undeclared
6Jamire CalvinWR5'10"155Cathedral (Calif.)Undeclared
7Joshua FaloTE6'5"230Inderkum (Calif.)Undeclared
8Miki SuguturagaDE6'5"260PunahouUndeclared
8Oliver MartinWR6'1"230West Senior (Iowa)Undeclared
9Isaac RexTE/DE6'5"240San Clemente (Calif.)BYU
10Tyler KatoaQB/LB6'21/2"225Layton (Utah)USC
12Dylan McCaffreyQB6'5"205Valor Christian (Col.)Michigan
13Isaiah JacksonCB6'0170MoanaluaUndeclared
14Ryan KelleyQB6'4"195Basha (Ariz.)Arizona State
14Isaac Slade-MatautiaLB6'11/2"225Saint LouisUndeclared
17Feleti AfemuiLB6'2"217MauiUndeclared
19Ethan TakeyamaWR5'9"163PunahouUndeclared
20Taz TauaeseRB5'10"190El Segundo (Calif.)Undeclared
21Rhedi ShortS6'1"185Cathedral (Calif.)Arizona
22Nephi SewellCB6'0''205Desert Hills (Utah)Undeclared
23Codie SauvaoS6'0"190KahukuUndeclared
25Charles WatsonS/WR6'1"180LeilehuaUndeclared
26Kesi Ah-HoyS/RB/P6'0"206KahukuHawaii
27Jeff ChanPK5'10"170PunahouUndeclared
40Omar MarekoLB6'1"200KapoleiUndeclared
44Christian EllissS6'2"205Valor Christian (Col.)Undeclared
51Aldon TofaDE6'4"250West Jordan (Utah)Undeclared
54Michael SaffellC6'3"292Edison (Calif.)California
55Levani DamuniLB6'3"235Ridgeline (Utah)Stanford
58Phillip PaeaOG/DT6'4"290Berrien Springs (Mich.)Michigan
60Mango FinauOT/DT6'4"330BaldwinBYU
61Jacob RussellOG6'1"270Saint LouisUndeclared
66Chuck FiliagaOT6'7"325Aledo (Tex.)Undeclared
67Nami Tuitu'uDE6'3"270Mesa (Ariz.)Undeclared
68Jojo FaloC6'2"295Madison (Calif.)Undeclared
69Christopher GlaserOT6'4"270Solon (Ohio)Virginia
75Zelan TupuolaOG6'2"290JSerra Catholic (Calif.)Undeclared
84Andrew ValladaresWR6'0"180MililaniUndeclared
89Noah KemaTE/DE6'1"220Lawrence Free State (Kan.)Undeclared
91Brandon PiliDT/OG6'4"310Westview (Ore.)USC
92Noah EllissDT6'5"330Valor Christian (Col.)Undeclared
93KiShaun KiDT/DE6'0"280CampbellUndeclared
95Vili FisiiahiOG/OT5'10"265KahukuUndeclared
98Austin FaoliuDT6'31/2"285Mater Dei (Calif.)Oregon
99A.J. EpenesaDE6'5"270Edwardsville (Ill.)Iowa

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