For a first-time entrant, 808 Breeze was a whirlwind at the Pylon 7v7 football tournament in Las Vegas over the weekend.
Coach Phil Faoa’s team won seven games in a row before being edged out in the Intermediate Division title game, 20-18, against Team Texas RM.
“I’m very proud. The experience of going out there and competing on a different level on the mainland. Every opportunity we can get to go out there, we want to go. We didn’t know what to the expect. For some of the kids, it was the first time getting off the island and on a plane, hearing about Pylon and three-star, four-star players.
“After the first day, as soon as those three games were done, that set the tone for the single-elimination tournament on Sunday. We had a couple of kids cramping up on Sunday. We had rain, wind, dehydration,” Faoa said.
And yet, the team comprised mostly of Ewa Beach Sabers (Oahu Junior Prep League) and some Saint Louis intermediate players — quarterback Lonenoa Faoa and his schoolmates — thrived.
“There’s a lot of training that’s year-round and kids are preparing themselves. A lot of times, you can’t see where you’re at until you go there to pay teams from California, Chicago, Seattle, and it boosts our motivation. I promise you there’s a lot of teams in Hawaii, at least four or five who can go up there and beat most of those teams,” Faoa said.
For awhile, it looked like two teams from Hawaii, 808 Breeze and Goat Island of Laie, were destined to meet in the title game. Unbeaten Goat Island lost in the semifinal to the eventual champion, Team Texas RM.
“I thought we were going to meet Goat Island in the final,” Faoa said.
Their performance was enough for national tournaments to take notice. The Las Vegas regional winners were invited to the national tourney in Dallas (July 4), but 808 Breeze also drew an invite. They have also been asked to play in the new AAU Junior Olympics on July 29 in Houston.
That means more fundraising work for Faoa and his staff.
“We had a lot of generous donations, a big fundraiser at the VA Hall in January,” he said.
Saturday, Mar. 5
W 30-0 Eastside Elite
W 28-22 Fighting Irish
W 28-0 Flight Elite
Sunday, Mar. 6
W 15-13 Real Speed White
W 16-6 Team Enuwa
W 20-16 FSP Next Step
W 22-14 Winner Circle
L 20-18 Team Texas RM (final)
Asher Pilanca, DB, grade 8
Jeremiah Tauai, LB, grade 7
Titus Mokiao-Atimalala, WR/DB, grade 7
Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala, SB/DB, grade 8
Ikalewa Paaoao, WR, grade 7
Malosi Sam, RB/LB, grade 7
Logan Lauti, SB, grade 8
Lonenoa Faoa, QB, grade 8
Simi Faoa, DB, grade 7
Pokii Adkins Kupukaa, WR/DB, grade 8
Tyrese Tafai, LB/SB, grade 8
Kaysen Obedoza, LB, grade 7
Head coach: Phil Faoa
Assistant coach: Dave Lutu
Team manager: Theresa Faoa