Pearl City’s Josh Gleason rises to challenge at Poly Bowl Combine

Josh Gleason's passion and dedication led to a co-MVP honor at the invite-only Polynesian Bowl Combine. Photo courtesy of Joshua Cabjuan.

Josh Gleason is quietly relentless.

The Pearl City pass catcher made play after play, earning co-MVP honors at the Polynesian Bowl Combine on Saturday. The selections were made by the position coaches, the top five receivers out of a field of more than 50.

“I like the fact that he was stepping up to the plate,” receivers coach Samson Anguay said. “Our Pearl City coaches do a great job. Josh is very deceiving, a tall kid with speed, but you don’t realize his strength and athleticism.”


At 6 feet and a half-inch, weighing in at 160 pounds, Gleason is just beginning to fulfill his potential.

“This combine shows you can play at the next level. Breaking out of his shell was a huge accomplishment as a player and a person,” Anguay said. “He was always the first in line, trying to help the others and showcase his talent.”

Gleason was 125 pounds as a sophomore in 2019, according to Samson, but has relentlessly worked on his body and skills.

“I feel good. I wasn’t satisfied with my performance, but I guess it was good enough. The best thing about Saturday was how everyone had to compete for reps,” Gleason said. “It just shows who wants to be there and who’s taking it seriously. I’m pretty sure the coaches saw I wanted the reps the most.”

The receivers and quarterbacks got plenty of footwork and route reps in the morning as the sun scorched the turf field at Skippa Diaz Stadium.

“The morning reps helped us learn the plays and understand how fast the ball would be coming later in the day. It was a pretty helpful time,” he said.

That made the afternoon 7v7 a true test of endurance.

“I feel in great shape, so I could’ve kept going after that,” Gleason said.

He especially enjoyed catching spirals from a Charger teammate, quarterback Tre Dacoscos.

“He’s one of our quarterbacks at Pearl City. He was really good at throwing deep balls.

Best deep ball: Tre Dacoscos

Best intermediate passes: “I’m not sure the name of the guy, but he had a ponytail.”

Best sideline passes: “John and Jaron (Sagapolutele). Jaron grew almost a foot over quarantine. He played Pylon for us and he was 5-5. Now he’s at least 6-1.”

Best touch: “The same guy with the ponytail. Threw a perfect spiral every time.”

Gleason has a reason why he felt so comfortable with the reps and drills. He works out with Anguay’s group of pass catchers in the offseason.

“It’s definitely a big advantage. It feels like no one can keep up with you,” he said. “It just shows that I have to be a great leader to show them what to do.”

The OIA Division II season is around the corner. The Chargers have been grinding away in conditioning work.

“We have three great quarterbacks, actually. I think we’ll do good this year. The offensive line’s looking solid,” Gleason said. “I was on the varsity in 2019. It was run-heavy my sophomore year, but having time to play Pylon 7v7, we’ve adapted to getting the ball out faster. We’ve put time and effort into transforming our offense.”

With the addition of Anguay to Pearl City’s staff and the offseason development, he is more than optimistic.

“We’re going all the way. We have the team that won the (OIA D-II) JV championship in 2019. We’re coming up and we will win it all,” Gleason said. “Coach (Robin Kami) knows we have a really good team this year. We’re all putting in the time and effort, and we can pull it off.”


Josh Gleason’s Lockdown Staples

Top 3 movies/shows

1. “The Good Doctor” (Hulu)

“I like that it shows us what goes on in a hospital, and also it’s a lot of education stuff. It also shows how people can react to a doctor with autism despite his history of genius ideas and inventions that he came up with.”

2. “The Longest Yard”

“I’ve seen it probably seen it over 15 times. I just like football movies and it has a great storyline. It really shows how football is all about a team and everybody has to do their job, and one person can mess the game up or win the game for his team. I think it used to be on Netflix.”

3. “All-American” (Netflix)

“It’s still going. It’s still good. I’m waiting for the next season to come out.”

Top 3 food/drinks/snacks

1. Beef pho (Pho My Lien, Pearl City)

“I like it with no tendon and no tripe, usually. I don’t like the texture of tendon and tripe. I don’t hate it. I just prefer it without it.”

2. Barbecue chicken (Palisades Drive In)

“It’s grilled. The plate has rice and mac salad. I used to live in Palisades with my dad, but he moved to Texas. I don’t think he’s ever been to Palisades Drive In. I never get drinks there. I always go to the store next door.”

3. Apple juice

“It’s like orange juice, how people like orange juice. But I just like apple juice.”

GPA: 3.4

“My favorite class is science. Pretty much any science. I took chemistry last year. It probably would’ve been more fun in school because we could’ve done experiments, but it was still fun. I’m in the engineering academy (at Pearl City). I get A’s in both (science and math).”

New life skill: Learning to do my job to flourish.

“At Pearl City, we have an acronym, NAM, which means it’s Not About Me. The new life skill is learning to do my job to flourish as a team, even if the play isn’t for me. Sports definitely teaches a lot of teamwork and cooperation.”


Shout outs

“I’d like to give a shout out to my parents (Yuki and William Gleason) for supporting me throughout my journey. Another person I want to recognize is my receiver coach at Pearl City, Coach Kama (Mckeague), for pushing me to be my best and helping me improve my craft.

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