Three sacks later, Joshua Matagi was excited.
After Team Freedom rallied for a 12-6 win over Team Liberty, he was satisfied. The Farrington senior had a night to remember at the JPS Senior Bowl Classic Commanders game. His twin brother, Caleb (5-10, 245), lined up at right tackle for Team Liberty. The two squared off for one series — Liberty’s lone scoring drive for a 6-0 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
He tried, but Josh Matagi (5-10, 225) didn’t record a sack on his brother. It was a 15-yard TD drive by Freedom after Team Liberty turned the ball over on downs near the shadow of its own goalpost. Caleb Matagi lined up at right tackle.
“It felt like good competition. We can be family outside, but in the game, we’re enemies,” Josh Matagi said.
“I know everything. All his moves,” Caleb Matagi said.
This was the first time in their lives that the Matagi twins competed against each other in an organized game.
“Our parents didn’t know who to support. I told them to support me,” Josh Matagi added.
In a game that was scoreless for nearly 34 minutes (10-minute quarters) and featured 10 sacks, Matagi was a real threat from the edge, using his compact frame and explosive maneuvering to make big plays.
The Farrington seniors don’t have a blueprint for the future. Neither expects to play at a four-year college by next year, but junior college is a real possibility. Having reliable roommates is half the battle, if not more, for transplanted islanders playing football on the continent.
For now, with the Paradise All-Star game looming, the Matagi brothers are enjoying the extra stretch of football. Farrington had another tough year in the Open Division, but eked out another playoff berth. The Governors lost to Campbell in the third-place game, ending their season before Halloween. That made the prep time for the JPS exhibition all the more cherished.
“For about three or four weeks, We only had 10 players at practice,” said Josh Matagi, noting that many players were busy with the state tournament. “We had a coach from Kahuku and a coach from Waianae. I learned that even though our season was finished, I still got to push forward with all these all-star games coming up to my college career.”