(c) Samoa News
The Samoa Bowl VIII concluded with a Samoan All-Star team defeating the Gridiron Australia All-Stars 35-0. Despite the shutout game being handed to the boys from Down Under - the team put up a good defensive showing.
Last year's International All Star game ended with a bowl of 49-6 in favor of American Samoa under the leadership of Head Coach Pepine Lauvao.
This year, the Samoan All-Star team was led by head coach Pooch Ta'ase.
Australia's Thomas Bean delivered the opening kick off, Samoa's Shane Taupau returned the kick to their own 35-yard line, after being taken down hard by Aussie's Ricky Young.
Leading American Samoa's offensive unit for the first time was Ricardo Gonzales, a junior out of Fagaitua High School, who started off their series with some good gaining running plays to Mulitalo, Sagapolutele, and Pereira.
American Samoa's Moli Pereira was seen that day, as one of the most threatening factors for the Samoan All Star team, as he showed a lot of willingness to move the chain, by using his strength and skills, to out run, and juke out Aussie defenders, for big moves.
With 06:07 left in first, American Samoa had the ball on Australia's 7-yard line, it was a quick inside hand off to Pereira, who danced his way through the middle, and spotted a gap for the first touchdown of the game, giving American Samoa a early 6-0 lead. Their field goal conversion by Sitagata was no good.
Aussie's offensive unit, which was lead by Jordan Seeto from Queensland, started off their offensive possession with a shot gun formation, which lead to some minor set backs for them. Most of their conversions were lucky to be incomplete passes rather than picks, and their running plays were fortunate to be downs rather than fumbles, due to the wet slippery football. Their fourth down conversion turned into a punting situation, which brought American Samoa back on the hunt.
With 3:45 remaining in the first quarter, Gonzales brought American Samoa all the way into Australia's 15-yard line for a first down possession. Gonzales then ptiched the ball out to Raymond Mulitalo, who patiently waited for his gap to open up, and targeted the hole for the second touchdown of the game. Their two point conversion was a counter hand off to Mulitalo again, who rammed his way through the middle, and spots himself half way into the end zone for two points, as he extended their lead to 14 - 0.
Early in the second quarter, Australia's defense came short on coverage again, when American Samoa had a first down possession on the Aussie's 2-yard line. A fake counter play by Gonzales, lead to a quarterback lead which he executed well, to add six more points on the board. The extra point by Faafouina Sitagata was good, as he lead the team to 21 - 0.
Later on in the quarter, American Samoa's second down on Australia's 42-yard line, a counter inside hand off to Chasen Sagapolutele of NVTHS, who ran over Australia's hardest hitters on the field, and took off blasting towards the end zone for another American Samoa touchdown. The extra point conversion by Sitagata was good, as he brought American Samoa to lead 35 - 0.
In the second half, Australia's defense brought the heat, as they managed to shut out American Samoa throughout the whole second half, with middle linebacker Aaron Saunders leading the Aussies defense.
American Samoa's defense was also a fright to the Aussies who were unable to put points on the board.
The fourth quarter seconds ran down to zero, and the score remained at 35 - 0.
It's been two years since Australia became a part of the Samoa Bowl events, and American Samoa has claimed the International championship each time. However, Australia's performances have improved, and with this year's Samoa Bowl performance, the experience alone should lead us to expect an even better team next year.
Samoa News spoke to Australia's Head Coach Peter Tos after the game, he said, "well, we are a bit better than last year as far as the score goes, but it was pretty accurate because we got a young team this time, younger than last year's team and they'll probably be back again, but the experience was great for them."
American Samoa's Head Coach Ta'ase told Samoa News that Australia brought a talented team this year, "my hat off to head coach Peter Tos and the Australia team for their hard work and effort to make it back this year. They definitely brought back a tougher challenge than last year, and I would like to thank them for bringing a good game this year."