The annual Polynesian All-American Bowl is a unique mix of culture, fellowship and football, and Saturday’s fifth annual edition was no exception.
The game was played at Oceanside High School in California — the alma mater of Junior Seau — and featured top high school players of Polynesian descent from 11 states and American Somoa with the Black team winning 27-21.
The event also was an opportunity for bonding among current high schoolers and NFL players past and present. Among the NFL players in attendance at the weekend’s events were Manti Te’o, Jesse Sapolu, Reno Mahe, Mua Tanuvasa, Luther Elliss, Kevin Mawae and Dan Saleaumua. Ellis and Mawae were the head coaches and Saleaumua is the game’s director of coaching.
On the field, White took a 14-0 lead on TDs by Alapaki Laea (Kamehameha, Hawaii) and Jaleel Lawson (Case Grande, Calif.) before Black scored 27 unanswered points started by a TD from Naliko Kea (Kapolei, Hawaii) and capped by a 40-yard TD run by Bailey Laologi (Folsom, Calif.) White cut the lead to 27-21 on a Jordan Ta’amu (Pearl City, Hawaii) scored and was driving in the final minutes, but Black held firm for the victory.
The postgame celebration included a haka by the two rosters (see video above)