Five-star juniors Sermon, Gaoteote among 14 to accept 2018 Polynesian Bowl invites

Palaie Gaoteote (Photo: 247Sports)

Palaie Gaoteote (Photo: 247Sports)

Saturday is the inaugural Polynesian Bowl, the newest showcase for some of the country’s top high school football talent.

While this year’s game is stocked with talent, next year is planned to be no different.

In advance of the big event, the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced that 14 players have already committed to play in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl. Like this year’s game, next year’s will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, and will feature 90 nationally ranked players. Seventy-five percent will be of Polynesian ancestry and 25 percent of other ancestries.

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Among those who have accepted invitations are two five-star players from the Class of 2018 – Bothell (Wash.) quarterback Jacob Sirmon and Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) linebacker Palaie Gaoteote.

Eight four-star players from the Class of 2018 have also committed – defensive end Tennessee Pututau from Cottonwood (Murray, Utah); linebacker Merlin Robertson from Junipero Serra (San Mateo, Calif.); linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu from Claremont (Calif.); defensive tackle Tommy Togiai from Highland (Pocatello, Idaho); offensive tackle Penei Sewell from Desert Hills (St. George, Utah); athlete Talanoa Hufanga from Crescent Valley (Corvallis, Ore.); linebacker Salua Masina from Brighton (Cottonwood Heights, Utah); and defensive tackle Tuli Letuligasenoa from De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)

Three-star offensive guard Hunter Lotulelei from Highland (Salt Lake City, Utah) as well as top-rated Hawaii prospects that include linebacker Kana’i Mauga (Waianae) and defensive end Samson Reed (Kahuku) were also picked.

And for some truly international flavor, 6-foot-10, 390-pound offensive tackle Daniel Faalele (IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.) from Melbourne, Australia, will also be suiting up next January.

The 14 players who have accepted an invitation to the 2018 Polynesian Bowl. (Courtesy: Polynesian Bowl).

The 14 players who have accepted an invitation to the 2018 Polynesian Bowl. (Courtesy: Polynesian Bowl).

“The Polynesian Bowl is the greatest all-star high school football game in Hawaii history and already among the best in the world,” said chairman and co-founder Jesse Sapolu, a four-time Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers, in a press release. “This is our game, which celebrates our state, our culture and our Polynesian youth.”

Each player in the game receives travel and accommodations to Hawaii, lodging, meals, ground transportation, apparel and equipment that includes a Riddell helmet. The players also participate in Polynesian cultural and educational activities during the week.

“The Polynesian Bowl provides a bridge between all cultures to learn more about Polynesia,” vice chairman and co-founder Ma’a Tanuvasa, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Denver Broncos, said in a press release. “This is what makes our game unique and special.”

This year’s Polynesia Bowl, with Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley serving as team captains, will be played Saturday at 6 p.m. HST (11 p.m. ET) on ESPN3.

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