In the days leading up to the 2019 Polynesian Bowl, USA TODAY High School Sports will be checking in with a number of players for their accounts of the events and activities in Hawaii. This one is from Fa’atui Tuitele, a four-star defensive tackle from St. Louis (Honolulu, Hawaii) High School.
Fa’atui Tuitele saw the two previous Polynesian Bowls in-person. Tuitele, a defensive tackle, recalled watching A.J. Epenesa record two sacks in the first-ever Polynesian Bowl in 2017.
“Our coaches have been telling us ‘that’s the record,’” Tuitele said. “I know all of us D-Linemen are going to try and break that.”
Now, Tuitele will be the one chasing down quarterbacks. Tuitele, who’s committed to the Washington Huskies, has his turn at playing in the Polynesian Bowl Saturday.
Tuitele has come well-prepared for the week leading up to the game. He brought his PlayStation 4 with him, and the other players at the bowl have been playing Madden 19 and Fortnite together in his room.
Tuitele plays as the Los Angeles Chargers on Madden, even though his favorite NFL team is the New England Patriots.
“I’ve been winning them games, but my friends can catch me here or there, I’m not going to lie. But it’s fun just playing with all the boys, everybody’s having fun.”
Some of the players he’s been hanging out with are going to Washington with him. Tuitele said a big reason he chose the school was because of the coaching staff. The Huskies’ defensive line coach, Ikaika Malloe, is from Waimanalo, Hawaii and is a former Washington player.
“They made it feel like home,” Tuitele said. “Coach Malloe understands what us Hawaiian boys have to go through, with the transition of going from home to Seattle. It will be a big help.”
“Just overall, the environment and feel it had over there was positive vibes and a warm welcome.”