JPS Champions: Leone Lions win Division 2 and Tafuna Warriors win Division 1

ese@samoanews.com

It was a bright sunny Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium, a week ago — a perfect day for JPS Football Championships.

The day started off with the Division 2 JPS Warriors taking on the number one ranked JPS Lions. It was a tough fought game with both teams unable to score. Despite attempts from both team’s all-star line-up of running backs, neither could make it all the way for the touchdown. JPS Warriors #90 Frances Mauigoa came close late in the second quarter after a powerful 16-yard run, but was stopped short at the 5-yard line.

The JPS Lions excellent goal line stand led by #45 Chris Su’a denied the Warriors a touchdown before the end of the half. Second half started the way the first half ended with both defenses not allowing the other team to score. The JPS Lions had the last possession of the game, taking the ball 33 yards to the JPS Warriors’ 40-yard line, but time would expire, taking the game into Overtime. Both teams would have possession of the ball on the 20-yard line (20 yards to the touchdown).

Each team would be given 4 downs to try and score a touchdown. The first team to score and stop the other team from scoring a touchdown would be this year’s Division 2 JPS Football Champions.

First ball possession was given to the JPS Lions, who gave the ball to one of their star running backs, #10 Metuliki Tupou, running the ball 12 yards for the game’s only touchdown. Two-point conversion was no good. It was the JPS Warriors turn. The warriors needed a touchdown to keep the game going, and try to stop the Lions from scoring again. If the Warriors scored a touchdown and the 2-point conversion, they would be this year’s JPS Football Division 2 Champs.

On third down the Warriors lobbed the ball to Frances Mauigoa but it was intercepted by #19 Joseph Tuua. The final whistle blew and JPS Lions along with Head Coach Oakland Salave’a and Sam Nuusolia and their coaching staff were the new Division 2 JPS Champions.

Next up was the Division 1 JPS Warriors vs. the JPS Lions. The Warriors would start the game by kicking the ball off to the Lions. The Lions were plagued by injuries, starting first with #14 who was assisted off the field after the kickoff return. The Lions would have first possession of the game, but the Warriors defense would push the Lions back for a safety early in the first quarter. Score was no 2 – 0 Warriors. The Warriors would keep their scoring momentum going with a 12-yard touchdown run by #6 Petesio Iosefo, after a beautiful 30-yard kickoff return. 2-point conversion was good with QB Francisco Mauigoa running the ball.

The score was now 10 – 0, still early in the first quarter. The Lions would have possession of the ball again, but confusion on the play led to a fumble recovery by #8 John Allen, who would takes the ball for 12 yards for the Warriors second touchdown of the game. Two-point Conversion was good and the score was now 18 – 0.

It was now time for the JPS Warriors running back, #10 Abraham Talapu to kick it into gear scoring three consecutive running touchdowns.

First for 22 yards in the first quarter, second for 55 yards in the second quarter, and last for 12 yards with 1 minute left in the second quarter. This would close of the first half making it 40 – 0 with the JPS Warriors on top.

However, due to excessive injuries, the coaching staff for the JPS Lions would forfeit the game, making the JPS Warriors along with Head Coach Kolose Ili and fellow coaching staff your Division 1 JPS Football Champions.

After the game, the JPS held a awards ceremony with DOC Director Keniseli Lafaele and House Representative Sam Meleisea doing the presentations.

Coach of the Year went to Oakland Salavea.

Division 2 Championship Game – Offensive Player went to #10 Metuliki Tupou of the JPS Lions, Defensive Player went to #43 Chan Ah Loe of JPS Lion and Most Valuable Player went to #45 Chris Sua.

Division 1 Championship Game — the best Offensive Player went to #6 Petesio Iosefo of JPS Warriors, Defensive Player went to #8 John Allen of JPS Warriors and Most Valuable Player went to #10 Abraham Talapu of JPS Warriors.

JPS American Samoa President Lydia Faleafina Nomura said, “This is the second year for our JPS Football Program,” and explained that JPS is a way to give the younger kids something to do, develop and teach fundamentals of the sport, help teach good sportsmanship and keep the kids out of trouble.

She continued “…we’re not about winning, we’re not about beating each other up, we’re all about teaching the kids good sportsmanship, respect, discipline and to be good fellow players not only to their fellow teammates, but also to the other players on the other team.”

She and all of JPS American Samoa would like to give thanks to all Businesses and Individuals who contributed to their 2017 Football League:

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga; Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga; Solip Hong — KS Motors and KS Mart; Mike Tolmie and Malie Letuli, SOPAC; Lee Stewart, McConnell Dowell; Tuli Fruean, Hawaiian Airlines; Ngaire Scratch-Ho Ching; Leilua Stevenson, DDW Café; Tom and Taaloga Drabble, Sadies by the Sea; Tuaolo and Mrs. Fruean, Nanas Company; Laulii and Wanda Alofa, Paramount Builders; Ngaire Annesley, Emelio’s Restaurant; SSAB Store; Cost-U-Less; Tool Shop; Senate President Gaoteote T. Gaoteote; House Speaker Savali T. Ale; House Rep. Samuel Ioka Meleisea; House Rep. Fagaoatua Dorian Salave’a; DOC Director Keniseli Lafaele; Joe Finet; Larry Da Rosa; Ricado Da Rosa; Jeff Moustacas; Anthony Ferreira; Stuart Chikami and Leslie Chikami.

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