Trojan Pride: Four Trojans to Play in 2020 Polynesian Bowl

Jacob Nakasone, Online Editor

Every year, a select few of Hawai’i high school football players are invited to play in the Polynesian Bowl. The fifth annual Polynesian Bowl game will be held on Jan. 18, 2020, and will feature four seniors from the MHS varsity football team: defensive end (#45) Shane Kady, offensive lineman (#66) Sergio Muasau, linebacker (#49) Muelu Iosefa and linebacker (#10) Bam Amina.

     “I was happy when I heard the news, just knowing about how significant of a game it is. And just to have the honor of playing in (it) to not only represent myself, but represent my family and the rest of the state because it’s not just going to be people in Hawai’i that’s playing. It’s mainland teams too so I’m excited,” said Amina.

     Despite its name, the Polynesian Bowl is not only limited to those of Polynesian descent. The organizers of the game reach out to roughly 100 football players across the U.S. “To me, (having mainland players) makes it better because if you want to be the best, you got to play with the best. And even now they’re saying the Polynesian Bowl is supposed to be the biggest high school ball game — even bigger than the Adidas and Under Armour (bowl games). So that’s something huge — and to be able to play with the best kids not just in the state, but in the nation,” said Amina. Muasau added, “It’s good to see new competition and see different people from different places instead of just playing the same people every year.”

     Out of the many players selected to play, only 30 of them are from Hawai’i. Because of the limited amount of Hawai’i players, being invited to play in the bowl game feels even more special for the four players. “I rather have a Polynesian with people from Hawai’i than a Polynesian bowl with people from Wyoming. To me, you have a lot stronger background. You have a lot stronger stance in the game, because you really get to represent where you’re from,” said Amina. Varsity football head coach Rod York added, “Yeah, it was awesome (when I found out). You hardly get one (Mililani player), so to have four in one year is pretty good.”

     For the players, participating in the bowl game is a milestone in their career. Many of them have played football for over 10 years. “I started when I was young. My first year playing was when I was in first grade and I played every year since then. For me it’s just a family thing,” said Amina. Muasau added, “My dad made me play when I was younger and then my brother was playing when he was in high school. So then yeah, I just wanted to follow him and play football.”

     Due to the number of high-rated football players at the Polynesian Bowl, many college coaches and scouts will be present at the game. For the players, the game serves as an opportunity for potential offers to play college football. “It’s a huge opportunity when it comes to scouting because there’s so much eyes that are going to be watching the game because of all the big names and all the big players that are going to be coming down. So pretty much I feel every college is going to be watching the game just to see. So if you’re going to play in the game for exposure, I mean, that’s where it’s at,” said Amina.

     Besides the game itself, the Polynesian Bowl gives players the opportunity to bond and make new friendships. Players spend a week before the game doing team bonding activities. “They haven’t explained exactly what they’re going to do (yet). But from the past years, I’ve seen them go to Polynesian Cultural Center and they do all kinds of other cultural stuff. But I’m just looking forward to being able to play, chill, hang out with new people and meet everybody and just have fun with it,” said Amina. Iosefa added, “I feel excited about meeting new guys — possibly guys that I’ll play with in college.”

     The players are usually notified of their invitation months before the game through  Twitter, Instagram or email. Currently, the players are concentrated on finishing out their last year of high school football. “I’m just focused on season right now,” said Iosefa. “Most importantly, (we want to) win the state championship because it’s all about the team at the end of the day.”

     After high school, many of the players plan on continuing their football careers. Kady has committed to Oregon State University, Iosefa has verbally committed to University of California, Berkeley, while Amina and Muasau are currently talking with college coaches. *The selection of Polynesian Bowl players and their college commitments are current as of Sept. 27, 2019*