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Talanoa Hufanga named Polynesian player of the year finalist

Several Oregon Duck targets among Polynesian High School Football Player of the Year Award Finalists

Honolulu, HI (December 7, 2017) – The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced today five Finalists for the inaugural Polynesian High School Football Player of the Year Award. The Award is presented annually to the most outstanding Polynesian Senior high school football player.

With a strong high school football season out West, the list of finalists is littered with Oregon targets. The list of finalists is a virtual who’s who of elite high school football players in the class of 2018.


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Of note, Oregon has been heavily recruiting four of the finalists including in-state five star athlete Talanoa Hufanga (Crescent Valley High School; Corvallis, OR), elite linebackers Brandon Kaho (Reno High School; Reno, NV) Palaie Gaoteote (Bishop Gorman High School; Las Vegas, NV) and Solomon Tuliaupupu (Mater Dei High School; Santa Ana, CA) as well as the latest talented quarterback to emerge from Marcus Mariota’s former high school Chevan Cordeiro (St. Louis School; Honolulu, HI).

With a growing passion for the sport, the Finalists, who will be recognized during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on O`ahu, Hawai`I, were selected from a Watchlist of more than 50 players.

“The Polynesian influence in football is rapidly expanding and at an all-time high,” said Jesse Sapolu, Chairman and Co-Founder. “This award showcases the immense talent of our Polynesian student-athletes in high school football today.”

The Player of the Year will be announced (and honored) at the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner on January 19 (Sheraton Waikiki), and again, at halftime of the Polynesian Bowl (Aloha Stadium) on January 20.

Here are the profiles of the finalists:

TALANOA HUFANGA

Athlete … Tongan Ancestry … Crescent Valley Raiders (Corvallis, OR) … Led the Raiders to a 9-2 season and advancing to the OSAA 5A Quarterfinals … On offense, he rushed for 490 yards and 35 receptions for 696 yards (18 touchdowns) … On defense, 44 tackles and four interceptions … Ranked nationally as the #1 ATH in the Class of 2018 … Ranked as the overall #1 player in Oregon … Selected to play in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl.

PALAIE GAOTEOTE

Linebacker … Samoan Ancestry … Bishop Gorman Gaels (Las Vegas, NV) … Led Gaels to a 13-2 season and the Nevada State 4A Championship … Finished the season with 72 tackles and 16.5 tackles-for-loss … Ranked nationally as the #1 ILB in the Class of 2018 … Ranked as the overall #1 player in Nevada … Finalist for the 2017 Butkus Award as the nation’s top high school linebacker … Selected to play in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl.

BRANDON KAHO

Athlete … Tongan Ancestry … Reno Huskies (Reno, NV) … Played offense, defensive and special teams … Led Huskies to a 10-2 record and advancing to the Nevada State 4A semifinals … Named Northern 4A All-Region Player of the Year … Named First Team All- State running back, defensive end and punter … Ranked nationally as one of the top players in the Class of 2018 … Selected to play in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl.

SOLOMON TULIAUPUPU

Linebacker … Samoan Ancestry … Mater Dei Monarchs (Santa Ana, CA) … Led the #1 nationally ranked Monarchs to a 14-0 record and the California Southern Section Football Championship … Finished the season with 63 tackles and 12 tackles-for-loss … Named the 2017 Butkus Award winner … Ranked nationally as one of the top linebackers in the Class of 2018 … Selected to play in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl.

ABOUT THE POLYNESIAN FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME

The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches and contributors. It also serves as a resource for Polynesian football history and provides scholarships for Polynesian youth. Its permanent home is located at the Polynesian Cultural Center (O’ahu’s North Shore) and was established in 2013 by Super Bowl Champions Jesse Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvasa. Other board members include Troy Polamalu, Vai Sikahema, June Jones and Reno Mahe. For more information, visit our website at www.PolynesianFootballHOF.org, like our Facebook page, or follow us on Instagram and Twitter @PolynesianFBHOF.

ABOUT THE POLYNESIAN BOWL

The Polynesian Bowl is a premier high school football all-star game featuring 100 of the world’s elite football players, of which a majority are of Polynesian ancestry. The game will be played Saturday, January 20, 2018 at Aloha Stadium on O`ahu, Hawai`i during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend. For more information, visit our website at www.PolynesianBowl.com, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @PolynesiaBowl.

For more information, please contact:

Phil Hetu, Polynesian Football Hall of Fame

702.715.5355 | Phil@PolynesianFootballHOF.org

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