The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday the establishment of the Polynesian Bowl, a high school all-star football game that will feature the elite players of Polynesian heritage and other ancestries.
The Polynesian Bowl will be played Saturday, January 21, 2017, 6 p.m. at Aloha Stadium as part of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend.
A major announcement is forthcoming on a national broadcast partner.
Past Polynesian College Player of the Year Award recipients, Tennessee Titans Quarterback Marcus Mariota (TEAM MARIOTA) and Baltimore Ravens Offensive Tackle Ronnie Stanley (TEAM STANLEY) will serve as team captains. They will select their players at a draft luau.
“Honoring my heritage is very important to me,” said Mariota. “I look forward to working with the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame to make this the best high school all-star game in the country. This will give our Polynesian players opportunities and exposure that is much needed. Team Mariota is ready to go.”
Stanley said “I’m very excited to be Team Captain for the inaugural Polynesian Bowl. It is a great opportunity for me to support my culture and our young talented Polynesian football players. I’m looking forward to Team Stanley going out there and getting the win. Ofa Atu!”
A total of 84 nationally ranked players will be selected to participate in the game. Nearly 30 have already committed to play, including the 12 of 13 Polynesians ranked in the ESPN300: QB Tua Tagovailoa (Honolulu, HI; #55), DE A.J. Epenesa (Edwardsville, IL; #60), DT Marlon Tuipulotu (Independence, OR; #117), DT Jay Tufele (South Jordan, UT; #121), OT Chuck Filiaga (Aledo, TX; #121), OT Henry Bainivalu (Sammimish, WA; #160), TE Josh Falo (Sacramento, CA; #161), OL Brett Neilon (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA; #189), S Isaiah Pola-Mao (Phoenix, AZ; #222), S Chaz Ah You (Provo, UT; #231), FB Sione Heimuli-Lund (Salt Lake City, UT; #271), and DE Langi Tuifua (South Jordan, UT; #274).
Nationally ranked players of other ancestries who will be participating include: WR Tyjon Lindsey (Las Vegas, NV; ESPN 300 #76), TE Hunter Bryant (Bellevue, WA; ESPN #262), ATH Conner Wedington (Sumner, WA; Scout #226) and the grandson of Muhammad Ali, RB Biaggio Ali-Walsh (Las Vegas, NV).
Each player will receive air fare to Hawaii, lodging, meals, ground transportation, Nike apparel, a Riddell helmet and shoulder pads. Players will also participate in Polynesian cultural and educational activities throughout game week.
Polynesian Football Hall of Fame inaugural Inductees Jack “The Throwin’ Samoan” Thompson (TEAM MARIOTA) and Olin Kreutz (TEAM STANLEY) will serve as Honorary Head Coaches.
“The Polynesian Bowl will be a great addition to the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week festivities,” said Jesse Sapolu, Chairman and Co-Founder. “It will be a meaningful experience and an opportunity for all participants to learn more about our Polynesian culture.”
Special thanks to the Hawaii Tourism Authority and other major sponsors including Hawaiian Airlines, Marcus Mariota’s Motiv8 Foundation (to provide Nike apparel); Riddell, Hawaii News Now, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, hawaii.com and Roberts Hawaii.
For more information, visit www.PolynesianBowl.com.