2022 POLYNESIAN HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
Honolulu, HI (November 29, 2022) – The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced today five Finalists for the 2022 Polynesian High School Football Player of the Year Award.
The Polynesian High School Football Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the most outstanding senior high school football player of Polynesian Ancestry. Current San Francisco 49ers Safety Talanoa Hufanga was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2017; BYU WR Puka Nacua & University of Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa were selected as co-players of the year in 2018; Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei was selected in 2019; Ohio State DE J.T. Tuimoloau received the Award in 2020; and University of Arizona WR Tetairoa McMillan was selected as player of the year in 2021.
The five Finalists include DE Tausili Akana (Skyridge High School; Lehi, Utah), QB Nico Iamaleava (Warren High School; Downey, California), WR Makai Lemon (Los Alamitos High School; Los Alamitos, California), OL Francis Mauigoa (IMG Academy; Bradenton, Florida) and DE Matayo Uiagalelei (St. John Bosco High School; Bellflower, California).
“This Award showcases the immense talent of our Polynesian student-athletes in high school football today,” said Jesse Sapolu, Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Chairman and Co-Founder. “We congratulate each Finalist and their families.”
The Finalists will be recognized during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on O`ahu, Hawai`i. The formal presentation of the Award will be held at the 2023 Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner (January 21, 2023), along with the finalists being recognized during the 2023 Polynesian Bowl (January 20, 2023).
POLYNESIAN HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Tausili Akana – Skyridge High School (Lehi, UT)
Defensive End … Samoan and Hawaiian Ancestry … Helped lead Skyridge to a 13-1 record and the 2022 6A State Championship … 63 total tackles (34 solo) … 12.5 sacks … One rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown … Selected to play in the 2023 Polynesian Bowl.
Nico Iamaleava – Warren High School (Downey, CA)
Quarterback … Samoan Ancestry … Helped lead Warren to a 9-2 record … Threw for 1,726 yards and 25 touchdowns … Rushed for 399 yards and six touchdowns … Committed to the University of Tennessee … Selected to play in the 2023 Polynesian Bowl.
Makai Lemon – Los Alamitos High School (Los Alamitos, CA)
Wide Receiver … Hawaiian Ancestry … Helped lead Los Alamitos to a 9-3 record … 1,044 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns … Committed to the University of Southern California … Selected to play in the 2023 Polynesian Bowl.
Francis Mauigoa – IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)
Offensive Lineman … Samoan Ancestry … Helped lead IMG to an 8-1 record … Committed to the University of Miami … Selected to play in the 2023 Polynesian Bowl.
Matayo Uiagalelei – St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, CA)
Defensive Line … Samoan Ancestry … Helped lead St. John Bosco to a 12-1 record and the CIF Southern Section Championship … 47 total tackles (27 solo) … 7.5 sacks … Three receiving touchdowns … Selected to play in the 2023 Polynesian Bowl.
About the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame: The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches, and contributors. Its permanent home is located at the Polynesian Cultural Center 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. PolynesianFootballHOF.org
About the Polynesian Bowl: The Polynesian Bowl is a premier all-star game played annually in Honolulu, Hawai`i that features 100 of the nation’s top ranked high school seniors of Polynesian and non-Polynesian ancestry alike – many of whom have gone on to play in the NFL. The game has become the most sought-after all-star football invitation – a rapid rise from its inaugural game in 2017. This past January, top ranked 2022 player Travis Hunter participated in the game and was named Offensive MVP. The game will be broadcast live and in primetime on NFL Network. Major partners include Microsoft Surface Pro, adidas, BodyArmor, Riddell, CrossCountry Mortgage, Friends of Hawai`i Charities, Hawaiian Airlines, HBCTC, Hawai`i News Now and World Wide Safety. For more information, go to PolynesianBowl.com