SportStars Magazine

Pahulu’s POV: Serra Prevails in Battle In The Trenches

Serra Padres vs. St. Francis Lancers 11.10.17

Photos: Juan Otero Jr

The make up game on Veteran’s Observed Holiday as this high school is for the WCAL title. It would mean more for Serra if they win because this will be their first outright WCAL title since the Lynn Swann era when he played for Serra in the late 1960s. Other notable Serra alums are Barry Bonds (1982) and Tom Brady (1995). Coach Patrick Walsh (De La Salle alum) has turned this football program around since he took over in the early 2000s and I’m excited about the matchup between Serra’s big Tongan defensive tackle Antonio Mafi 6’3”, 360lbs against St. Francis Tyler Manoa 6’5”, 295lbs. Mafi has committed to CAL and Manoa who has been selected for the upcoming US Army All American Bowl in San Antonio and the Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii. This is my first visit to St. Francis campus in Mountain View. The facilities are brand new due to their early investment and subsequent success in social media giant, “Instagram.”

You’re looking at a Tongan Offensive Line of Serra that consist with #66Mafi, #79 Moses Tameilau, and #55 Elijah Folau against a Tongan Defensive Line of St. Francis with #52 Manoa, #42 Jr. Fehoko, #7 Joshua Pakola and #56 Longahulu Ahoia. I love this matchup.   

In the first quarter, Serra starts fast as #13 RB Isiah Kendrick has a 3 yard TD run with 9:16 remaining.  The next offensive Padre possession #10 QB Luke Bottari throws a pass to #23 Chris Park for a catch and run that resulted 69 yards for a TD.  Serra is up 14-0 with 4:17 remaining and they are picking the Lancer defense apart as #10 Bottari has so much time in the pocket. 

In the second quarter as Serra has possession, #10 Bottari throws to #28 WR Shane Villaroman for a 34 yard reception as Serra is on the Lancers 6 yard line. Two plays later, Bottari throws to #9 Patrick Nunn (who is half Tongan), he’s wide open in the end zone for a TD. Serra is up 21-0 with 11:14 remaining. The ensuing possession for the Lancers, QB and team captain #12 Reed Vettel throws an INT to #23 Chris Park and Serra has the ball at their own 10 yard line. However they don’t take advantage of the turnover as St. Francis forces a 3 and out and they start with good field position. QB Vettel throws a screen pass to #31 Lucas Andrighetto for 35 yards to the Serra 10 yard line. At the goal line on 3rd and 3, FB #11 Opeti Fangupo fumbles the ball but the Lancers recover. In a gutsy 4th and goal, #32 WR Evan Williams catches a fade route from Vettel to get the Lancers on the scoreboard 21-7 Serra with 1:49 remaining which would end up being the score at halftime.

“Tongan players from both teams showing love for each other after a hard fought game”

In the third quarter both teams are starting slow; the home crowd at St. Francis is keeping the Lancers spirit up. On a 3rd and long with Serra on offense, #42 Jr. Fehoko comes through for St. Francis with a huge sack that forces Serra to punt. With the Lancers at their own 20 yard line, #10 RB Darrell Page goes “BeastMode” by running over a Padre defender en route to a 80 yard rushing TD. 21-13 with 2:43 remaining as St. Francis fails on the 2 point conversion. We got a game – it is now a one possession game. 

In the fourth quarter after a missed field goal by Serra, St. Francis has possession and starts off with a 25 yard run by #10 Page to the Serra 40 yard line. Vettel throws to #32 Williams for 26 yards. Next play, Page runs up the middle for an 8 yard TD with 8:41 remaining. St. Francis is forced to go on a 2 point conversion and they succeed with Vettel rolling to his right as he finds #7 Pakola on the back line of the end zone with two feet in. The game is tied 21-21. On Serra’s next possession, #10 QB Bottari throws to #13 Kendrick in the middle as he’s wide open and is down at the 14 yard line in Lancer’s territory. A 65 yard pass. Serra settles for a 35 yard field goal made by #5 Damon Lewis and Serra takes the lead 24-21 with 6:23 remaining. Serra’s defense comes up big on the next St. Francis possession as they force the Lancers to punt. With the Padres next offensive possession at their own 32 yard line, #23 Chris Park catches a pass for a 68 yard TD. Serra is up 31-21 with 4:08 remaining.

With the Lancers on its heels, they catch a break when QB #12 Mettel passes to #16 Maurice Wilmer, who bobbles but makes the reception for 22 yards and a 1st down. With the game on the line on 4th and 17 and 2:35 remaining, the Padres bring an all out blitz and sack the QB. Serra has the ball on turnovers as they run the clock out and win this game 31-21 to go undefeated in WCAL divisional play. 

#10 Luke Bottari finishes with 345 passing yards, but the MVP is #23 Chris Park as he has three receptions for 140 yards and an INT on defense. For the Lancers, #10 Darrell Page finishes with 26 carries for 157 yards. 

There is a possibility that they may meet again since they are both selected in the CCS Open Division 2 bracket as Serra is the #1 seed and St. Francis is the #3 seed. The WCAL is strong this year as 6 out of the 8 teams have qualified for CCS playoffs. Congratulations to the Serra Padres for being WCAL champs.

Til next time.  Ofa Atu -George

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