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Waimea’s Matagiese to join best in nation

Waimea High School senior Siasau Matagiese — otherwise known as Saui — is the lone football player from the island of Kaua‘i invited to next month’s inaugural the Hawai‘i All-Star Football Classic to be played at Aloha Stadium.

The all-star game is said to attract national attention as it will feature some of the best Hawai‘i and American Samoa high school football prospects and pit them against those from the Mainland.

“I was excited to hear that I was the only guy from Kaua‘i invited because I thought of a couple of guys from Kaua‘i High School who I thought would get chosen over me,” Matagiese said.

Matagiese finished his final season with the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation earlier this month with 13.5 tackles (11 solo, 5 assisted), 5.5 tackles for loss and an interception. He is currently being recruited by two Division I Mainland colleges.

“It’s another game after the high school season I can play in,” he said. “It’s supposed to be the top players in the country playing in it, so I figured it would be good for me to go.”

This, he hopes, will give him an opportunity to get a feel for what it’s like to play football at the next level.

“A lot of the Mainland players are a lot bigger than us here, so if I can get a look at how they play now, hopefully it will put me that much ahead of them,” he said. “I’ll probably get a better look at the other players who are trying to play in college too.”

Matagiese is familiar with some of the local players who already committed to Football Classic having met them at camps — Mana Rosa of Baldwin High School on Maui and Jordan Loeffler of Hilo High School from the Big Island.

Another is practically a celebrity already and his season isn’t even over yet. Mant Te‘o of Punahou School is one of the nation’s top high school recruits. He’s attracted big-name coaches such as Pete Carroll of USC and Charlie Weis of Notre Dame to fly over for a day to watch him play.

Weis flew over in the afternoon, watched Te‘o play against the Red Raiders of Iolani School and was on a plane later that night to coach the Fighting Irish the very next day.

“When I heard Manti Te‘o was going to play, I was talking to my teammates and I said I was going to grab all my gear and bring it with me and have him sign everything. I want to have him sign everything before he makes it big,” Matagiese said.

American Samoa players joining Matagiese on the Hawai‘i/Polynesia team are Joey Iosefa of Fagaitu High School, James Savea of Samoana High School and Afasene Tasi of Leone High School.

The Mainland players with Polynesia ties on the team are Corey Nielson of Gahr High School in California, Levi Te‘o and Xavier Su‘a-Filo, both of Timpview High School in Utah. They will be coached by Wendell Say of ‘Aiea High School.

The Mainland team players include Randall Carroll of Cathedral High School in California, Bryn Renner of West Springfield High School in Virginia and Chris Watt of Glenbard West High School in Illinois. That team will be coached by Bill Renner of West Springfield.

By committing to this game and meeting with college coaches, Matagiese just may be the next player of Waimea High School to play in a big conference. Most recently, 2004 Waimea grad Jordon Dizon played for the University of Colorado and was drafted to the National Football League’s Detroit Lions.

Matagiese, an honor student all throughout high school, has his sights on playing in Colorado. He was also invited to play in the Samoa Bowl in American Samoa, but declined the offer.

The Hawai‘i All-Star Football Classic is produced by the Hawai‘i Union Builders Foundation in coordination with  Sportslink, the producers of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl held annually in January at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Preceding the all-star game will be the Senior Bowl Goodwill Classic, now in its 18th year. That will feature some of the best O‘ahu Interscholastic Association and Interscholastic League of Honolulu high school seniors.

That game will start at 5 p.m. and the Hawai‘i All-Star Football Classic will start at 8 p.m., Dec. 12, at Aloha Stadium.

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