Turkey Day - the Mustangs versus the Buccaneers.


November 24, 2005 was International Day of Solidarity with the Indigenous People of the Americas. I got up early at 3:30 am. and left for Alcatraz Island catching the first ferry boat around 4:50 am. I started the day good meeting with so many friends and rejoicing with the First People of this Nation.

On my return to San Francisco I decided to witness the Turkey Day Championship — Balboa High School taking on Lincoln High School at Kezar Stadium at 11 am. Balboa High School has done well this year and with Head coach Keith Minor and Principal Patricia Gray at the helm of affairs Balboa High School should have been totally rejoicing and dancing the Haka dance all year round. I feel for my Samoan Warriors - it is about opportunities, when it comes your way you seize it or forever hold your peace.

I am cool with Peter Taamu Vaovasa, Mapesone Galuega, Afa Oliver Galuega, Anthony Defils, Chris Pon, Tago McManus, Luther Lary, Andrew Vai, Paradis Vaovasa, Terrill Jamar Vinson, Kary Lucius Amons, McLeod Bethel-Thompson and the rest of the Buccaneer team. I have gone out of my way to give the Balboa team wide publicity in good measure because I was determined in my own way to help Balboa High School reach the finals and win in a big way. That is me - my competitive spirit.

The Lincoln High School Mustangs and the Balboa High School Buccaneers both have played well the whole season and I want to thank the two coaches Phil Ferrigno who coaches Lincoln and Keith Minor who coaches Balboa for doing an outstanding job for the youth. I really do not know the two coaches well but being a former team manager I see in them what I see in the best of coaches - and that is important to the equation, to bring about the best from raw good talent and making it work. Both coaches are blessed with talent and are good men. At half-time the score was 21-0 in favor of Lincoln High School. When Balboa High School returned soon the score reached 21-14. Kary Amons, Chris Pon, Peter Vaovasa, Andrew Vai, MeLeod Bethel-Thompson tried their best and with the strong support of the other Buccaneer players soon made it 21-20.

Then came the play of the season. With less then 5 minutes on the clock and the Buccaneers poised to draw the game the field-kick was blocked by Mustang - Mike Paolucci . This sophomore can brag for the rest of his life that he gave Lincoln High School the Turkey Championship in the year 2005. As I saw it Paolucci made a mad rush through a gap and took the ball straight in his face - what a play.

With less then 4 minutes left and the ball in control with the Mustangs I was hoping that the Buccaneers would strike luck and do something. So near and yet so far. Robert Tago and his cheering comrades were cheering loud, others in the stands too - but it was NOT to BE. The Mustangs bought time with minor safe plays and ran out the time.

David Henderson the former Brown Bombers player has been doing wonders for Lincoln High School. I have been watching him at the practices with Mission defensive coach John Nauer. I can see David Henderson going places and I hope some one helps him with his studies. The Mustangs Quarterback Andrew Loo played well and was calm under pressure. Somehow I did not see that with the Buccaneers' Quarterback. The best team won and under the circumstances I had to face reality and send my kudos to the winning team.

It is easy to say that next year the Mustangs will do better - surely I wish they do. I see so many Senior Buccaneers leaving. I wish them the best in their studies and also on the playing field. They will look back and think about all the good stuff Head coach Keith Minor threw their way and the love they got from Principal Patricia Gray. Athletic Director Val Cubales will remember this team for a long time. Kudos to cheer leaders Ayaka and Clarissa for supporting the Buccaneers. The two stood their ground with Robert Tago in the stands leading the cheers loud as ever. This year I made sure I spent some quality time with the High School Football Players by attending the practices and it was all good. The better team won on Turkey Day. I look forward to next year and some good football but I also am paying attention to grades at school and want to see an improvement in this area. Thanks to the Umpires, the referees and we should NOT forget the field doctors and the Security Guards.

The last time the Buccaneers won the Turkey Championship was in 1984 and the last time the Mustangs took it home was in 1979. I am no reporter of football games but I gave it my best shot. I can hear Peter Vaovasa shout WOW "we should have made it ". Mapesone Galuega looks at him and smiles silently and says nothing. To my Samoan Warriors I can say with pride - Talofa!

Andew Vai Buccaneer Captain.

McManus Tago.

Field Doctor Phil.

Robert Tago and fans.

Terrill Jamar Vinson.

Buccaneer Principal Patricia Gray.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

My warrior friend Peter Vaovasa.

Soloman Webster and John Tauapola.

Afa (Oliver) Galuega.

Buccaneer Head coach Keith Minor.

At Kezar Stadium.

Chris Pon.

Brother Mapesone and Afa (Oliver) Galuega.

The Buccaneer Flag.

Buccaneer Fans in the Stands.

Buccaneer Cheer Leaders Ayaka and Clarissa.

SF Police Officers on Horses.
They graced the Turkey Game.

Let us keep the Fire Burning.
Make the best team win.

Let us honor the First People.
Let us do that on Turkey Day.
It is the RIGHT thing to do.

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