HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced the five finalists for the inaugural Polynesian High School Football Player of the Year Award this morning.
The five Finalists include quarterback Chevan Cordeiro (St. Louis School; Honolulu, HI), linebacker Palaie Gaoteote (Bishop Gorman High School; Las Vegas, NV), athlete Talanoa Hufanga (Crescent Valley High School; Corvallis, OR), athlete Brandon Kaho (Reno High School; Reno, NV) and linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu (Mater Dei High School; Santa Ana, CA).
The award is presented annually to the most outstanding Polynesian Senior high school football player. The Finalists were selected from a watch list of more than 50 players.
"The Polynesian influence in football is rapidly expanding and at an all-time high," said Jesse Sapolu, Chairman and Co-Founder in a press release. "This award showcases the immense talent of our Polynesian student-athletes in high school football today."
Finalists will be recognized during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on Oahu. The Player of the Year will be announced at the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner on January 19 at the Sheraton Waikiki and during halftime of the Polynesian Bowl on January 20 at Aloha Stadium.
Here's a quick look at this year's set of finalists:
CHEVAN CORDEIRO, QB
Cordeiro, of Hawaiian Ancestry, led the St. Louis Crusaders to an Open Division State title this season, leading the state quarterback rating (184.9) and passing yards (3,157).
He was also named the Marcus Mariota Hawaii High School Player of the Year and ILH DI Offensive MVP.
PALAIE GAOTEOTE, LB
Gaoteote, of Samoan ancestry, makes his presence known for national powerhouse Bishop Gorman Gaels. Gaoteote finished the season with 72 tackles and 16.5 tackles-for-loss, leading the Gaels defense to a 13-2 record and the Nevada State 4A Championship.
He is currently ranked as the nation's nationally No. 1 inside-linebacker for the Class of 2018, the No.1 overall player in Nevada and was a finalist for the 2017 Butkus Award as the nation's top high school linebacker.
TALANOA HUFANGA, ATH
Hufanga, of Tongan ancestry, led the Crescent Valley Raiders to a 9-2 season. Playing multiple positions for the Raiders, Hufanga racked up 490 rushing yards, 35 receptions for 696 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns on offense.
On the other side of the ball, Hufanga recorded 44 tackles and four interceptions. He is currently ranked as the nation's No. 1 athlete for the Class of 2018 and is ranked the No. 1 player in Oregon
BRANDON KAHO, ATH
Kaho, of Tongan ancestry, did it all for the Reno Huskies as he played in all three phases (offense, defense, special teams) for his team.
He led the Huskies to a 10-2 record and was named the Northern 4A All-Region Player of the Year while gaining First Team All-State honors as a running back, defensive end and punter.
SOLOMON TULIAUPUPU, LB
Tuliaupupu, of Samoan ancestry, led the nation's No. 1 ranked Mater Dei Monarchs to a 14-0 record and the California Southern Section Football Championship.
He finished the season with 63 tackles and 12 tackles-for-loss before being named the 2017 Butkus Award winner.