'I thought he was amazing': Crusader Nation, Hawaii fans praise Tagovailoa

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The pass Tua Tagovailoa completed to clinch the National Championship for Alabama was the same play he ran repeatedly as a Saint Louis Crusader.

Vince Passas was Tua's high school quarterback coach.

"Once the ball left his hand and it was going deep, you knew something big was going to happen. I almost hit the ceiling, jumping up so high. That's a helluva toss!" Passas said.

He said Tua is one of the best pure passers he has ever seen.

"From the age of nine years old, coming to our camps, I thought he was amazing," he said.

Hawaii football fans are still buzzing about Tua's performance on college football's biggest stage in Monday's NCAA championship game.

Fans say Tua earned his spot among great names in Hawaii football.

"What it means for the 808? He just put us on the map again. Not only did Manti do it, not only did Mariota do it, but now he's a part of it," said Keanu Lee of Kailua.

Tua's family says he was destined for greatness.

"It's a prophecy that's been fulfilled because it's something that our parents - it was my dad's vision because he saw something great for all of his grandchildren," Pastor Said Tagovailoa-Amosa, Tua's aunt, said.

Tua's second-half heroics caught some from his high school somewhat off guard.

"We didn't really plan that he was going to actually play. Now that he's played and he's won the national championship we'll put something together," Saint Louis president Glenn Medeiros said.

Now Medeiros has to figure out how the campus will celebrate.

Medeiros said Tagovailoa was a good student, and a role model for teammates and classmates.

Passas added Tua's faith in God and closeness to his family gives him poise under pressure that the Crusader Nation saw time and time again.

Now America knows.

"I was just happy that the nation got a chance to see what we already knew — what Tua Tagovailoa was like," Passas said.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.