A friendship forged on the gridiron

Polynesian Bowl gives childhood friends last opportunity to play together before college

Polynesian Bowl gives childhood friends last opportunity to play together before college

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - “Brotherhood for Life” is more than a motto at Saint Louis School.

For some students, it’s about establishing friendships that last far beyond grade school. For others it’s simply having each other’s back.

But for Faatui Tuitele and Arasi Mosi, their friendship began long before their days at Kalaepohaku.

“The first time we played against each other was at Moanalua. I was playing for the Central Razorbacks and he was playing for the Rocksolid Crusaders,” Tuitele said of meeting Mosi over 7 years ago. “Both teams from Kalihi. I remember looking across the field and seeing a big No. 90 on the other side of the field. I was playing end and he was playing right tackle. And it was a battle.”

Even as sixth graders, Tuitele and Mosi were forces to be reckoned with on the football field, often lining up across from each other. But those battles in the trenches never turned into a war of words off the field.

Instead, a level of respect was established between two of Hawaii’s highest-rated football recruits.

“The first time I saw him across the line across me was this big No. 87. I was tripping,” Mosi said. “I was like, ‘Ho, is this guy supposed to be out here?’ It was fun. We grew up with each other, became close and grew up playing football at Saint Louis and we got each other better.”

Playing against each other forced the other to improve to keep up. As Crusaders, the two went on to win state championships as teammates, although they would still go to battle during practice.

“I was blessed enough to play with him the next four years and in high school … and now playing against each other in the last game of our high school career in the Poly Bowl,” Tuitele said. “It’s gonna be fun. Might be a little bit (of) chirping, but it’s all love at the end.”

Over the last couple days, Tuitele and Mosi have found themselves on opposite sides of the field during Polynesian Bowl practice: One on Team Makai, one on Team Mauka.

For the first time in years, Tuitele will look across the line of scrimmage and find Mosi lined up across from him in an actual game.

“I’m very proud. This guy’s worked very hard, he’s very humble and he got me to be the man I am today, off the field and on the field,” Mosi said.

For all the niceties exchanged between the two, the trash talk will have its place on Saturday. But whatever does happen at Aloha Stadium, their friendship will remain stronger than ever.

“I can’t describe how proud I am of Arasi,” Tuitele said. “I’ve seen him from sixth grade. All the improvement, all the hard work he’s put in to now. UH is very blessed to have him on the O-line. He’s gonna do damage over there and I’m proud of him. We came close since we first met in sixth grade. We’ve been sleeping over at each other’s house, go out and eat, we’d be playing Madden - I’d be beating him. I’m proud of my brother right here.”

After Saturday’s Polynesian Bowl, Tuitele and Mosi will go their separate ways after over a decade playing with or against each other.

Tuitele will head to the West Coast to play for the University of Washington while Mosi will stay on Oahu and play for the University of Hawaii.

Despite going to different universities, this is far from goodbye for the two childhood friends.

“We’re gonna play each other one more time in Seattle when Washington plays Hawaii September 14th, 2019, baby!” Tuitele said.

The 2019 Polynesian Bowl takes place this Saturday at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

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