HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Super Bowl 55 is less than a week away, with the NFL already starting the festivities in Tampa, Florida over the weekend — starting with the 2021 NFL Flag Football Bowl.
Over the past weekend, The Maui Ducks out of Wailuku were crowned tournament champions for the 7-under age division.
An accomplishment that feels a lot sweeter after going through the trials and tribulations of 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic, according to co-head coach Chazzen Sa’u.
“It’s been challenging with all of this whole pandemic and dedication, so it was a tough decision to make, but we all came together as one and put together our team.” Sa’u told Hawaii News Now. “Just went up, the boys showed out and it was just a great journey, great experience for the boys and for us just to see the kids get out there and play sports again.”
Throughout the pandemic, youth sports have been on a long hiatus, so preparing for the tournament was difficult at times, but Sa’u says that his team took any chance they could to practice.
“With Maui’s guidelines there was still flag football, there was a season and a league still going, other sports actually still going, some sports, just some strict rules you have to follow.” Sa’u said. “We just followed the rules, took opportunities where we could practice, prepared and here we are now.”
Not only was this a chance for his kids to play sports again, with was also another opportunity to showcase Hawaii sports on the National stage.
“That was our whole thing, just to go up there and represent, put Hawaii on the map and make sure that everybody knows that Hawaii has talent, we get action over here.” Sa’u said.
Coach Sa’u is very thankful for his players, but he is most thankful for the support received from the Valley Isle — helping the Ducks every step of the way.
“Shout out to all of the people, families, friends, thank you guys so much we couldn’t do this without you guys.” Sa’u said. “Especially a big shout out to the parents of our kids, thank you guys, they’re the real MVP’s out of this whole thing.”
The NFL Flag Bowl is a partnership between NFL Flag and National Flag Football to hold a tournament ahead of the Super Bowl, consisting of a wide range of age groups, while also giving team’s a one-of-a-kind experience in Tampa Bay before the big game.