Former Utah defensive tackles Luther Elliss and Ma’ake Tu’amelie Kemoeatu join former BYU running back and kick returner Vai Sikahema on a list of 20 finalists for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame released today.
All three are of Tongan heritage. They join a group that includes 12-year NFL veteran and Arizona State star Junior Ah You and six-year professional Al Noga, who played at Hawaii, on the list.
Kemoeatu payed 11 years in the NFL with Baltimore, Carolina and Washington. Elliss spent nine years with Detroit and Denver. Sikahema played for St. Louis, Arizona, Green Bay and Philadelphia during an eight-year career.
Six finalists who will be inducted will be announced Oct. 8. Members of the committee include former Utah and BYU coaches Ron McBride and LaVell Edwards.
The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches and contributors. As a 501(c)(3) organization, the Hall of Fame serves as a resource for Polynesian football history, provides scholarships for Polynesian student-athletes and hosts educational programs for Polynesian youths.
Here is a list of finalists for the Hall of Fame:
George Achica (DT) USC, Pro: NFL (IND) & USFL 3 years, Samoan ancestry
Junior Ah You (DE) Arizona State, Pro: CFL & USFL 12 years, Samoan ancestry
Bob Apisa (FB/HB) Michigan State, Pro: NFL (GB) 1 year, Samoan ancestry
Charles "Charlie" Teetai Ane, Jr. (OL) USC, Pro: NFL (DET) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
Herman “Buddy” Piikei Clark (OL) Oregon State, Pro: NFL (CHI) 4 years, Hawaiian ancestry
Riki Morgan Ellison (LB) USC, Pro: NFL (SF, OAK) 8 years, Maori ancestry
Luther John Elliss (DT) Utah, Pro: NFL (DET, DEN) 9 years, Samoan ancestry
Rockne Crowningburg Freitas (OL) Oregon State, Pro: NFL (DET, TB) 10 years, Hawaiian S) 11 years, Tongan ancestry
Todd Lyght (CB) Notre Dame, Pro: NFL (STL, DET) 12 years, Marshallese ancestry
Chris Naeole (G) Colorado, Pro: NFL (NO, JAX) 11 years, Hawaiian ancestry Alapati “Al” Noga (DL) Hawai’i, Pro: NFL (MIN, WAS, IND) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
Niko Noga (LB) Hawai’i, Pro: NFL (AZ, DET) 8 years, Samoan ancestry
Dan Saleaumua (DT) Arizona State, Pro: NFL (DET, KC, SEA) 12 years, Samoan ancestry
Jesse Sapolu (C) Hawai’i, Pro: NFL (SF) 15 years, Samoan ancestry
Ray Frederick Schoenke (OT/OG) SMU, Pro: NFL (DAL, WAS) 12 years, Hawaiian ancestry
Vai Sikahema (RB/KR) BYU, Pro: NFL (AZ, GB, PHI) 8 years, Tongan ancestry
Ma’a Tanuvasa (DE) Hawai’i, Pro: NFL (STL, PIT, DEN, SD, ATL) 9 years, Samoan ancestry
Mosiula “Mosi” Faasuka Tatupu (RB/KR) USC, Pro: NFL (NE, STL) 14 years, Samoan ancestry
Mark Pulemau Tuinei (OT) Hawai’i, Pro: NFL (DAL) 15 years, Samoan ancestry
COACH & CONTRIBUTOR FINALISTS
Russ Francis, advocate for Polynesian football, Super Bowl champion and three time Pro Bowl selection
Thomas Ka’auwai Ka’ulukukui, former head football coach at University of Hawai’i, Hawaiian ancestry
Albert “Al” Lolotai, first Polynesian to play professional football, Samoan ancestry
John Manumaleuna, Southern California advocate for Polynesian Youth, Samoan ancestry
Charlie Wedemeyer, former head football coach, Los Gatos High School (CA), Hawaiian ancestry