SALT LAKE CITY — Sol-Jay Maiava put on quite a performance Saturday night at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

BYU’s lone quarterback signee in December’s Early Signing Period for the 2020 recruiting class showed what dual-threat abilities he brings to the field, scoring the game-winning touchdown and earning offensive MVP honors in the Polynesian Bowl.

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The 6-foot, 190-pound Maiava played for Team Mauka — which beat Team Maika 20-13 — and legendary coach Steve Spurrier, who rotated quarterbacks every play during the game. Maiava completed 8 of 10 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown, while adding 53 rushing yards on eight carries and the game-winning score in the final two minutes.

Playing at Aloha Stadium was a homecoming for Maiava, who grew up in Hawaii and played through his sophomore year at Kahuku High before moving to Washington, D.C., and quarterbacking St. John’s College Prep the past two years.

“No words can express — come back home, finish it off in this stadium where it all started. It means a lot,” Maiava said of returning to Hawaii during the trophy presentation on the CBS Sports Network telecast. “It’s always a blessing. My family got me here, and without them, I wouldn’t be anything.”

Maiava’s game-winning touchdown was set up when Meki Pei, the defensive MVP, made his second interception of the game and returned it 25 yards to the Team Makai 21-yard line. Later on the ensuing drive with under two minutes to play, on first-and-goal at the 1-yard line, Maiava faked the handoff then outran the defense to the pylon for the touchdown run.

Maiava made several impressive plays throughout the game. On Team Mauka’s second drive, Maiava scrambled before throwing a short screen pass to Demond Demas, who cut back to the opposite side of the field and made several moves before scoring from 11 yards out.  

Rivals.com recruiting analyst Woody Wommack named Maiava the game changer in his postgame honors.

“He did a little bit of everything while leading his team to victory, including escaping the rush to extend plays while keeping his eyes downfield and knowing when to tuck and run. Maiava had several Power Five options before choosing the Cougars and he showed that he could be a special playmaker in Provo,” Wommack wrote.

Maiava used his legs to help Team Mauka march downfield for a field goal later in the first half, ripping off runs of 19 yards and 16 yards on the drive. Both plays had a bit of a local feel, as Utah safety signee Kamo’i Latu made the stop on the 19-yard run. American Fork High outside linebacker Bodie Schoonover, a one-time BYU verbal commit who remains unsigned, made the tackle on the 16-yard run.

Maiava put his escapability on full display in the third quarter on a field-goal scoring drive. Facing a second-and-10 at the Team Maika 28, Maiava rolled right out of the pocket and was nearly sacked near the sideline before escaping and throwing back to the middle of the field, where he found tight end Kevin Bauman for a 15-yard gain.

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Maiava will enroll at BYU this summer, joining a 2020 quarterback group that includes Zach Wilson, Jaren Hall and Baylor Romney.

“As a Cougar, I’m so thrilled that we’re getting that kid,” former BYU standout Vai Sikahema, the telecast’s color commentator, said of Maiava.

Other local ties in the Polynesian Bowl

Team Makai

  • Van Fillinger, DE, Corner Canyon High: Fillinger signed a letter of intent with Utah in December.
  • Sione Fotu, ILB, Bingham High: Another Utah signee who made two solo tackles in the first half.
  • Kamo’i Latu, S, St. Louis School (Hawaii): Latu, who signed with Utah in December, started for Team Makai and had two tackles, including a solo stop and as assisted tackle on a 19-yard Maiava run in the second quarter.
  • Bodie Schoonover, OLB, American Fork High: The unsigned defender made a pair of tackles, including a solo stop on Maiava in the second quarter.

Team Mauka

  • Solotoa Moea’i, OT, Punahou High (Hawaii): Moea’i signed a letter of intent with Utah in December.
  • Alex Muti, OLB, Konawaena High (Hawaii): Muti signed a letter of intent with BYU in December.
  • Logan Pili, S, Timpview High: Pili, a BYU commit, had three second-half tackles, including a solo stop in the third quarter.
  • Ioholani Raass, DE, Skyridge High: Raass, who signed with UCLA in December, started for Team Mauka and had a one-yard tackle for loss in the second quarter.
  • Noah Sewell, ILB, Orem High: Sewell, who signed with Oregon in December, started at inside linebacker and had three tackles, including a 1-yard tackle for loss on a first-and-goal play in the first half, before leaving with an injury in the third quarter. He also had a fourth-down carry to start the second quarter, rushing for a yard but coming up a yard short of the first down.
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