Pili invited to inaugural Polynesian Bowl next week in Hawaii

January 10, 2017

Brandon Pili football

Brandon Pili

Before he goes off to play college football, Brandon Pili of Anchorage will play in one last high school game.

He has accepted an invitation to play in the inaugural Polynesian Bowl, Jan. 21 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Getting invited to this was pretty exciting because it is the first-ever Polynesian Bowl so I will be a part of its history and foundation,” Pili told me.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound senior defensive lineman is a 3-star national recruit who has scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Ole Miss, Colorado and others.

Despite some outstanding offers, he remains undecided.

“I haven’t really cut down the list just yet, but I know I will have to pretty quickly,” he said. “This game is mostly just for fun for me. I’m not looking for it to help my recruiting, but it would be cool to get a get more looks from other schools.”

Pili, of Dimond High fame, played his senior season at Westview in Portland, Oregon, and earned all-conference honors before coming back to Alaska to graduate with his class and spent time with family before leaving for college.

The Polynesian Bowl is part of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend. Past Polynesian College Player of the Year Award recipients and current NFL players Marcus Mariota and Ronnie Stanley will serve as team captains. They will select their players at a Draft Luau.

Each player will receive air fare to Hawaii, lodging, meals, ground transportation, Nike apparel, a Riddell helmet and shoulder pads. They will also participate in Polynesian cultural and educational activities throughout game week.

“This game means a lot to me culturally, and it does for my dad too,” said Pili, who departs Monday. “I’m excited to go to the Polynesian cultural center and see the Polynesian Hall of Fame.”

Football is a big part of his life, and his culture.

“Yeah Polynesians are naturally strong, and they are tough as well, and most of us are naturally just born for the game,” he said. “A lot of it has to do with our pride. Polynesians have a lot of pride and it drives them to never want to lose.”