Taulia Tagovailoa repeats as 7A Back of the Year, finished 2nd in Mr. Football voting

Published 2:24 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

MONTGOMERY – The journey started almost three years ago when Taulia Tagovailoa was told by his parents that he was going to be moving from the beautiful islands of Hawaii to Alabaster, Alabama, so they could be closer to older brother Tua Tagvailoa at the University of Alabama.

Reluctant to the move, it took a while for Tagovailoa to come around not wanting to move, but in the end, he accepted that his parents knew what was best for him and put the rest in God’s hands.

Now just short of three years after moving across the country and to the mainland, Tagovailoa’s high school journey has come to an end with back-to-back Class 7A Back of the Year awards.

At the ASWA Awards Banquet held at the Renaissance Convention Center in Montgomery on Tuesday, Jan. 15, Tagovailoa was named the 2018 Class 7A Back of the Year for the second consecutive year after totaling 3,684 yards passing and 35 touchdowns during his final season with the Warriors, which helped lead his team to their second state championship game in school history.

With Tagovailoa prepared to play at the Polynesian Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, just miles from Kapolei High School where he spent his first two high school seasons, Thompson athletics director Vincent Pitts accepted on his behalf.

“I’m honored to be here to accept on behalf of Taulia,” Pitts said. “Knowing what I know about him, he would thank God first, then he would thank his family, his coaches and his teammates for everything they did for him on a daily basis.”

Thompson athletics director Vincent Pitts accepts Tagovailoa’s award on his behalf. (Reporter photo/Keith McCoy)

Tagovailoa also finished second in the voting for the 2018 Mr. Football award behind Auburn quarterback commit and Pinson Valley quarterback Bo Nix.

After last year’s disappointment in a semifinal loss to Hoover, Tagovailoa vowed at the awards banquet that his team would be back and better than ever in 2018, and that became the case, as the Warriors ended up making it to their first state championship game since 1982, and just the second in school history.

While Thompson didn’t end up winning the state championship in a loss to Central-Phenix City, the historic numbers put up by Tagovailoa and the Warriors the last two years are jaw dropping.

It’s a team that went from 0-10 in 2014 to back-to-back 5-5 season, followed by a 12-1 season and an 11-2 season with trips to at least the semifinals in each of those two seasons with Tagovailoa playing a big part in that.

Tagovailoa at last year’s awards banquet

He also helped three receivers the last two years accumulate more than 1,000 receiving yards, including Ahmad and Mo Edwards and Michael Pettway.

In just his two-year Thompson career, the Alabama commit threw for 7,054 yards and 71 touchdowns completing 548 of his 861 pass attempts with just 13 interceptions.

In his two years and Kapolei, Tagovailoa put up similar stellar seasons their as well, and for his entire career, he totaled 13,577 yards and 135 touchdowns just threw the air, not accounting for his talent running the ball.

His older brother Tua Tagovailoa, and Heisman trophy runner-up at the University of Alabama, played one less season at the high school level, but totaled 8,158 yards and 84 touchdowns at St. Louis High School in Hawaii.

Taulia Tagovailoa had surpassed that mark in his three years of starting at the end of his junior season to put into perspective what a unique talent he has been at the high school level.

If he had played one more full season in the state of Alabama, there is almost no question that he would have become the state’s all-time passing leader sitting in 16th currently, and just 3,000 yards away from JaMarcus Russell’s total set between 1999 and 2002.

While his high school journey started 4,370 miles away and four years ago, it is now coming to end in the place he was so reluctant to leave with one final All-American game in the Polynesian Bowl.

Between the start and end of his career, he has created memories that he himself and many around him will never forget, and has played a part in putting Thompson football back on the map.

Now the next part of his journey begins, as Tagovailoa prepares to join his brother at the University of Alabama, where he plans to push himself every day to not only become a better player but help the Crimson Tide regain glory in the national championship.