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CALABASAS — While representing the Calabasas High football team at the Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii, Domata Peko Jr. had an epiphany that helped him decide where to play his college football.
Peko Jr. signed his national letter of intent Wednesday in Calabasas to play soccer at the University of Hawaii on a full scholarship.
“When I was out there, the environment just felt like home and it felt right to be there,” Peko Jr. said. “Particularly practicing and then right after the beach. That felt good. Playing football in this environment felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The Polynesian Bowl invites the country’s best high school players of Polynesian descent to Honolulu for the All-Star Game.
Peko Jr. met a familiar face there. His cousin Vaifanua Peko from American Samoa was his teammate and roommate at the event. Something the duo will revisit as Vaifanua is also committed to Rainbow Warriors.
“Having him there means a lot to me,” Peko Jr. said. “You don’t hear a lot of cousins signing at the same college. It’s also cool for our last name aspect. Our whole family will be cheering for a school on Saturdays, this is going to be fun.”
Peko Jr., whose father Domata Sr. played in the NFL for 15 years, was a four-year varsity player in Calabasas, though he started tackle football in the ninth grade.
“It’s not easy getting into tackle football in high school,” said Coyotes coach Cary Harris. “In the first two to three years you literally learn everything on the side. He still has a lot of football knowledge to learn, but the potential and limitations he has is something special.”
King and Kaylon Miller, teammates to Peko Jr. in all four seasons at Calabasas, made a second change in their own recruiting. The duo, who appeared headed towards a signing with Portland State, both announced they would continue their playing careers with USC as preferred walk-ons.
“It’s a great opportunity for them,” Harris said. “It shows you what kind of calibers they are, to be able to go to USC and play in front of their family and friends, it’s exciting.”
SIERRA CANYON DRAWS SIX
Sierra Canyon had six soccer players participate in Signing Day. Cameron Brandt signed with Michigan, Josiah Phillips with BYU, Elijha Payne with Arizona, Rodney Leaks with Houston Christian University and Lavon Brown with Colorado State.
Thousand Oaks’ Chase Martin signed with Boise State.
Sierra Canyon football players who attended Signing Day highlighted that Cameron Brandt signed with Michigan and Jojo Phillips with BYU. pic.twitter.com/4A0rIQt6Br
— Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) February 1, 2023