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The Throwin’ Samoans – TAGOVAILOA vs. MARIOTA

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Growing up in Hawaii, young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had a poster of the states only Heisman Trophy Winner, the highest-drafted player born in the islands, and now the Las Vegas Raiders quarterback, Marcus Mariota. 

On Saturday Marcus will be standing on the opposite sideline, as the Raiders host Tagovailoa’s Dolphins on NFL Network in a game with significant playoff implications. 

Derek Carr suffered a groin injury in Week 15, but still continues to play through it, so it is uncertain if Mariota will even start. Marcus filled in for Carr in a loss to the Chargers last week, becoming the first non-starter in the Super-Bowl era with 200-plus passing yards and 75-plus rushing yards in a single game. 

Although the Raiders hope to get their starter back, the people of Hawaii surely wouldn’t mind seeing Mariota suit up in the “9th Island” — an affectionate term some locals use for Las Vegas.

A matchup between Mariota and Tagovailoa would be rare for reasons well beyond the fact that both were born in Hawaii. The two QBs share eerily similar stories made for the movies. 

Both QBs have won the Hawaii Gatorade Player of the Year and the state championship of the same high school but 6 years apart. Mariota became Hawaii’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 2014. Tagovailoa was runner up to Kyle Murray for the Heisman Trophy in 2018.

A Mariota start on NFL Saturday would provide just the sixth matchup between opposing QBs from the same high school since 1950. 

If Tagovailoa-Mariota is indeed the QB matchup on Saturday night, Hawaii will definitely be watching. 808 stand up.

Written by: Samantha Watts-Hopkins

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