NorCal Running Back may Break Rushing Record

A Bay area running back from San Mateo High School is poised to put up some impressive numbers following a successful junior year. He could challenge for California's all-time leading rusher for the central coast region.

As a junior, running back Vai Liu racked up a total of 1229 yards all-purpose yards and averaged 122.9-yards a game. He rushed for 1157-yards on 207 carries and averaged 5.59 yards a carry. He had six receptions for 72 yards averaging 12-yards a reception as a receiver out of the backfield and one blocked punt, and rushed for 221-yards on 25 carries in one game last year.

"I didn't really check my stats but my coach said I had around 1,200-yards rushing," said Liu. "I had a lot of receiving yards out of the backfield because we do a lot of screens. I don't know what my receiving stats are though but I had a lot. I also scored 16 touchdowns.

"Basically we were the same team as the year before when we went 1-9. Over the summer we just worked hard and studied a lot of videos and basically bonded as a team to work out better. We studied our weak points, and our line was mostly Polynesian and they worked out better and learned the offense more. They got used to the offense after a year and we went 5-5 I think.

"There are only two of us on the team that are LDS. Brian Maile is our quarterback and free safety and receiver. Our first string quarterback was always getting a concussion so the coaches moved him to quarterback, and then he came up big in our rivalry game at the end of the year. He's pretty good."

For his personal performance, Liu received a few local accolades despite his team's improved but average season.

"I received offensive MVP," Liu said. "I was first team all-league for the Bay Division League."

Liu is also on the verge of breaking the central California region's all time rushing record set by a former neighbor and friend Toke Kefu, who also played at San Mateo High School and is now playing for Eastern Washington.

"I think I need roughly around 2,000-yards to beat Toke Kefu's record," said Liu. "I think I can do it next year. I'm going to try."

The quick, nimble footed Liu went right back into the weight room following his junior campaign. He is eager to get bigger and stronger for his final year at San Mateo with the hopes he can indeed become California's central coast all-time leading rusher.

"Basically, we went right back after the season and started working out," said Liu. "For next week we were supposed to do our max but my last max was 255 on the bench and my squat was 305.

"I'm six foot and I weight 185-pounds and my shuttle time was a 4.3. I went to a Samoan camp that was out here but that was about it."

Liu expressed a desire to serve a mission after high school. His webpage on has a picture of the Oakland Temple on it among other notable LDS and former BYU players such as Vai Sikahema and Reno Mahe.

Liu became acquainted with future Cougar Matangi Tonga both on and off the field.

"I basically just see him at church activities," Liu said. "For me when I would go against him it was basically all about the quicks. He's pretty fast so I just had to use my speed."

However, when the roles were reversed and Liu found himself face to face with Aragon's 265-pound fullback, the speedy defender knew the laws of physics were working against.

"I remember one time I was asked to play free safety and [Matangi] was playing fullback and he came through a whole right up the middle," said Liu. "It was just me and him. I just dove at his legs and took out his legs. That time I got him."

Although most of his success came as a running back, Liu also had a decent season in the defensive secondary.

"As a safety I got two touchdowns on defense," Liu said. "Both of them from fumble recoveries one was a 45-yard return and the other was 95-yard return."

Currently, no big schools are recruiting Liu and he hopes that will soon change. His former LDS bishop of is going to send out his highlight footage to various schools including the Utah. Liu is open to both Utah and BYU.

"I got a 3.8 PGA average," said Liu. "I would like to study law enforcement. I would like work with people in the community.

"Basically, [BYU] would be a positive place for me to go to because I could stay active in the church. BYU has a lot of Poly kids if I remember and it seems like they have a good program.

"I was thinking of going up to Utah because I was just interested in their football team. One of my bishops knows one guy who was in charge of the Polynesian recruiting and he said he has some connections."

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