The Polynesian Bowl offers a chance for Dylan Raiola to showcase his skills and pay tribute to a family aspect that has a lot of meaning for him. Last year a spectator, and this year a participant, Raiola may find that he will be among those highlighted just a little more than the other deserving athletes at the event.
Brandon Huffman of 247 Sports reported that Raila is among six high school players who are finalists for the Polynesian High School Football Player of the Year. With the winner itself expected to be announced on January 20th, at the game in Honolulu, it is not all too surprising that Railo is on the final shortlist for the award.
Always a highly ranked recruit, at times Raiola was considered the best overall player coming out of high school and is still considered a top prospect. But for the senior out of Buford, Georgia, participation in the Polynesian Bowl offers something special.
The Polynesian Bowl features top-ranked recruits from the nation, primarily featuring athletes of Polynesian descent. The all-star matchup will feature competitors of all backgrounds.
Nebraska football signee's prior experience with the game
The game has featured many who have gone on to have great success, both at the NFL and college levels. This list includes players such as; Puka Nacua, Travis Hunter, and AJ Epenesa. Last year on the sidelines, Raiola shared with the NFL Network what the game means for him and his family.
"It's special just to see where this game has come. It just means a lot to me. Polynesian culture is really my foundation of what I do."
With someone who has direct family ties to the state of Hawaii, it's evident how much the cultural pillars of respect and hard work are carried by Raiola. And while he may not win the final award, the legacy of this game and impact will have far greater meaning for him moving forward for Raiola and possibly for the Nebraska football program.