Linemen bring Hawaiian culture to Hornets

DOVER — Joshua Fala came across the entire country to Delaware State.

Cade Pedro crossed an ocean, then the continental United States.

Being that far away from where they’re from, it’s easy to get homesick, but the two DelState offensive lineman have made sure their culture has stayed with them. It’s even spread to the rest of the team.

Both lineman are Polynesian — Fala is Samoan and came to DSU from California while Pedro ls from Hawaii. They’re the reason for the offensive line’s recent fashion choices.

They each own lava-lavas, a traditional Polynesian article of clothing which looks like a long skirt. They passed it along to the rest of their unit.

Before practice or in meetings, its not uncommon for the entire offensive line to be wearing a lava-lava.

Cade Pedro (Courtesy DSU Athletics)

Joshua Fala (Courtesy DSU Athletics)

That’s just one example of how seamlessly the two sophomores have made the transition to the East Coast. And with the type of personalities they have, it was never going to be all that difficult.

“In Polynesian culture, we’re quick to call each other family,” Fala said. “One day you’re my friend, the next day you’re my cousin.”

“The community here is a lot like it is back home in Hawaii,” Pedro said. “Everyone is very community-oriented, everyone wants to see you do well.”

There are four players from Polynesian backgrounds on the 2017 Hornets. Fala and Pedro are starters on the offensive line while sophomore Fatu Sua-Godinet is DelState’s top returning wide receiver.

Sua-Godinet and Pedro attended the same high school in Honolulu (Kamehameha High). The fourth Polynesian is Liki Seu, who like Fala is from California and of Samoan descent.

The lava-lavas might be the second most popular thing the Polynesians have introduced to their teammates. Their biggest hit is made in the kitchen.

Some days they prepare a dish known as “Spam musubi” for whoever is around. It’s a classic Hawaiian meal, usually for lunch, which is Spam wrapped over a block of rice with nori, almost looking like a type of sushi.

“No matter where you go you always carry your culture with you.,” Sua-Godinet said. “It’s just nice to be able to share it with other cultures. It’s special.”

While their off the field habits have made Fala and Pedro popular in the locker room, their play on the field has caught the attention of the coaches throughout the MEAC.

Both Fala and Pedro were named preseason All-MEAC lineman in the preseason poll after they each started 11 games as true freshmen in 2016. Pedro is moving to center this season while Fala will slot in at either left guard or left tackle.

Pedro was recruited to DelState with Sua-Godinet through a connection coach Kenny Carter had with their coach at Kamehameha. Fala meanwhile, signed with the Hornets almost last-minute.

He was in Southern California, playing in the Polynesian High School All-American Bowl. He had a standout game that day and caught the eye of a Delaware State alum who was in attendance.

Word was passed to Carter who soon offered Fala a spot. Knowing Pedro and Sua-Godinet were already committed, helped Fala make up his mind.

“That’s what made this decision easier,” Fala said. “They had an understanding of the lifestyle I come from. It makes relationships easier to make. I’m grateful for those guys and it’s like playing with family.”

And with the way the rest of the team has adopted them, Fala and Pedro’s “family” has grown quite a bit over the last year.

“It’s neat watching our players be welcoming to some different, a different culture,” Carter said. “Really that’s what college is supposed to be about. College is about expanding your horizons and learning about things outside of where you grew up. Those guys have done a great job of that and our guys have done a great job of letting them live in their culture.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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