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Examiner
  • Star of stage and field

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  • If Herman Tapusoa had just one wish, it might be this simple:
    “I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day,” said Tapusoa, the bruising Fort Osage High School fullback, who has helped the Indians offensive line open so many holes for star senior running back Ezra Vaoifi.
    “I get up at 5 a.m. every day and go to seminary,” said Tapusoa, who will leave for a two-year church mission after he graduates in 2014. “Then, I go to school, and we have football practice right after school.”
    Because of an agreement between football coach Ryan Schartz and Julie Ammons – the wife of Indians offensive line coach Rick and the school's choir director who is responsible for helping arrange the musical numbers in this week's production of “High School Musical” – Tapusoa isn’t done after that.
    “Mrs. Ammons wanted me to go out for a bigger part, but I couldn't because of my commitment to football,” Tapusoa said. “So she and Coach Schartz worked out a schedule where I could go to football practice, then go to play practice.
    “I get home about 9 p.m. or later, and I have to eat and get some homework done, so a few extra hours in the day would be nice. But I don't mind. I feel like I didn't do enough early in my school career, and I want to make the most out of every minute my senior year.”
    One way he's making every minute of his time in starring in the backfield for the 11-0 Indians, who play host to Kearney at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in a Class 5 state quarterfinal.
    “We have practice (Thursday), then I have to rush right over to the play and get ready for opening night,” said Tapusoa, who has 111 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries and eight receptions for 81 yards in addition to his blocking duties. “Opening night, man, that is going to be so cool, I can't wait. But Mrs. Ammons knows that football is No. 1 this week – but that doesn't mean I'm going to give it any less effort than if our football season was over.”
    Because she's the wife of a coach and knows what Tapusoa is going through, Julie Ammons, Schartz and the head of drama make sure that Tapusoa and another player have plenty to eat between football and rehearsals – or, the real deal – which starts tonight.
    “Herman can really dance,” Julie Ammons said, “and he can sing. He has a wonderful voice, and he's doing a great job with his character, Jacob. We're just so thrilled to have him, because we know how busy he and the rest of the (football) boys will be this week.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Tapusoa grins when asked about his role in the play.
    “There's plenty of singing and dancing, and I have some lines,” he said, “and it's fun. You get to be free on stage – you're another character, but there is a little bit of yourself in any character you play.”
    When asked about the emotions he might be facing Saturday, Tapusoa dug down deep within his soul and came up with the perfect answer.
    “I'm hoping to be crying tears of joy,” he said. “A win in the afternoon and a great performance Saturday night. I guess I am making a lot out of my senior year, and I hope this weekend it all starts with a win over Kearney.”
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