OGDEN — It’s not easy to be starters in two sports at any level, but that’s what Herriman’s Tueni Lupeamanu and Francis Bernard have done throughout their High School years. Both players played integral roles in helping the Mustangs to a 44-42 comeback win over Highland in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.
Making the transition from football to basketball isn’t easy for most, but has been a breeze for both players who simply love to play any game that involves a ball.
“I’m ready to go from day one,” Lupeamanu said. “It’s high school and it’s fun. I just love playing whatever and I love playing with these guys and helping out this team.”
Lupeamanu hit a jumper with just under five seconds remaining to tie the game and set up Z Arima’s game-winning steal and subsequent free throws. He ended the game with nine points, five rebounds and three assists and has provided steady and inspiring play for the Mustangs throughout the season.
Lupeamanu signed on with Idaho to play college football, but will his success on the hardwood cause him to consider playing both sports?
“I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not good enough to play college basketball,” he said. “I’m all about football, so that’s what it’s so fun to have moments like these in basketball. The difference with basketball is you only have five fouls, so you only have five chances to hit somebody. I try to use all my chances to hit someone good before getting pulled out, but yeah, I’m more of a football person for sure.”
Francis Bernard starred at running back for Herrimann and has signed on to play for BYU in college. The senior guard scored six points and contributed two assists and two steals in Tuesday’s win.
“I’ve loved playing for both a great football team and a great basketball team and I’m so excited we get to keep playing in basketball after a disappointing end to the football season,” Bernard said. “Tueni made the big play just like he always does and we’re moving on. Hopefully we can keep this thing going.”
Bernard has seen what Bronson Kaufusi has done at BYU playing both sports and likes the idea.
“It would be a amazing to do what Bronson is,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m good enough to do it, but I’d obviously love to try it. I just love playing any sport when I can.”