CLOSER LOOK: North’s Venasio Mikaele

North RB Venasio Mikaele #30 runs against Grand Terrace on Friday, Aug 23. (Photo by Terry Pierson)

Take a closer look at Riverside North sophomore RB Venasio Mikaele and you’ll see a mischievous smile that he likes to hide behind a big frock of long, Island-style curly hair and a helmet.


Mikaele rushed for 1,077 yards and 12 TDs as a freshman last season with a bruising, straight-forward style that impresses opposing coaches and leaves defensive backs even less enthused to tackle.

On a lot of preseason all-area watch lists, Mikaele was most notably selected to’s all-area first team ahead of the 2019 season.

We caught up with Mikaele after North’s 17-14 victory over Grand Terrace Week 0 on Friday, Aug. 23. Mikaele finished with 98 yards on 22 carries (4.6 yards per carry) but did not score. He was removed from the game after his final carry, a eight-yard gain in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. What does a win in a season opener mean for this team?
Venasio Mikaele: We beat a good team and it’ll be motivation for us to work harder for our next opponent.

IF: How did you guys clean up the first-half mistakes?
VM: Coached talked to us and we believed in ourselves.

IF: Did you see Grand Terrace’s defense wearing down in the second half?
VM: Yeah, I saw it with their corners when I got outside.

IF: What are you going to have to do this season to be successful?
VM: Go to practice every day. Do better. Make sure you show up to practice!

IF: Do you think this team has the potential to make a long postseason run?
VM: Oh yeah. We just got to work hard.

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