CLOSER LOOK: Riverside North’s Venasio Mikaele


Take a closer look at Riverside North senior Venasio Mikaele and you’ll see one of the most punishing carriers of the football in Southern California.

Any time he was given the ball the defense’s eyes got big before they got bowled over as the Huskies (1-0 overall) defeated Grand Terrace in a nonleague win on Friday, Aug. 20.

The 5-foot-8 full back scored on run of 13 and 5 yards, and carried defenders across the goal line on both as Riverside North dominated Grand Terrace in the 2021 fall season opener.

Mikaele bulldozes linebackers and has to deal with mostly the ankle-biting defensive backs as he’s into the second and third levels on nearly every run – and he’s been doing it for what seems like years already. In fact, we featured him in a previous CLOSER LOOK back in August 2019!

We caught up with Mikaele after North’s 35-8 victory over Grand Terrace. He finished with 115-plus rushing yards and two TDs to help the Huskies get off to a barking start. How good does it feel to be back on a fall Friday night like this?
Venasio Mikaele: “It feels good. This quarantine messed us up and I’m proud to be back. Normal? Going back to normal. I like it.”

IF: Were you able to do some downfield running tonight?
VM: “Yeah. (Grand Terrace) is a good team, a tough team, but we came out better in the second half.”

IF: What do you like about what’s doing on with this team right now?
VM: “I can see that we’re working hard as a team. Next week we’ll work even harder.”

IF: How do you feel like you carry the target that’s on your back?
VM: “I feel like I’ve got to get faster because right now I’m slow. I’ve got to get faster, that’s all. That’s all I’m worried about. My speed. .”

IF: What is this team talking about right now?
VM: “J-Dub hasn’t been to a CIF title game and I want to get back up there so we can get a ring. That’s it.”


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