South Dakota State University senior, and River Falls High School graduate, Tiano Pupungatoa was honored for his play with the Jackrabbits football team this season by being named to the Associated Press Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-American third team.
Pupungatoa, a three-year starter at guard for the Jackrabbits, helped pave the way for an offensive unit that turned in school-record performances by averaging 42.5 points and 480.5 yards of total offense per game.
The Jackrabbits, who posted a 10-3 overall record and made their seventh postseason appearance in a row in 2018, lost to eventual FCS national champion North Dakota State University in the national semifinals. The finished third in both major FCS final polls.
Previously Pupungatoa was named to the 2018 Missouri Valley Football All-Conference first team and the Phil Steele FCS All-American fourth team.
A 2013 graduate of River Falls High School, Pupungatoa spent the 2013-14 academic year at the United States Military Academic Preparatory School in West Point, New York. He enrolled at SDSU in 2015 and a year later made a successful transition from the defensive side of the ball to the offensive line and started all 13 games at left guard. He ran his consecutive starts streak at left guard to 25 games in 2017 before suffering an injury late in the season.
At River Falls Pupungatoa earned all-state honors twice in both football and track and field. He was a two-time state qualifier in the shot put and finished seventh at state in the discus as a senior. He holds the school record in the indoor shot put with a throw of 53 feet, 2 inches in 2013.