Maiocco: Sopoaga Becomes Two-Way Sensation

Maiocco: Sopoaga Becomes Two-Way Sensation
October 18, 2010, 2:29 pm
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Oct. 18, 2010MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comSAN FRANCISCO -- Defensive end Isaac Sopoaga made an impact early in Sunday's game, stuffing the Raiders' Michael Bush and Rock Cartwright on run plays for no gain and a 3-yard loss. Then, Sopoaga capped his day with two snaps on offense. He lined up at fullback late in the fourth quarter to help the 49ers run out their 17-9 victory at Candlestick Park.As a lead-blocker for Frank Gore, Sopoaga blasted Raiders defensive end Trevor Scott to open the hole for a game-clinching 3-yard gain on a third-and-2 at the two-minute warning. "Oh, I was so anxious," Sopoaga said. "I was so looking forward to it, but this is just fullback. I played rugby 12 years of my life. You know, rugby people, we play with no helmets and no pads, so this is nothing. I love it. I enjoy it. And I hope there is more coming." Sopoaga, a seventh-year pro who's listed at 6-foot-2, 330 pounds, played safety (at 285 pounds), fullback and kicker at Samoana High in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

His two-way performance Sunday brought back memories of Guy McIntyre, an offensive guard whom Bill Walsh used for several plays as a fullback against the Chicago Bears in the 1984 NFC championship game.
The next season, Bears coach Mike Ditka unveiled a similar formation against the 49ers, using behemoth defensive tackle William "The Refrigerator" Perry in the backfield, launching a career for Perry as a TV pitchman and pop culture celebrity.