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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Lineman Iosua typifies Warrior mentality

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Math is about logic and reasoning.

Mike Iosua admits that because of torn ligaments in his right shoulder he "can't really wrap up" a ballcarrier, but he managed to put a hit on SMU's Kris Briggs. Iosua is one of 21 UH seniors who will play their last game Saturday against BYU.

Advertiser library photo • Oct. 6, 2001

It stands to reason that a college football player majoring in math should know it is not logical to compete with torn ligaments in his right shoulder.

But University of Hawai'i defensive tackle Mike Iosua, who is wise enough to have qualified for the Air Force Academy, has defied the odds — and popular sense — by playing the last three seasons with a shoulder injury.

UH coaches have tried to discourage Iosua, limiting his work in practice and reminding him of a time when combing his hair did not ache.

But Iosua insists on playing.

"It's painful, and sometimes I think I shouldn't play, but this is my last year and I really want to make it count," Iosua said. "Besides, I think the team can use me."

Iosua's presence presents problems for opposing offenses. At 6 feet 3 and 272 pounds, he is quick enough to stalk quarterbacks and strong enough to induce double blocks. His influence is noted in middle linebacker Chris Brown's tackle totals and, two weeks ago, in Sean Butts' block of an extra point after Iosua deflated the protection pocket.

"Mike is a warrior," said Vantz Singletary, who coaches the defensive linemen. "He's inspired our entire ballclub."

Iosua said he suffered the shoulder injury two years ago, then aggravated it during training camp in August.

Several times this season, the joint has popped out of his shoulder socket. "I ice it down and try to massage it," he said.

UH coach June Jones said Iosua "has played virtually with one arm this year."

Said Iosua: "I try to play the best I can. I try to use a lot of technique. But I can't really wrap up (a ballcarrier)."

But the pain on Saturdays pales to aches on Sundays. "It hurts to even think about it," he said. "It's really sore. I'll do what I have to do to play. That's all that matters."

It was that toughness that helped earn Iosua the trophy as the Warriors' most inspirational player at the team's banquet Sunday.

Iosua is one of 21 seniors who will play their final UH game Saturday against Brigham Young. Jones said each departing class is "like losing part of your family."

"It's always hard to say your goodbyes," Jones said. "But hopefully they're better people when they leave here than when they came. I hope they experienced things here that make them better men."