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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 19, 2001

Up close or far away, Warriors fun to watch

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

A day after his football team's pulsating 52-51 victory over Miami (Ohio), Hawai'i coach June Jones had chicken skin while watching a television replay of the game.

After every good play, quarterback Nick Rolovich's family and friends in Daly City, Calif., chanted, "Rolo!...Rolo!"

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"It's great, man," he said of the game, which produced 1,100 yards in offense and five lead changes in the fourth quarter.

Jones recalled his halftime speech, in which he told his players, "This is fun. You're in these type of games maybe once every four years. Enjoy it. This is what you're in it for."

And he remembered looking the other way, sort of, when Justin Ayat booted the winning 24-yard field goal as time expired.

"I guess it's superstition, but I was down at the other end, trying not to look," he said. "But I looked at the JumboTron, anyway, and I saw the fans' reaction, so I knew he made it."

Later, Jones said, "That was the game people will never forget. I'm thankful for the 29,000 fans that were there. For those people who gave away their tickets or didn't take the time to come, it's their loss."

But even an ocean away, the game gripped the emotions of UH fans on the Mainland who watched the FoxSports West II telecast.

'Round midnight in Daly City, Calif., "we had 30 people screaming and yelling," said Lori Rolovich, whose son, UH quarterback Nick Rolovich, passed for 500 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns.

In Corona, Calif., Ricky and Cynthia Bass cheered as they watched their son, running back Mike Bass. Ricky Bass even offered this advice: "I think he needs to plant his feet when he runs. He gets ahead of himself because he's so quick."

"It was a game people will never forget," said coach June Jones.

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In Culver City, Calif., Julie Howard watched the telecast until the third quarter, when Miami led 38-35, to leave for work. Howard, a nurse, videotaped the rest of the game. Co-worker Lisa Schroeder, a converted UH fan, filled in the details, including how Howard's son, Sean Butts, blocked an extra-point kick in the final minute.

Howard, who has six other children, said she cannot afford to visit Butts in Hawai'i. "But we follow all of his games on television," she said.

Just like how parents can distinguish between identical twins, Howard said she can pick out her son on a crowded football play.

"I can find him by looking at his legs or the way he walks or stands," Howard said. "I always know when he's in on a tackle."

Lori Rolovich said neighbors, friends and family members gathered to watch the game on a big-screen television.

"We're very loud," Lori Rolovich said. "That's a pre-requisite when you come in the door. We yell at the screen, usually at the officials. We're right there yelling with June Jones. But we can do anything we want without getting into trouble."

After every good play by her son, they will chant, "Rolo!... Rolo!..."

Then they will eat Rolo candy.

"We love the candy," Lori Rolovich said. "At Halloween, we make sure we pass out Rolo candy to all of the trick-or-treaters."

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Notes: Strongside linebacker Keani Alapa suffered a possible torn ligament in his right shoulder in the first half against Miami (Ohio). He will undergo further medical tests today. "I'll try to finish (the season) out," Alapa said.