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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, December 1, 2002

Teams, fans show aloha for one another at game

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

After last week's Aloha Stadium postgame football melee, fans and players were on their best behavior in yesterday's Alabama-Hawai'i football game that featured heavy security and good sportsmanship.

Fans were on their best behavior during yesterday's nationally televised game at Aloha Stadium. There was added security at the game following last week's UH-Cincinnati postgame brawl.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Aloha Stadium officials yesterday unveiled security measures designed to avoid last week's on-field brawl and rowdy fan conduct in the Hawai'i-Cincinnati game.

Among the improvements were:

• The largest security force this season for a UH football game with about 130 police officers, private security and sheriffs — an increase of about 30 police officers. The Specialized Services Division (SWAT) also responded for the first time this season.

• A wooden platform placed over the tunnel leading to the Alabama locker room to shield Alabama players and fans from confrontations.

• Staggered times for on-field entrances and off-field departures for the Alabama and Hawai'i football teams to prevent taunting.

The improvements apparently helped, but the key according to players and officials, was the goodwill exhibited by Hawai'i and Alabama players.

"I really respect Alabama," said Hawai'i player Chad Owens, who received an apology from an Alabama player after the player pulled his facemask. "They came here to play football and that's all they did. I really liked the way the fans presented themselves, as well as the players."

Added offensive lineman Uriah Moenoa: "Alabama's a real class-act team."

Many of the on-field distractions that marred last week's Hawai'i-Cincinnati game — misconduct penalties and taunting — were non-existent in yesterday's game.

Police Maj. Doug Miller, who commanded the police force yesterday, credited Alabama and Hawai'i for avoiding on-field skirmishes that would incite the crowd.

"Fans really pick up on that," Miller said. "It definitely arouses them and they want to get into fights. We clearly saw that last week in the game against Cincinnati. I think for UH and Alabama, we saw good attitudes."

Miller said there were a "few little skirmishes" that he believed resulted from alcohol, but there was nothing major.

After last week's Cincinnati game, Bearcat officials alleged that UH supporters were drinking alcohol on the sidelines. Yesterday, no one was seen drinking alcohol on the sidelines.

Aloha Stadium officials were not forced to cut off alcohol sales early.

Alabama fan Pam Jeffers said she did not feel any hostility from UH fans, and added that she felt safe at the stadium.

"We weren't afraid," said Jeffers, who came with her husband, Tony, and their four-year-old daughter Crimson. "We know you guys don't act like that."

Hawai'i coach June Jones said both teams showed good behavior before, during and after the game.

"(Alabama coach) Dennis Franchione, he's brought a lot of teams here, and he said it best," Jones said. "He doesn't have a problem with anybody here. We proved it after the game. We didn't have any trouble."