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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 15, 2002

Islanders end 9-game losing streak, 53-34

By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaiian Islanders receiver Darrell Jones got wrapped up by San Diego defender Rico Curtis as Riptide teammate Brandon Bejarano moved in during the first quarter of last night's game.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

For the first time since the first game in franchise history, the Hawaiian Islanders last night walked off the field with their heads held high and winning smiles on their faces.

The Islanders (2-9) ended their nine-game arenafootball2 losing streak with a convincing 53-34 victory over the San Diego Riptide (5-6) at the Blaisdell Arena.

"The guys played hard all night long," Islanders coach Chad Carlson said. "It's a great win for the organization just to get the monkey off our back."

It was Carlson's first win as coach since taking over for Guy Benjamin after the fifth game of the season.

Darnell Arceneaux completed 14 of 26 passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for three more scores for the Islanders, who won for the first time since beating the Fresno Frenzy, 50-47, March 30.

"We played hard, we didn't give up and sometimes the ball goes your way when you do that," Arceneaux said.

Receiver Mike Tillis, who had 11 catches in four games coming in, caught 10 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

"Tillis is my boy," Arceneaux said. "He busts his butt, works out every day and he got his chance."

The Riptide closed to 34-28 on Kane Claunch's 14-yard pass to Jerry Garrett three minutes into the fourth quarter.

The Islanders, who have had numerous second-half meltdowns this season, outscored the Riptide 19-6 the rest of the way.

Arceneaux scored on a 12-yard run with 10:02 left in the fourth quarter to put the Islanders ahead 40-28.

San Diego couldn't field Kimo Naehu's ensuing kickoff off the rebound net and the Islanders' Olen Rosehill recovered at the 16.

On the next play, Arceneaux connected with Tillis to put the Islanders up 46-28.

"They outplayed us, they outhit us, they outhustled us, they played great football," San Diego coach Cree Morris said. "They flat out brought it to us and our guys weren't ready to play."

The Islanders went for it on two fourth-and-longs in the first half and scored touchdowns.

Arceneaux, on a fourth-and-goal on the game's opening drive, threw an 8-yard scoring pass to Robert Kemfort.

With 11:04 left in the half, on a fourth-and-seven from the Riptide 18, Arceneaux threw a touchdown pass to Tillis, who made a one-handed catch in the back of the end zone to make the score 31-14 with 13 seconds left before halftime.

"When you have a nine-game losing streak going you don't hold back," Carlson said. "If you hold back you'll get another loss. This is arena football, let's go score points, baby."

The longest running play of the night was Josh "Zeus" White's 21-yard touchdown run midway through the first half that put the Islanders up 13-0.

White took a hand off, bounced off a couple of defenders close to the line of scrimmage and dragged cornerback Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who is 5 feet 11, 175 pounds, the final five yards into the end zone.

"That's my style," said White, who is 6-2, 265 pounds. "In this game you don't have much room to run around so you need to go straight."

Riptide 7 7 7 13—34
islanders 13 18 3 19—53

First Quarter

  • Haw—Robert Kemfort 8 pass from Darnell Arceneaux (Kimo Naehu kick).
  • Haw—Josh White 21 run (kick failed).
  • SDG—Mark Butler 23 pass from Kane Claunch (Ryan Geisler kick).

Second Quarter

  • Haw—Arceneaux 9 run (Arceneaux run).
  • Haw—FG Naehu 25.
  • SDG—Jerry Garrett 29 pass from Claunch (Geisler kick).
  • Haw—Mike Tillis 18 pass from Arceneaux (Naehu kick).

Third Quarter

  • SDG—Aazaar Abdul-Rahim 2 pass from Garrett (Geisler kick).
  • Haw—FG Naehu 35.

Fourth Quarter

  • SDG—Garrett 14 pass from Claunch (Geisler kick).
  • Haw—Arceneaux 12 run (pass failed).
  • Haw—Tillis 16 pass from Arceneaux (kick failed).
  • SDG—Garrett 4 pass from Claunch (kick failed).
  • Haw—Arceneaux 5 run (Naehu kick).

RUSHING—San Diego: Claunch 6-38, Brian Berg 1-3. Hawai'i: White 4-31, Arceneaux 6-28. PASSING—San Diego: Claunch 17-34-0—247, Wesley Phillips 1-3-0—12, Garrett 1-1-0—2. Hawai'i: Arceneaux 14-26-0—151. RECEIVING—San Diego: Garrett 8-127, Marty Graham 4-61, Butler 2-33, Altie Parker 2-27, Abdul-Rahim 2-6, Ryan Cuthbert 1-7. Hawai'i: Tillis 10-118, Kemfort 2-17, Jones 2-16.